Meeting of the Minds

NSW Built Environment invites our undergraduate and postgraduate students to attend our monthly professorial talks series, Meeting of the Minds.  


The faculty’s accomplished professors from across all the Built Environment disciplines will speak on how their latest research and practice offers new perspectives on the UNSW Grand Challenge on Rapid Urbanisation

The grand challenge will be examined through the interdisciplinary lenses of the built environment research and practice - from the smallest to the largest scales, from the room and the objects within it to the cities and landscapes we inhabit.

Next event: Wednesday, 1 May, 1pm – 1.30 pm followed by networking and afternoon tea

Speaker: Professor David Sanderson

Topic: What is good practice in humanitarian aid for responding to urban crises?

Red Centre Gallery
Event date: 
01 May 2019 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Speaker's biography

David has over 25 years experience working across the world in development and emergencies. From 1994-98 David was a Project Manager at the Oxford Centre for Disaster Studies. David worked for eight years for the NGO CARE International UK, as head of policy and subsequently Regional Manager for southern and west Africa. From 2006-2013 David was Director of CENDEP, a centre at Oxford Brookes University focusing on development and emergencies. Between 2013-14 he was a full time Visiting Professor at Harvard University, where he taught a course, 'Design for urban disaster', and from 2014-2015 was a Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). David was appointed the Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair of Architecture at UNSW in February 2016. 

David has published articles and papers concerning urban livelihoods, shelter and disaster risk reduction. He has carried out a number of assignments for NGOs and donors across the world, and in recent years has led post-disaster reviews in Haiti, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, the Philippines and Nepal. He was editor of the 2016 IFRC World Disasters Report. David was trained in architecture and holds a Masters degree in Development Practice and a PhD in urban livelihoods and vulnerability.

David has undertaken assignments for the Qatar Foundation, IFRC, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP), Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), European Commission, Humanitarian Coalition (HC), Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), DFID, USAID, World Bank (EDI Section), UNDP/UNDESA, UN-Habitat, British Council, Christian Aid, Habitat For Humanity, CARE Bangladesh, Tear Fund, Save the Children, Oxfam GB, Islamic Relief, Register of Engineers for Disaster Response (REDR) Canada, World Vision International, LSE Public Policy Group, Mott Foundation, Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Action (ELRHA) and the ACT Alliance.

Currently external positions:

  • Technical Expert, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative since 2017
  • Academic member, Steering Group, Global Alliance for Urban Crises (GAUC) since 2017
  • Member, UNISDR Asia Science, Technology and Academia Advisory Group (ASTAAG) since 2016
  • International Advisory Group member, Project for the study of the 21st century (PS21) since 2015
  • Board member, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) since 2014
  • Steering Committee member, ELRHA since 2014
  • Chair, Funding Committee, Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) since 2014; member since 2011
  • Member, Humanitarian Innovations Project Advisory Board, Oxford University since 2012
  • Visiting professor, Université Paris-Est Créteil, France since 2011
  • Co-Editor, PLoS: Disasters Journal since 2011.
2019 Speaker line-up
1st May  Prof David Sanderson: What is good practice in humanitarian aid for responding to urban crises? 
5th June  Prof Oya Demirbilek: How can industrial design contribute to the design of better cities for all?
3rd July  Prof Sisi Zlatanova: What is the role of 3D geospatial information in analysing and supporting the processes of rapid urbanisation? 
7th Aug  Prof Deo Prasad: How can we have massive urbanisation while reducing carbon footprint of cities?
4th Sept  tbc
2nd Oct  Prof Hal Pawson: How can housing supply respond to the demands of rapid urbanisation?
6th Nov  Prof Catherine Bridge: How will rapid urbanisation affect the vulnerable people, performance as a measure towards inclusion?