Kamna Patel

'Tenure and Vulnerability: The effects of changes to tenure security on the social relationships of the urban poor'

Supervisors: Philip Amis and Carole Rakodi

Kamna’s doctoral research concerns the process of in situ upgrade of informal settlements in Durban, South Africa, Specifically, how this process affects the social relationships and networks of residents within settlements, and how changing social relations affect individual experience of vulnerability and resilience. Her work explores themes including the construction of informality as an identity amongst settlement residents and how this identity changes, and changing appreciations of tenure security and insecurity that accompany the process of upgrade and formalisation.


Kamna Patel is a doctoral candidate in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham.  Prior to the commencement of her PhD, Kamna worked for a UK-based development consultancy firm for five years as project manager and consultant specialising in land tenure reform and urban livelihoods projects and programmes.  She has completed consultancy assignments in Rwanda, Guyana, Jamaica and Vietnam for clients including DFID, Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. 

She is an ESRC +3 award holder.

Since August 2009, Kamna has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (http://sds.ukzn.ac.za). 


  • BSc Politics with Economics (University of Bath)
  • Dip Environmental Management (British Safety Council)
  • MA Development Studies: Social Development and Social Policy (University of Manchester)
  • PhD International Development (University of Birmingham) (current)

Research interests

  • Land tenure
  • Urban poverty and livelihoods
  • Urban housing
  • Social relations

Teaching responsibilities

  • Gave two guest lectures on Project Management and Monitoring and Evaluation for the MA module Introduction to Development Projects (Semester 1, 2008)
  • Gave a guest lecture on Environmental Externalities for the MA module Project Financial and Economic Analysis (Semester 2, 2010)

Conference papers


Patel, Kamna (2009), ‘Land tenure and vulnerability: the social consequences of the in situ upgrade of informal settlements, a South African case study’, conference paper, U21 Graduate Conference on Sustainable Cities, University of Melbourne / University of Queensland, 20th Nov – 5th December 2009.



Patel, Kamna (2009), ‘Tenure and Vulnerability’, poster presentation, Annual Postgraduate Workshop, Development Studies Association / University of East Anglia, 3-4th June 2009.

Patel, Kamna (2009), ‘Measuring Reciprocity: An innovative method in urban ethnography?’, conference paper, 10th Researching Africa Day, Africa Studies Centre, St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford, 9th May 2009.


Patel, K. (2008), ‘Tenure and Vulnerability: The effects of approaches to tenure security on social exclusion and the implications for social policy’, unpublished MA thesis, IDPM, University of Manchester.

Patel, K. (2007), ‘Land tenure reform programme communication strategy’, Rwanda land tenure reform programme, unpublished report for HTSPE Ltd and MINITERE (Rwandan ministry of land, environment and water).

Morton, J. and Patel, K. (2006), ‘Jamaica Inner City Project for the Poor: Socio-economic household baseline survey’, unpublished report for HTSPE Ltd. and Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF)


Email: kxp800@bham.ac.uk