Dr Sunil Kumar

Dr Sunil Kumar

Lecturer in Social Policy and Development

Department of Social Policy

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Key Expertise
Urbanisation, housing, migration, poverty, labour, livelihoods, India

About me

Sunil has a PhD from the University College London (University of London) and researches the urban Global South, India being his primary geographical focus (South Asia more recently). His key urban research interests are: housing, landlords and tenants, labour markets and livelihoods, rural-urban migration and migrant construction workers and, forced evictions, resettlement and livelihood outcomes.  His research is grounded in a critique of existing urban policy or proposed urban policies with the view to propose workable and inclusive alternative ways of addressing identified challenges.  He has also conducted research in Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.

Sunil has undertaken two large research projects for the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the most recent being, The Urbanisation-Construction-Migration Nexus in Five Cities in South Asia: Kabul, Dhaka, Chennai, Kathmandu and Lahore (with M. Fernandez), 2016. Six-page briefing note. Full report. His other DFID research project is entitled Social relations, rental housing markets and the poor in urban India, 2001. He has published in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Studies, Housing Studies and Cities.  He has undertaken consultancies for DFID, Inter-American Development Bank, UN-Habitat and the World Bank, amongst others.

Sunil has a keen interest in and a commitment to the pedagogy of learning and teaching and takes great pleasure in mentoring his graduate and undergraduate students. He held the position of Dean of Graduate Studies from 2011-2017.

Sunil Kumar and Vanessa Hughes have designed a Race Matters initiative in the Department of Social Policy with the aim of creating spaces for students and staff to talk about ‘race’ and its role and implications for understanding decolonised International Social and Public Policy.

Sunil is an associate of the LSE India Observatory  and is the Chair of Appropriate Technology Asia, a NGO that works in high altitude regions of India and Nepal. 

Sunil supervises doctoral studies in areas including:
Urbanisation; internal migration; informal labour markets; informal housing; housing tenure.


Expertise Details

Urbanisation; urban social policy; social development; rural-urban migration; informality; informalisation; urban poverty; urban livelihoods; urban housing; housing tenure; construction labour; learning pedagogies; India; South Asia.