Dr Rakib Akhtar DPhil (Oxon), MSc, BArch

Dr Rakib Akhtar

Life and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer in Urban Planning

Contact details

Dr. Rakib is an interdisciplinary scholar with a research focus on technology-oriented urbanisation, infrastructure development and their interconnection with right-wing nationalism. Rakib is a chartered Architect and a Town Planner with extensive knowledge and practical experiences across countries. His research interests sit at the intersection of Urban Planning, Political Economy and Development Studies.


DPhil in International Development, University of Oxford, 2020

MSc in International Planning, Bartlett School of Planning, University College London (UCL), 2015

Bachelor of Architecture, Panjab University, India, 2010

Bachelor in Building Sciences & Technology, Panjab University, 2008

Member, Royal Town Planning Institute, United Kingdom

Licensed Architect, Council of Architecture, India


Rakib completed his DPhil in International Development at the University of Oxford in 2020. His thesis analysed the role of the ‘actually existing state’ in the delivery of a Smart City project in India. It looked at how actors of neoliberalism and right-wing religious nationalism (or Hindutva), who are part of the state, come together in helping each other take root through the delivery of an urbanisation project. The research was the outcome of extensive fieldwork in the affected villages as well in the Special Purpose Vehicle designed to deliver the project.

As a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with a team based at Anglia Ruskin University, Rakib examined the relationship of Peri-urbanisation and Climate Change in India. In terms of teaching, Rakib has delivered a number of teaching assignments as a Tutor at various colleges in the University of Oxford as well as at the UCL. Prior to the PhD, Rakib has taught at an architecture college in India. Before entering academia, Rakib has worked as a Chartered Architect and an Urban Planner in India, the Middle-East as well as in the UK.

In addition to this, Rakib’s research project inquires the role of Health in the design and planning of Smart Cities in India. The project takes a particular focus on the post-pandemic era to illustrate how health has become a key discourse of city planning. Rakib is a co-editor of an upcoming book titled ‘COVID-19 in South Asia: Impact on Society, Economics and Politics’ to be published by Routledge.


Rakib contributes across the two campuses of the University in Edgbaston and Dubai.

  • 37258: LM Smart Cities (Dubai)
  • 37257: LM Planning for Healthy Cities (Dubai)
  • 37260: The Planner in Contemporary Society (Dubai)
  • 37770: LI Urban Geography (Edgbaston)
  • 34043 Development Geographies (Edgbaston)
  • 30025 LC Research Methods for Planners (Rotterdam Field Course) 
  • 37527 LC One-Planet Thinking (Edgbaston)
  • 36945 - LM Public Health Integration  (Edgbaston)
  • 37141 LI Dissertation Labs for Human Geography and Planning (Edgbaston)
  • Dissertation Research Methods for MSc Urban Planning (Dubai)

Postgraduate supervision

Rakib would be interested to hear from students in the fields of smart urbanism, development studies, neoliberalism, right-wing religious nationalism and their overlaps and intersections.


Research Interests include Neoliberalism, Smart Urbanism, Development Studies, Healthy Cities, Right-wing Nationalism.


Akhtar, R., 2022. Protests, neoliberalism and right-wing populism amongst farmers in India. The Journal of Peasant Studies, pp.1-21.  DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2022.2096446 

Akhtar R., Ali, M. & Hussain, M. T. (forthcoming). COVID-19 in South Asia: Impact on Society, Economics and Politics. Routledge Publishers. ISBN: 978-1-032-20663-9