Dr Jayaraj  Sundaresan

Dr Jayaraj Sundaresan

LSE Fellow in Human Geography

Department of Geography and Environment

Office Hours
Book via Student Hub
Key Expertise
Urban Politics, Urban Commons, Planning Violations and illegalities

About me

I joined the Department in 2017 and teach across Urban, Planning, Environment and Development domains in the department. I am a comparative urbanist interested in Participations, Commons, Vernacular, and Decolonial. I am interested in the geographies of rule beyond ‘ the state’ – in particular, the various vernacular formations of power, consequent practices of rule (democracy or otherwise) and its spatial and social outcomes. Primary field sites of my research interest are India and London. Methodologically I am an ethnographer. I have written about urban commons, geographies of water/urban wetlands and ecological transformations, corruption, violations and illegalities, participation and urban activism. I am currently working on a monograph on Planning Violations in India.

Along with research and teaching, for many years, I worked with local governments in London as a consultant on planning, regeneration and urban design policy shaping projects and contributing to policy documents, which included 'Tall Buildings evidence Framework for London Borough of Lewisham'. Before coming to London, I used to run an urban consulting and advocacy centre in India that I co-founded: among the many projects I developed and implemented include the tenure security component (housing for about 1000 people) of the DfiD funded Cochin Urban Poverty Reduction Project (implemented through community participation) and the Arackal Palace and Environs area conservation program (that won UNESCO award). I have worked on heritage conservation in India (Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur in Rajasthan) and also produced morphological studies of about 150 Cities in India (partly published by CEPT, Ahmedabad)

Over the years my research and teaching positions include Co-Director of the Urban Fellows Program at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Research Associate and Associate Fellow at the Development Planning Unit (DPU - UCLFuture proofing Indian Cities), Research Associate at LSE Grantham Research Institute (2015 Global Climate Legislation Study), and LSE Cities (Urban Age Mumbai).


PhD. Regional and Urban Planning Studies (LSE Geography) 
MSc. City Design and Social Science (LSE-Cities)
M.Arch. Urban Design and Planning (CEPT-Ahmedabad) 
B.Arch. Architecture  (CET-Kerala University)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK

Courses (taught and/or teaching since 2017)

GY311 Political Economy Urbanisation 
GY474 Politics of Environment and Development (with Julia Corwin) 
GY100 Introduction to Geography (with colleagues). 
Gy202 Introduction to Global Development 
GY441 Politics of Housing 
GY448 Social and Political aspects of Regional and Urban Planning (with Alan Mace)
GY454 Urban Policy and Planning (with Nancy Holman)
GY350 UG Dissertation 
GY499 PG Dissertation 
GY500 PhD Seminars (with Austin Zeiderman)

Expertise Details

Comparative Urbanism and Global South; Indian Cities; Urban Politics (policy/planning/design); Urban Commons; Planning Violations and illegalities; Corruption; Planning Power; Urban Nature; Urban Activism; Vernacular Governance; Decolonization

Selected publications