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Professor and Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture, UNSW Sydney

David has 28 years’ experience working across the world in development and emergencies, often relating to shelter after disaster. Originally trained as an architect, he worked for four years in a disaster management consultancy, eight years for the NGO CARE International, and for eight years was Director of a UK university centre focusing on development and emergencies. Between 2013-14 he was a full-time Visiting Professor at Harvard University.

Since 2011 David has led post-disaster evaluations in Haiti, Pakistan, India, the Philippines and Nepal. David is editor of the 2016 IFRC World Disasters Report and editor of the 2018 inaugural State of the Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements Report for the Global shelter Cluster. He is author of the 2019 ODI/ALNAP Urban Humanitarian Response Good Practice Review. David moved to Australia in 2016 to take up a newly-created position as Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture at UNSW’s Faculty of the Built Environment.


  • –present
    Professor, Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture, UNSW Australia