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Deepak Gopinath

Deepak Gopinath

Deepak Gopinath


G39, Ground Floor

School of the Environment

Tower Building

University of Dundee

Perth Road, Dundee


United Kingdom

Phone: +44(0)1382 385048

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I graduated with a degree in architecture and have since then been pursuing a career in town planning initially in practice and later in academia. Following my postgraduate studies in urban planning, my early career in planning started in development planning at the Delhi Development Authority, where I was involved in the preparation of Master Plan of Delhi 2001-21. I later joined the School of Planning and Architecture at New Delhi as Research Associate in the Department of Urban Planning where I was involved in both teaching and research. After which, I was offered a full tuition fee scholarship (through the Overseas Research Scholarship award as well as the University of Sheffield Fee Bursary) to carry out my doctoral studies at Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield. My career in academia re-commenced with my joining the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Dundee firstly as a Teaching Fellow in 2008 and later as Lecturer in 2009.


Research Interest

My primary research interest is in developing theoretical frameworks for inclusive city planning and in particular exploring how excluded groups might engage with the spatio-temporal dimensions of resilience to make themselves ‘less vulnerable’. I develop an understanding of why some resources (including material resources such as income and assets, and non-material resources such as health and education) are valued more than others for individuals/communities to be resilient, and how is one setting out to achieve this? And, to what extent can such an analysis offer opportunities (or not) for spatial and social mobility of individuals/communities? Two groups are the focus of this body of work: (1) poor and disadvantaged communities; (2) the disabled in particular visually impaired populations.

In addition, I am also interested: (1) in engaging with Hodson and Marvin’s notion of ‘urban ecological security’ as a conceptual framework for linking urban growth management strategies and climate change; (2) in the mobility of students and academic staff within the context of a globalisation of higher education and how/whether cities are prepared to take on /maintain roles as ‘centres of teaching and research excellence’ - within this body of work, I am currently working on the significance of branch campuses as one of many forms of transnational higher education.


Recent research

Dr. Deepak Gopinath (main applicant) and Prof. Murali Nair (co-applicant, Department of Social Work, Cleveland State University) and have been successful in securing a British Academy Small Research Grant (Ref. SG10153) for a sum of £6800, for the project titled, 'The possibility of local communities shaping an understanding of poverty? Experiences from the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission for improving the lives of urban poor in India'. Fieldwork was carried out in the summer of 2011 in India and following which a dissemination event was organised in the University of Dundee. For more details of this study, please visit the project website,

David Kirk (Head of Town and Regional Planning, University of Dundee) Graeme Hutton (Dean of School of Architecture, University of Dundee) and I jointly secured a grant of £15000 from the Scottish Government (in February 2010) to carry out an assessment of how design codes might be embedded within the planning process and in particularly with regard to the proposals for the new town of Tornagrain in Scotland.

Secured funding for £470 (in August 2009) from the Carnegie Trust towards travel costs to carry out further research on how the shifting of governance arrangements in India is impacting on professional planning practice.


Esteem Indicators

Peer reviewer for grant applications funded by the ESRC, UKIERI

Peer reviewer for a range of journals including Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development

External Examiner for PhD thesis, Newcastle University (2)



I currently teach on the following undergraduate modules: Design and Development (Level 2) and Planning Law and Practice (Level 3). The Urban Design class project carried out by students taking the module, Planning Law and Practice, is the subject of the annual, Dundee Civic Design Award competition (sponsored by Dundee City Council). For postgraduate students, I am involved in two modules: (1) 'Discourses in Urban Design', along with Mohammad Radfar; (2)  'Sustainability in Contemporary Cities' and 'Concepts in Spatial Planning' along with Dr. Vincent Onyango.

In addition, I am the Level 4 Year Tutor for undergraduate students and the coordinator for the Dundee University Access to Learning (DUAL) module on Town Planning and Environmental Sustainability. Also, I am Director for the new programme, MSc Advanced Sustainable Urban Design - please visit the programme blog, for more information.

With regard to doctoral supervision, I am keen to hear from potential doctoral students who share overlapping interests with my main areas of research.


Teaching/applied research interest

Caught between competing values such as ‘conformity’’ vs. ‘flexibility’, and ‘coherence’ and  ‘uniqueness’ etc, how might participatory mapping and community visioning techniques to create ‘sustainable communities’ be effectively shaped by local people?

Within this strand, I am currently working on developing techniques to carry out resource profiling through participatory mapping and drawing on from work I previously carried out: (1) developing place-based understanding of poverty within pro-poor governance strategies (Ref: British Academy funded study 2011); (2) engaging with community values in design charrettes (Ref: Scottish Government funded study 2010); (3) mapping of perceptions of spaces ‘as cultural/experiential resource’ from the point of view of diverse users recorded over time (Ref: On-going basic research titled ‘ Urban Anthology’, Future projects include use of participatory GIS.






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