Francesco M. Gimelli


Francesco began his academic career with a degree in studies of religion, where he developed an interest in the intersection between human values, culture, and environmental factors. This led him to pursue graduate studies in human ecology, as well as positions as a tutor and lecturer in interdisciplinary environmental studies, public policy, intercultural communication, environmental sociology, and social research methods. Francesco was awarded the prestigious Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship in 2016, which he used to undertake eight months of intensive fieldwork in India, and a six-month visiting research fellowship at the Overseas Development Institute in London, one of the most influential development think-tanks and consultancies in the world.

Research Topic

Understanding non-state driven urban water development initiatives in informal settlements

Research Interests

Inequality, development, informality, urbanisation, urban planning, participation

Project Summary

Francesco’s doctoral project seeks to understand the processes and outcomes of non-state driven urban water development initiatives in informal settlements. Informal settlements, otherwise known as slums, are usually marginalized by the state, leaving residents burdened with deficiencies in basic services. These deficiencies impact the quality of life of individuals in multiple dimensions, including health, livelihood, education, and amenity. Non-state actors such as NGOs, individuals, and local collectives often step in to fill the gaps left by the absence of the state, and work in various ways to improve services in manners that meet the lived needs and aspirations of residents. Francesco undertook eight months of fieldwork in the Indian cities of Faridabad, Delhi, and Mumbai, in order to understand how non-state actors negotiate informal features and processes in their quest to secure improvements in urban water services. The project ultimately disrupts the dominant blueprints of urban water development by asserting the legitimacy of the informal city and the means by which non-state actors seek to overcome the marginalisation of informal spaces.


Dr Briony Rogers
Dr Annette Bos

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