Dr Tom Goodfellow

Associate Researcher

About Tom

Tom joined the department of Urban Studies and Planning as a Lecturer in 2013, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 2017. Prior to this, from 2010-2013 he was a Teaching Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the Department of International Development, where he also undertook his PhD (completed in 2012). Whilst studying for the PhD Tom was an advisor to Oxfam GB on urban development issues as part of a collaborative ESRC studentship, and a Research Associate of the DFID-funded Crisis States Research Centre. Dr Goodfellow has an interdisciplinary academic background, with an undergraduate degree in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in International Relations from the LSE. At Sheffield he tries to maintain interdisciplinary engagement both within the department and beyond, as a Research Associate of the Sheffield Institute for International Development and Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, and now as an Associate Researcher in the Urban Institute.

Research interests

Tom’s research interests centre on the politics of urban development and planning in the global South, especially sub-Saharan Africa. He is especially interested in the processes of bargaining and negotiation – both explicit and implicit, formal and informal – that shape different paths of urban transformation in the developing world. Tom’s research has focused on issues such as how urban informal workers engage with elites in conflictual and collusive ways to secure their livelihoods and bring about (or resist) urban change; the relationship between evolving urban landscapes, political coalitions and property tax regimes; the interplay of formal and informal institutional systems for governing urban land and infrastructure; and violence and protest as forms of urban political engagement. Much of Tom’s work is based on comparative case study approaches to understanding cities and urban phenomena. Tom strongly believes in the value of both geographic and historical comparison for understanding the drivers of urban development and change.

Central issues motivating Dr Goodfellow’s current and planned future research projects include the following:

1. How are power relations and ‘political settlements’ reflected in urban landscapes, and conversely how do changes to the urban built environment shape politics and power?

2. How can marginalised urban groups exert agency in formal and informal processes that affect their working conditions, homes, mobility and access to services?

3. How can our understanding of urban challenges facing parts of the global South today be enhanced though comparison with historical experiences of state-building and city-building elsewhere?

4. How is urban development in Africa being influenced by an increasingly diverse range of international donors and investors, particularly with regard to the politics of land, infrastructure and housing?


Behuria, P. and T. Goodfellow. “Leapfrogging Manufacturing? Rwanda’s Attempt to Build a Services-Led ‘Developmental State’.” The European Journal of Development Research (2018): 1-23.

Goodfellow T (2017) Seeing political settlements through the city: A framework for comparative analysis of urban transformationDevelopment and ChangeView this article in WRRO

Goodfellow T (2017) Urban fortunes and skeleton cityscapes: real estate ad late urbanisation in Kigali and Addis AbabaInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(5), 786-803. View this article in WRRO.

Goodfellow T (2017) Taxing property in a neo-developmental state: The Politics of urban land value capture in Rwanda and EthiopiaAfrican Affairs, 116(465), 549-572. View this article in WRRO

Goodfellow T (2016) Double capture and de-democratisation: Interest group politics and Uganda’s ‘transport mafia’Journal of Development Studies, 53(10), 1568-1583. View this article in WRRO

Goodfellow T (2015) Taming the “Rogue” Sector: Studying State Effectiveness in Africa through Informal Transport PoliticsComparative Politics, 47(2), 127-147. View this article in WRRO.

Goodfellow T (2014) Rwanda’s political settlement and the urban transition: expropriation, construction and taxation in KigaliJournal of Eastern African Studies, 8(2), 311-329.

Goodfellow T (2014) Legal manoeuvres and violence: Law making, protest and semi-authoritarianism in UgandaDevelopment and Change, 45(4), 753-776.

Goodfellow T & Lindemann S (2013) The clash of institutions: traditional authority, conflict and the failure of ‘hybridity’ in BugandaCommonwealth & Comparative Politics, 51(1), 3-26.

Beall J, Goodfellow T & Rodgers D (2013) Cities and Conflict in Fragile States in the Developing WorldUrban Studies, 50(15), 3065-3083.

Goodfellow T (2013) The Institutionalisation of “Noise” and “Silence” in Urban Politics: Riots and Compliance in Uganda and RwandaOxford Development Studies, 41(4), 436-454.

Goodfellow T & Smith A (2013) From Urban Catastrophe to ‘Model’ City? Politics, Security and Development in Post-conflict KigaliUrban Studies, 50(15), 3185-3202.

Goodfellow T (2013) Planning and development regulation amid rapid urban growth: Explaining divergent trajectories in AfricaGeoforum, 48, 83-93.

Goodfellow T & Titeca K (2012) Presidential intervention and the changing ‘politics of survival’ in Kampala’s informal economyCities, 29(4), 264-270.

Beall J, Goodfellow T & Putzel J (2006) Introductory article: on the discourse of terrorism, security and developmentJournal of International Development, 18(1), 51-67.

Fox S & Goodfellow T (2016) Cities and Development. London: Routledge.

Goodfellow T (2016) Urban Informality and the State: A Relationship of Perpetual Negotiation In Grugel J & Hammett D (Ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of International Development

Goodfellow T (2014) Fragile States In Desai V & Potter R (Ed.), The Companion to Development Studies

Goodfellow T & Beall J (2014) Conflict and post-war transition in African cities In Parnell S & Pieterse E (Ed.), Africa’s Urban Revolution

Goodfellow T (2013) Urban planning in Africa and the politics of implementation: contrasting patterns of state intervention in Kampala and Kigali In Arlt V, Macamo E & Obrist B (Ed.), Living the city in Africa

Behuria P & Goodfellow T () The disorder of miracle growth in Rwanda: Understanding the limitations of transitions to open ordered development In Pritchett L & Sen K (Ed.), Deals and Development (pp. 217-249). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goodfellow T & Owen O (2018) Taxation, Property Rights and the Social Contract in Lagos. View this article in WRRO

Goodfellow T & Behuria P (2016) The political settlement and ‘deals environment’in Rwanda: Unpacking two decades of economic growth. Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, Working Paper No. 57.

Goodfellow T (2015) Taxing the Urban Boom: Property Taxation and Land Leasing in Kigali and Addis Ababa.

Goodfellow T (2011) The institutionalisation of’noise’and’silence’in urban politics: case studies from East Africa. Queen Elizabeth House Working Paper Series.

Goodfellow T & Beall J (2011) Cities, conflict and state fragility. Crisis States Research Centre, Working Paper 85.2.

Goodfellow T (2010) ’The bastard child of nobody’?: anti-planning and the institutional crisis in contemporary Kampala. Crisis States Research Centre, Working Paper No. 67.2.

Goodfellow T (2016) Informal Transport in Practice: Matatu Entrepreneurship by Meleckidzedeck Khayesi, Fredrick Muyia Nafukho and Joyce Kemua London: Routledge, 2015. Pp. 164. £60 (hbk).The Journal of Modern African Studies, 54(04), 743-744.

GOODFELLOW TOM (2014) Governance for Development in Africa: Solving Collective Action Problems by David Booth and Diana Cammack London: Zed Books, 2013. Pp. 176. £16·99 (pbk)The Journal of Modern African Studies, 52(03), 497-498.

Goodfellow T (2013) Lambright Gina S.. Decentralization in Uganda: Explaining Successes and Failures in Local Governance. African Studies Review, 01(56).