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Dr Beacon Mbiba


Senior Lecturer in Urban Policy and International Development, Programme Leader, Planning in Developing and Transitional Regions, Research Associate OISD: SPG

School of the Built Environment

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

Photo not available

Phone number: +44 (0)1865 48 4442


Location: Headington

Before joining Oxford Brookes University, Mbiba was Lecturer in Urban Development Policy in the Department of Geography, London School of Economics and Political Science, (LSE). Mbiba is a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). He has previously taught at the University of Zimbabwe, Development Planning Unit (DPU) University College London, Birkbeck College, London and The University of Reading.

Mbiba has also worked in various Urban Development Policy and Management roles in Africa and the United Kingdom. He teaches core MSc modules (i) Urban Land Policy and Urban Management and (ii) Urban Planning and Policy in Practice and manages the MSc Planning in Developing and Transitional Regions programme.

My teaching seeks to equip participants with critical understanding of how global-local structure and agency factors determine the nature of urban policy and planning; problems addressed its content, outcomes and impacts in diverse geo-political economy contexts.  I use participatory teaching approaches that integrate analysis of theoretical concepts, case studies, group projects, UK field studies and guest lectures.  Students exit with the expertise to operate and flourish as urban policy and planning practitioners anywhere in the world.  


Modules taught

I currently teach on and am leader of the following modules:

P38168 – Urban Land Policy and Urban Management

P38169 – Urban Policy in Practice: Programme and Project Implementation

U35099 – Real Estate Management Dissertation

I also contribute to the following modules:

P38162 – Globalisation, Environment and Development

U37702 – The City, people and Diversity


Currently supervising four candidates, each working on projects in Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, and Mozambique respectively.

Recent PhD completions:

Dr Arthur Munyua MWAURA  “Mediating Conflicting Planning Rationalities: Collaborative Approaches in Low Income Neighbourhoods in Nairobi, Kenya”.

Dr Afua-Adu  BOATENG   “Determinants of the Adoption of Climate Change Policies in Urban Africa”


Mbiba has research interests in land conflicts, identity, urban and peri-urban transformations and global citizenship in the UK and Africa. He has written and contributed to development policy work on access to land and justice for the poor, productive and inclusive African cities and a leading expert on urban agriculture (visit RUAF Foundation at urban governance, urban housing, rural-urban linkages and poverty alleviation.

In 2008 he was appointed to the five member International Jury for the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP) see details of DIABP - detail available On-Line: Recently, he was appointed international consultant (2009-2010) to assess implementation of Results Based Management in UN-HABITAT with specific reference to "the organization's Medium Term Strategic and Institutional Plan (MTSIP)".

Mbiba is a member of several international research networks and contributes to community for example as:

  • Board Member, Editorial Board of Africanus: Journal of Development Studies, published at UNISA, South Africa (appointed 2009)
  • Board Member and Trustee, Cannon Collins Trust – Education for Southern Africa (from 2009) for activities of the trust see
  • Board Member, Hyde Housing Association, London and South East Customer Services Board (from 2002 to 2012) – for activities of Hyde Housing, see
  • A member of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Focus Group the linchpin for development policy dialogue between the Zimbabwean Diaspora, the Zimbabwean government and HMG United Kingdom.

Research projects

Examples of recent projects

  • Influencing processes and content of global policies
  • Was Expert evaluator for the Czech-Norwegian Research Programme, The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (April – June 2014).
  • Was expert Evaluator for Polish-Norwegian Research Programme, The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), ( (December 2012 – April 2013)
  • Was appointed Expert Evaluator for the European Commission Research and Innovation Directorate, Covent Garden, Brussels in relation to the Seventh Framework Programme, Social Sciences and Humanities (March – June 2012)
  • Was Expert Evaluator for the European Commission Research and Innovation Directorate, Covent Garden, Brussels in relation to the Seventh Framework Programme, Social Sciences and Humanities (March – June 2011)
  • Consultant to The African Development Bank (Tunisia) to prepare a report titled 'Financing Urban Development in Africa', 18th November 2010 – 27th January 2011.
  • Was appointed Rapporteur on 'Migration and Development: What Links Exist Between the European Policies and the Civil Society's Practices?' for The European Network on Migrations and Development (EUNOMAD) and Association for Regional Economic Development (ADER), Paris; 1st - 30th November 2010,
  • Contracted by UN-HABITAT as regional consultant to 'analyze the role of urban growth, urban economies, social development, urban housing, and land conditions in Southern African cities' and drafted the Southern Africa section of the report: 'The State of African Cities 2010: Governance, Inequality and Land Markets' - report launched November 2010, see
  • Contracted by United Nations (HABITAT), to produce background document 'The State of Cities in Southern Africa' for the UN-HABITAT State of African Cities Report 2008/2009 launched at the World Urban Forum, November 2008
  • In 2006 he was consultant to UN International Labour Office, Geneva (ILO) on the role of local authorities in promoting decent work in the construction sector and related services
  • In 2004-2005 Mbiba worked as Policy Research Analyst and Outreach Executive for The Secretariat to the Commission for Africa (CFA). Set up in early 2004 by then UK Prime Minister Hon. Tony Blair, the CFA presented its report in March 2005 and completed its work in July 2005 (for details of report, visit
  • Research projects completed since 2000 include those on access to land for the urban poor in East and Southern Africa funded by IDRC Canada (US$380,000.00); Urban and Peri-Urban Transformations in Africa supported by the British Academy, UK (£20,000.00); Formalization of Urban Markets and Trading (covering Kenya, Ghana and Senegal) funded by Department for International Development (DFID), UK (£190,000.00)
  • Since 1990 he has acted as consultant on impact studies and project evaluations for mining companies and international development organisations and was co-author of the Zimbabwe National Report and Plan of Action on Human Settlements presented at HABITAT II, Istanbul, June, 1996. He completed action oriented research projects as key member of research networks such as the Association of Rural and Urban Planners in East and Southern Africa (RUPSEA), the Swedish funded Gender Research on Urbanization, Housing Planning and Everyday Life in East and Southern Africa (GRUPHEL), and the Mazingira (Nairobi) based African Research Network for Urban Management (ARNUM)
  • Mbiba is Coordinator of Peri-NET (The Urban and Peri-Urban Research Network, Africa).


  • Mbiba B, Urban Agriculture in Zimbabwe: Implications for Urban Management and Poverty, Avebury:Aldershot (1995)
    ISBN: 978185628857
    Abstract Website

Journal articles

  • Mbiba B, 'Harare: From a European Settler "Sunshine City" to a "Zhingzhong" African City.'
    International Development Planning Review (2017)
    ISSN: 1474-6743 eISSN: 1474-6743
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Idioms of accumulation: corporate accumulation by dispossession in urban Zimbabwe'
    International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (2017)
    ISSN: 0309-1317 eISSN: 0309-1317
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Urban solid waste characteristics and household appetite for separation at source in Eastern and Southern Africa'
    Habitat International 43 (2014) pp.152-162
    ISSN: 0197-3975 eISSN: 0197-3975
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Zimbabwean diaspora politics in Britain: insights from the cathedral moment 2009'
    Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 50 (2) (2012) pp.226-252
    ISSN: 1466-2043 eISSN: 1466-2043
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Beyond abject space: enterprising Zimbabwean diaspora in Britain'
    African Diaspora 4 (1) (2011) pp.50-75
    ISSN: 1872-5457 eISSN: 1872-5457
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Untold Stories: The Commission for Africa and Zimbabwe'
    Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairts 95 (384) (2006) pp.201-218
    ISSN: eISSN:
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Financing City Farms in London'
    Urban Agriculture Magazine 9 (2003) pp.20-22
    ISSN: 1571-6244 eISSN: 1571-6244
  • Mbiba B, 'A clash of time cultures and planning: reflections from Zimbabwe'
    Planning Theory and Practice 4 (4) (2003) pp.477-483
    ISSN: 1464-9357 eISSN: 1464-9357
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Urban Agriculture in the London Borough of Bexley'
    Urban Agriculture Magazine 11 (2003) pp.32-33
    ISSN: 1571-6244 eISSN: 1571-6244
  • Mbiba B, 'Contentious development: peri-urban studies in sub-Sahara Africa'
    Progress in Development Studies 2 (2) (2002) pp.113-131
    ISSN: 1464-9934 eISSN: 1464-9934
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'The Marginalisation of Urban Agriculture in Lusaka'
    Urban Agriculture Magazine 4 (2001) pp.19-21
    ISSN: 1571-6244 eISSN: 1571-6244
  • Mbiba B, 'Communal land rights as state sanction and social control: a narrative'
    Africa 71 (3) (2001) pp.426-448
    ISSN: 0001-9720 eISSN: 0001-9720
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, van Veenhuizen R, 'The Integration of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in Urban Planning'
    Urban Agriculture Magazine 4 (2001)
    ISSN: 1571-6244 eISSN: 1571-6244
    Abstract Website
  • Mbiba B, 'Security of tenure, development victims and the limits of environmental impact assessment in Zimbabwe's communal lands'
    Development in Practice 9 (3) (1999) pp.316-322
    ISSN: 0961-4524 eISSN: 0961-4524
  • Mbiba B, 'Classification and description of urban agriculture in Harare'
    Development Southern Africa 12 (1) (1995) pp.75-86
    ISSN: 0376-835X eISSN: 0376-835X
  • Mbiba B, 'Institutional responses to uncontrolled urban cultivation in Harare'
    Environment and Urbanization 6 (1) (1994) pp.188-202
    ISSN: 0956-2478 eISSN: 0956-2478
    Abstract Website

Book chapters


  • Mbiba B, review of Business, politics and the state in Africa: challenging the orthodoxies on growth and transformation, in International Development Planning Review 38 (1) (2016) pp.95-96
    ISSN: 1474-6743 eISSN: 1474-6743
  • Mbiba B, review of Re-living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, in African Affairs 108 (432) (2009) pp.503-504
    ISSN: 0001-9909 eISSN: 0001-9909
  • Mbiba B, review of To Subsidise My Income: Urban Farming in An East-african Town, in African Affairs 108 (2009) pp.152-153
    ISSN: 0001-9909 eISSN: 0001-9909

Other publications

Mbiba, B. (2017) On the periphery: missing urbanisation in Zimbabwe.  London: Africa Research Institute, Counterpoints.

Mbiba, B. Harare: from a European settler-colonial ‘sunshine city’ to a ‘zhingzhong’ African city. International Development Planning Review (in press).

Membership of professional bodies

Professional Membership and Corporate

  • Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, RTPI (Corporate Member)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK)
  • Trustee of the Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust of Southern Africa (CCELAT)
  • Director, Shinfield Park Estate Management Company 
  • DFID/ICED Senior Advisor on Zimbabwe - Infrastructure Cities and Econmic Development (ICED)

External Examnier

  • External Examiner, Urban Studies, University of Glasgow, School of Social and Political Sciences (2015 -2018)
  • External Examiner, Rural and Urban Development, Great Zimbabwe University, School of Social Sciences (2014 - 2018)

Recent Appointments as PhD External Examiner

Examined higher degrees (PhD) as external examiner at:

  • University of South Africa, Pretoria, (UNISA), Department of Geography, (2014) PhD Candidate, 7355092.
  • Neslon Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa, Department of Geography (2013) PhD Candidate 208093692
  • University College London (UCL), PhD candidate in the Development Planning Unit, Viva held 14th December 2009. Candidate 39051974
  • University of Oxford, Master of Legal Studies Research, Candidate at Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, VIVA held 25th September 2009
  • University of Sheffield, PhD candidate in the Department of Town and Regional Planning, VIVA held, 23rd April, 2009. Candidate 030180130
  • University of Wales, Swansea (2007/8) – PhD candidate at the Centre for Development Studies School of the Environment & Society. VIVA held February 2008. Candidate 296270