Prof David Sanderson

BA (Hons), DipArch, MSc, PhD

Associate Lecturer


David has over 20 years experience working in development and disaster risk reduction, working mostly for aid agencies. Between 1998-2006 David worked for CARE International UK as Head of Policy and subsequently Regional Manager for Southern and West Africa. Before that he worked for four years at the Oxford Centre for Disaster Studies. In 2006 David joined Oxford Brookes University as Director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP).

In August 2014 David took up a post of Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, working on urban disaster resilience and humanitarian aid; before then he spent 2013-14 at Harvard University as Visiting Professor.

David has experience of all stages of project management and has carried out work for agencies including Qatar Foundation, ADPC, ALNAP, ELRHA, ACT Alliance, DFID, Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), DiPECHO, European Commission, Humanitarian Coalition (HC), USAID, World Bank (EDI Section), United Nations (UNDP/UNDESA, UN-Habitat), British Council, Christian Aid, Habitat For Humanity, CARE Bangladesh, Tear Fund, Save the Children, Oxfam GB, Islamic Relief, REDR, World Vision International and the Mott Foundation.

David is a member of several humanitarian organisation committees and steering groups, and is an Editor of PLoS One: Disasters and Jamba Journal. He holds a PhD in urban disasters and livelihoods and is a Visiting Professor at Université Paris-Est Créteil in Paris. He teaches annual courses at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), EOI Business School, Madrid, Oxford Brookes University, Université Paris-Est Créteil and Universita della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano.

Current posts

  • Member, Board of the board of Directors, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) since 20114
  • Steering Committee member, ELRHA, since 2014
  • Member, Humanitarian Innovation Project Advisory Board, Oxford University, since 2012
  • Grants panel member, Humanitarian Innovations Fund (HIF), since 2011 (Chair since 2014)

Publications (since 2010)

  • Sanderson, D and Delica Willisen, Z (2014) Philippines Typhoon Haiyan response review, for the DEC and HC. 2014. London and Ottawa
  • Morgan N, Naz S and Sanderson D (2013) Pakistan floods response 2010-12. Final evaluation report for Christian Aid. London
  • Sanderson D and Burnell J (Eds) (2013) Beyond shelter after disaster: practice, process and possibilities. Routledge. Oxford
  • Sanderson D (2013) Managing disaster risk in informal settlements, in Davis I (Ed) Practitioner’s handbook on urban disaster risk management. ADPC, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Sanderson D and Knox-Clarke P (2012) ALNAP Lessons. Responding to urban disasters. Learning from previous relief and recovery operations. ODI, London
  • Sanderson D (2012) Understandings in disaster risk reduction and resilience, in Natural Disasters, [Eds.UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee], in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), developed under the Auspices of UNESCO, EOLSS Publishers, Oxford, UK
  • Russ C, Walker P and Sanderson D (2102) Humanitarian Training and Education Snapshot Report for the Qatar Shelter Initiative, Qatar
  • Sanderson D, Sharma A and Anderson J (2012) NGO permanent housing 10 years after the Gujarat earthquake: revisiting the FICCI−CARE Gujarat rehabilitation programme, Environment and Urbanization, Vol 24 (1) April 2012, P 1-15, London
  • Sanderson D (2012) Building livelihoods of the most marginalised in urban areas. Strategic approaches from Dhaka in in Environmental Hazards, January 2012, Earthscan, London
  • Sanderson D (2011) Good design in urban shelter after disaster: lessons from development in Boundaries, Architecture for emergencies, PP 64-69, Oct-Dec 2011, 2, Italy
  • Burnell J and Sanderson D (2011) Whose reality counts? Shelter after disaster, P 189-192 in Environmental Hazards, Ed Burnell J and Sanderson D, Vol 10, No 3, September 2011, Earthscan, London
  • Lyons M, Schilderman T and Sanderson D (2011) Harnessing time: Reflections on constraints to development, P 213-217 in Environmental Hazards, Ed Burnell J and Sanderson D, Vol 10, No 3, September 2011, Earthscan, London
  • Sanderson D (2011) Livelihood protection and support for disaster, chapter 58, pp655-668, in Handbook of Hazards, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Ed Wisner BV, Gaillard J and Kelman I, Routledge, London
  • Clermont C, Sanderson D, Spraos H and Sharma A (2011) Urban disasters - lessons from Haiti. Study of member agencies’ responses to the earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti, January 2010. Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), London
  • Sanderson, D (2010) Architects are often the last people needed in disaster reconstruction, Comment, The Guardian, 3 March
Prof David Sanderson


School of Architecture

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP

Visit the CENDEP website