Babar Mumtaz is an urban planner/development economist, specialising in urban management and housing finance, with over 30 years’ experience across the world. He is the Director of URBANNOVATION, an organisation dedicated to the advancement and improvement of urban areas through action research and practice. He was the University of London Reader in Housing Studies, and a full-time member of the academic staff of the Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL) for over 30 years, and its Director 2003-05. He has held full-time teaching and training appointments in the USA and Asia and has undertaken consultancy, research and training in some 20 developing countries.
Currently engaged as a Special Advisor to the Mayor of Amman and to the Amman Commission, most recently he has been working on housing policy and regional development in the Republic of the Maldives (UN-Habitat, 2005-07) and on housing finance strategies for Iraq as part of the PADCO-led Iraq Housing Markets Study (UN-Habitat 2006). He was the Team Leader and Institutional Development Specialist on the ADB-funded Capacity Building for Environmental Management in Sindh, which included developing and drafting the Water Supply and Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Policies for the Province (2006)
He was the Team Leader and the Housing Finance Specialist on the ADB, Neighbourhood Upgrading and Shelter Sector Project PPTA, Indonesia (2002-03), and Senior Technical Advisor, UNDP, Community-Based Initiatives for Housing and Local Development, Ministry of Infrastructure and Settlements, Government of Indonesia (2000-01). Other recent assignments include: Consultant on Housing Finance to the Government of Iraq; (UNHABITAT 2005), Consultant on Housing and Urban Sector on the Afghanistan Recovery and Needs Assessment, UNHabitat (2001) and Consultant on legal, procedural, implementation and capacity building aspects of Spatial Planning and Development Control at the District Level to institutionalise the Government of Pakistan’s Local Government decentralization programme (World Bank), 2000-02.
He has undertaken project and programme evaluations of Phase III of the UNDP/UN-Habitat Urban Management Programme (UNDP 1998-99); of the UNDP Local Initiatives for the Urban Environment (LIFE) Programme, globally, and in the Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan (UNDP 1998); and an Assessment of the physical planning, engineering and building requirements of the Northern Regions of Pakistan for the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme with a view to establishing the feasibility of an Institute of Planning for the Northern Regions of Pakistan (AKDF 1994).
Institutional capacity building and training activities have included advice to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) in India on the establishment of a Professional Development Centre for its managerial and technical staff (ODA 1994), a national training needs assessment and national training strategy for urban development and environmental management for Yemen (GTZ 1993); and the management training programmes for the Sri Lanka Million Houses Programme (ODA 1983-89) and India Slum Improvement Programme (ODA 1988-90). He has designed, managed and conducted sustained training programmes in urban development planning and housing policy, planning and management for managers, professionals and technicians from many developing countries at the DPU in London (1974-2006).
Amongst his publications are Guiding Cities: ‘The Urban Management Programme’ (with Wegelin, E), UMP, Nairobi, 2001; ‘Participatory Local Governance: LIFE’s Method and Experience, 1992–1997’, UNDP,1993; and the ‘Housing Finance Manual for Developing Countries: A Methodology for Designing Housing Finance Institutions’ , UNCHS Training Material Series, UNCHS, Nairobi, 1991.