Cliff has operated as a freelance consultant since 2004. He does research, authors reports and is a facilitator and trainer. While at Heriot-Watt University he was also involved in contract research.

He has worked on numerous projects:

  • With Spatial Foresight GmbH ( ) to deliver research-based reports for the ESPON Co-ordination Unit on European territorial development and policy.
  • With the Royal Town Planning Institute ( to deliver the UK National Contact Point for the ESPON 2013 programme. 
  • As an external expert for the Royal Town Planning Institute on transnational projects within the ESPON 2013 programme.
  • For the ESPON 2013 Co-ordination Unit as a peer reviewer on Sounding Boards for research projects.
  • On European Union INTERREG projects.
  • On other European projects.
  • On Commonwealth, international and global projects.
  • On UK projects.  
Saturday, 10 February 2018 13:16

Urban expansion, public space and heritage

Today at the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur I went into three events, which spanned a wide range of themes and places.Each in its own way provoked thoughts.

Guest blogger, the distinguished Hungarian researcher and consultant, Iván Tosics, reflects on radical alternatives to address today's urban challenges.

Published in Guest blogs

Planners on an innovative post-graduate course in Zambia are being trained to understand how informal development operates and how to deliver pro-poor planning.

Published in News items

World Town Planning Day (8 November) was celebrated in Kabul by a national urban conference addressed by the President.

Published in News items

The authorities in Rome this week demolished the Ponte Mammolo informal settlement where some people have lived permanently for well over a decade. Claims that residents were given advanced notice of the arrival of the bulldozsrs are disputed. The migrations from North Africa into Italy have seen some 200 new and transient people living on a parking lot for tourist buses in front of the main settlement, as they make their way north in search of jobs.

Published in News items

Informal development is now penetrating the formerly exclusive suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe's main city. lLike many colonial cities the early planning of Harare sought to segregate areas by class and ethnicity. However, urbanisation and poverty are now resulting in green spaces in low density suburbs becoming the focus for informal housing that brings the poor to the doorsteps of the rich.

Published in News items
Thursday, 16 April 2015 14:31

Resilience of cities in the Global South

Resilience of cities is the theme of the latest issue of the French publication of Villes en Développement edited by my old friend Marcel Belliot. As the preface notes, resilience is now central to "approaches and strategies of governments partnering urban development and of funders." It brings a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to understanding and managing urban development. There are articles about simulation of crises and responses to an earthquake disaster in Lima; efforts by Algiers to adapt to the consequences of climate change; emergency responses in South Sudan, a country particularly fragile and vulnerable to the risk of flooding; and how the French Development Agency (AFD) is bolstering the resilience of vulnerable neighbourhoods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

This blog was first published on the Planning Resource website on 25 February 2011.


Aleppo has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List. A historic crossroads location on trade routes that criss-crossed the Middle East and connected it to Asia and Europe generated the wealth to invest in the built environment. The result is some grand set-pieces, perhaps most noticeably the 12th century Great Mosque and the monumental 13th century Citadel. However, much of the character of the city comes from the intricate network of streets and suqs within the walled city.

Published in World View Blog