Affordable Housing Affordable Cities

Staff Profiles

Staff profiles of IHS and MLC staff involved

Dr. Alonso Ayala

Senior Expert in Housing and Spatial Planning

Alonso Ayala is an architect and spatial planner specialized on the fields of housing, informal settlement upgrading, human settlement planning and regional development planning in emerging and transitional economies. He holds an MSc in Regional Development Planning and a PhD from the Faculty of Spatial Planning of TU Dortmund University. With over twenty-five years of working experience he has conducted field research on informal urban processes in Venezuela, Bangladesh, Ghana and the Philippines. His specific fields of expertise are management of housing projects, research on housing and urban development, lecturing on (social) housing and urban planning, training of strategic planning workshops and institutional capacity building. Alonso Ayala works for the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) of the University of Erasmus in Rotterdam. He is a lecturer, researcher and consultant of housing-related issues. Specific assignments done by Alonso Ayala in the past 5 years are: Definition of the Social Housing Strategy for the Republic of Albania (2014-2015); Best Practices for Roma Integration in the Western Balkans: Legalization, Settlement Upgrading and Social Housing (2013-2014); Establishment of the Metropolitan Agency for Housing and Urban Development in the Municipality of Guatemala (2012-2013); Housing Needs Assessment for the Municipality of Diyarbakir, Turkey (2010-2011). He has conducted training and advisory work in Germany, The Netherlands, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

Dr. Maartje van Eerd

Senior Expert in Housing & Social Development

Maartje van Eerd (PhD Leiden University, MA Human Geography University of Amsterdam) is a Human Geographer by profession with extensive experience as researcher, trainer and advisor on housing and social development issues. Her PhD research focused on resettlement in Chennai, India, where she analysed local initiatives, and government and NGO policies and programmes. She currently has started follow-up research in Chennai, particularly focusing on long term effects of resettlement. For UN-Habitat she has coordinated and conducted research on evictions, acquisition, expropriation and compensation and co-developed a training programme on citywide street-led slum upgrading. She has developed, coordinated and facilitated several accredited courses on housing rights, forced evictions and alternatives for NGOs, CBOs and local government globally (Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, gender and tenure security for local NGOs in East Africa, and several trainings on alternatives to forced evictions and resettlement in Africa (Nigeria and Kenya), and Asia (Philippines, India), affordable housing and access to housing for migrant women in Asia (Myanmar). Apart from her teaching experience, she is the author and editor of academic publications and she is member the editorial board of the International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development. Also she is involved in acquisition and training and advisory work for local and national governments in Myanmar and India, and she coordinates IHS projects in India and Myanmar.

Ellen Geurts

Senior Expert in Housing

Ellen Geurts is a housing expert at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands with nearly 15 years of experience. She studied Technology and Society at the Technical University in Eindhoven and holds an MSc in Housing from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Her continued studies and training includes the Housing Finance course at Wharton School from University of Pennsylvania and Community Participation from the University of Cape Town. She is a member of the Examination Committee at IHS. At IHS, Ellen lectures in the Urban Housing Equity and Social Justice specialization on finance, policy and public housing issues. In addition she coordinates and lectures two short courses: Developing Social Housing Projects (3 weeks) and the International Course on Housing and Urban Development (3 months). Over the past years, she has also been involved as a trainer in several Tailor-Made-Training courses and Refresher courses in Armenia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Thailand. Her training experience has focussed on public and social housing, housing finance, management of multi-family housing and housing needs. However, Ellen is also more broadly involved in capacity developed and has conducted several Training Needs Assessments and Training of Trainers. In addition to lecturing, she has conducted various advisory assignments on affordable housing as a consultant and researcher. Her experience is predominantly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Europe. In the Ukraine and Armenia she has delivered training and advisory work around energy efficiency and management of multi-family stock. In the Balkans, Albania in particular she has developed a housing strategy and has focussed on issues of housing for the Roma population. In Kenya, Zambia and South Africa she has been involved in advisory assignments around affordable housing, community involvement and urban development and worked with various NGOs. Her Asian experience is somewhat limited but she recently presented in India at a conference on Affordable Housing, trained Nuffic alumni in Myanmar and Thailand. Before joining IHS, she worked for a consultancy firm on housing management issues in Central and Eastern Europe as well as some research studies for the EU and the Netherlands government. For her studies she spent 3 years in South Africa where she worked for the South African Local Government Association and developed a Toolkit for Municipal Housing Policy.

Vinayak Bharne


Vinayak Bharne is Principal and Director of Design of the award-winning architecture/planning practice, Moule & Polyzoides, in Los Angeles, USA. He is also Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Urbanism at the University of Southern California, and Executive Editor of My Liveable City. His professional work ranges from satellite cities, new towns, neighborhood and district master plans, mobility plans, inner-city revitalization, resortvillages, campuses and housing for corporate, private and institutional clients; to urban regulations, policies and strategic advising for government and non-government agencies in the United States, Canada, India, Australia, China, United Arab Emirates, Panama, Kenya and Mauritius. His projects have received numerous local and national awards. These include the 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement – Overall Excellence by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the 2013 Pinnacle Award from the International Downtown Association, five national Charter Awards from the Congress for the New Urbanism; and the Excellence in Planning Implementation Award from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association. He is the author/editor of four books including “The Emerging Asian City: Concomitant Urbanities & Urbanisms” (Routledge, 2012), and the forthcoming “Routledge Companion of Global Heritage Conservation” (Routledge 2018). He is the author of more than 50 articles on urban design and planning including “Humanizing High-rise Urbanism: Design Strategies and Planning Tools,” and “The Affordable City: Bridging Urban Extremes with a Equitable Middle.” Profiled as an emerging thought leader by World Architecture News in 2013, he was one of nine international urban practitioners and scholars honoured at the 2015 Urban Edge Award seminar at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee for “excellence in the broad field of urban design and the ability of individuals to create major, positive change within the public realm through engaging research, critical practice and urban activism.”

Prof. Ashok Lall


Ashok Lall, b. 1948, graduated from the University of Cambridge U.K. in Architecture & Fine Arts and obtained the Architectural Association Diploma in 1970. His architectural firm (estd. 1981) is committed to an architectural practice based on the principles of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. The firm has won a number of awards and its work has been published widely. Engaged in architectural education since 1990, he has developed curricula and teaching methods to address environmental issues. He has published many articles and presented papers on environmentally sustainable design and has been an active member of institutions and groups promoting awareness and building competence in sustainable design of buildings. He has been invited to present his work on sustainable design for a developing world at various fora in India and abroad, including UK, Australia, Switzerland, Egypt, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Uganda, Iran, Philippines and Mexico. He was chair of the Jury for the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction, Asia Pacific Region and member of the Global Jury. He is presently Design & Technology Chair at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture (KRVIA), Mumbai. He has been consultant to the Swiss Development Agency and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in India for the Building Energy Efficiency Programme. Here he has participated in developing Energy Efficiency Guidelines for Multi-storeyed Residential Buildings and for the development of Energy Efficiency Code for Group Housing.

Ir. Shyam Khandekar


Shyam Khandekar is an Architect, Urban Designer and Urban Planner and has over 40 years of professional experience in various aspects of the design of cities and their (urban) landscape and public spaces. He is an alumnus of IHS, Rotterdam (1973), and holds a Master’s degree in Urban Design from the University of Manchester (UK) (1976) and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Technical University of Delft ( Netherlands)( 1978), besides holding a B.Arch( Hons) degree in Architecture from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharapur,India (1972). Shyam has founded and led his own private practice in the Netherlands for more than 25 years and has been working and leading multi-disciplinary design-teams engaged in large complex urban projects in Europe and in India. As founder of his design studio, Shyam has led, among others, the design of the award-winning Paleiskwartier in Netherlands and the Nirlon Knowledge Park in Mumbai, India. As Chairman of BDP.KHANDEKAR, Netherland and BDP.INDIA, Shyam was responsible for leading design teams which won the competitions for both IIT, Mandi campus and the sustainable IIT,Jodhpur campus in India. He has lectured extensively around the world in conferences and at universities on issues related to the liveability of cities and on his own designs. He is co-founder and Editorial Director of the international magazine MY LIVEABLE CITY.