Dr Lindsay Sawyer

Associate Researcher

About Lindsay

Lindsay is one of the Urban Institute’s first Associate Researchers. She joined the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield in September 2018 as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow with the project “Power, authority and land: An intra-city comparison of urban processes in Lagos”. Lindsay gained her doctorate from ETH Zurich (2016) after working as a researcher at the Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore and as a visiting scholar at the African Centre for Cities, Cape Town. She has previous degrees in Architecture (2009) and The City (2010) from the University of Edinburgh. Lindsay is also an Honorary Research Fellow of the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester.

Research interests

Lindsay’s research interests currently focus on land, urban governance and the role of state and customary authorities in the urbanization of Lagos, Nigeria. Her research is concerned with confronting urban theory, especially related to informality, with the grounded realities of African urbanism, and building new theories and concepts from grounded research in comparative context. Lindsay is interested in developing and applying comparative methods as a way to do this, and since 2011 has been involved in comparative work across Lagos, Mexico City, Istanbul, Kolkata and Shenzhen.


Sawyer, Lindsay. (forthcoming 2019). “Natures Remade and Imagined: “World-City” Beautification and Real Estate Reclamation in Lagos.” In Grounded Urban Natures: Histories and Futures of Urban Ecologies. Henrik Ernstson and Sverker Sörlin (eds.) MIT Press, pp. 83-108

Schmid, Christian, Ozan Karaman, Naomi Hanakata, Pascal Kallenberger, Anne Kockelkorn, Lindsay Sawyer, Monika Streule, and Tammy Wong. 2017. “Towards a new vocabulary of urbanization processes” Urban Studies 51(1) 19-52. DOI: 10.1177/0042098017739750

Sawyer, Lindsay. 2014. “Piecemeal Urbanisation at the Peripheries of Lagos.” African Studies Quarterly, 73(2): 271-289. DOI: 10.1080/00020184.2014.925207