Professor David Simon new Director

David Simon, Professor of Development Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London has been appointed Director for Mistra Urban Futures. He will start on September 15th.

Karin Markides, President and CEO of Chalmers University of Technology is pleased with the appointment:

- Over the past few years, Mistra Urban Futures has established trustworthy connections between different stakeholders relevant for sustainable urban development in different cultural and geographical parts of the world. At this time, it is of highest priority to appoint a Director that can connect researchers from different disciplines with the complexity of actors needed to develop solutions for sustainable cities. Professor David Simon has these qualifications. As responsible host for the centre I am extremely pleased to welcome him to engage all excellent people within the centre and lead Mistra Urban Future. I am convinced that he will lead the centre to become a most influential creator of urban solutions where all people have access to urban qualities, functions and structures, and where they can enjoy wellbeing with strong synergies across social, cultural, institutional, ecological and economic activities, says Karin Markides

"Delighted to join"

David Simon has previously worked as Head of the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. He holds a B.A with Distinction from University of Cape Town, B.A. (Hons) from the University of Reading and a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is also a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.

- I am delighted to be joining Mistra Urban Futures to lead it through the next phase of its development, during which we aim to position it as a prominent global voice in the transition to sustainable, resilient and more equitable urban futures. For me, this new challenge represents a natural career progression and a wonderful opportunity. My experience and existing international networks will be valuable in promoting the necessary integration of comparative research, consultancy and advocacy work that is globally informed but sensitive to the diversity of local conditions, says Professor David Simon.

Hosting expert meeting

On August 22-24th David Simon will represent Mistra Urban Futures and host the Consultation on Urban Sustainable Development Goal Targets & Indicators in London, an expert meeting feeding into the United Nations process to produce the Sustainable Development Goals that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals from 2016.

"Proven leader and manager"

- We are fortunate to have recruited a Director with a distinguished career in the nexus of urbanisation, development and the environment, with experience from inter- and transdisciplinary approaches. His involvement in international global change research brings an additional dimension to Mistra Urban Futures, which is also linked to the international discussion of urban issues in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals being developed by the UN. David's track record as a successful academic and a proven leader and manager will further strengthen the ability of Mistra Urban Futures to be recognised as an important international platform for knowledge creation and debate on sustainable urban development issues, says Thomas Rosswall, Chair of the Board, Mistra Urban Futures.

Acting Director Jessica Algehed will continue to be a part of the centre management and work closely with David during the fall to ensure continuity in the leadership.

About Professor David Simon

David Simon has vast international experience ranging from working in Namibia early in his career to grant-funded research experience from the UK, USA, sub-Saharan Africa (especially Namibia, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana), Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines. He has also served as specialist advisor to UN-HABITAT on cities and climate change, was one of only two academics on the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's specialist Africa Advisory Group prior to its disbandment, and has consulted for various NGOs and development agencies.

Of particular relevance to Mistra Urban Futures, he has served on the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Human Dimensions Programme, IHDP’s, Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC) project since inception and has recently become co-chair of the Urban Transition Team leading the integration of UGEC with other research communities coming together under the umbrella of Future Earth to develop an urban thematic focus within its framework.

His research focuses on the interface between development and the environment, in the context of sustainability and global climate change but also aspects of political geography and critical geopolitics, urbanisation and transport policy.

In relation to urban areas David Simon has, among other things, examined the likely implications of environmental change for African cities and their populations, as well as seeking to understand how cities are preparing mitigation and adaptation strategies in response to climate change.

He has a keen interest in theoretical, applied and policy arenas, underpinned by the belief that real progress lies in a close integration across them. This is also exemplified by innovative work just completed that breaks new ground in comparing how the urban fringe or peri-urban interface is understood, planned and used around the world as the basis for mutual learning and formulating more appropriate policies in different contexts.


For questions please contact Thomas Rosswall, Chair of the Board, Mistra Urban Futures,, +33 4 93 09 93 47 or +46 760 19 16 78.