Dissertation

Planning Kabul: the politics of urbanization in Afghanistan

In 2011 my dissertation was co-recipient of the Gill-Chin Lim Award, which is given by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning for international dissertations.

The dissertation achieved several difficult tasks:

  1. It described how Kabul was being planned (and the city was most definitely being planned) in a time of significant political turmoil and foreign (U.S.) occupation
  2. It reframed a fundamental understanding of urban regimes, ideologies of modernity and development, and planning itself through the hard lessons of a city that was not ‘supposed’ to be planned as far as Westerners believed
  3. The text was written in very plain English so that it could be read by scholars for whom English is an unfamiliar language–Afghans who already knew Farsi, Pashto, Urdu and Hindi, but did not have a chance to learn English in the 1990s.

I used to provide Afghans and Afghan scholars with open access to the dissertation on this page. Hopefully it has successfully triggered a healthy, critical discussion about planning, Afghanistan, and the geopolitics of development. Unfortunately, in order to publish a book on the planning of Kabul I have had to remove the dissertation from this page. Publishers have rejected my book proposal because they believe it would not be marketable while my dissertation is openly available. I expect that the book will be significantly different, but I can only truly answer that question after I get it published.