Oxford Team

Michael Keith

Michael Keith

Michael is the PEAK Urban programme PI and director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), in the School of Anthropology. He is an experienced academic manager and research leader with research interests in migration related processes of urban change.


Kazem Rahimi

Kazem Rahimi

Kazem is deputy director of the George Institute UK. He leads the Essential Healthcare Programme, which aims to find practical and affordable solutions for the global health priorities of the world’s largest emerging economies, as well as the priorities of vulnerable or disadvantaged populations in established economies.


Neave O

Neave O'Clery

Neave is a senior research fellow at the Mathematical Institute. She leads a research group focused on studying cities as complex social, spatial and economic systems, with a particular interest in modelling the emergence of economic complexity through knowledge diffusion, and the development of innovative approaches.


Tim Schwanen

Tim Schwanen

Tim is Director of the Transport Studies Unit, Associate Professor of Transport Studies in the School of Geography and Environment. Before coming to Oxford he worked as a lecturer in urban geography at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, where he also completed his PhD.



Lucy Baker is a research associate in urban mobility, researching big data, digital technologies and concepts of the ‘smart city’, and their applicability to mobility governance in development contexts in South Africa and India. Key themes are socio-technical urban mobility networks, human-technological relationships, concepts of human and non-human agency, material geographies and the mobility of technical design.

Bhawani Buswala completed his PhD in Anthropology at Brown University. His research interests include social inequality, caste, development, migration, urbanization, urban poverty, discrimination and stigma, dignity, and the state and citizenship. He explores these questions through ethnographic data on informal settlements, informal work, spatial segregation, food politics, everyday lived experiences, and claims on the state. Research project: Experiencing the state: Informality, social inequality, and spatial relations in urban India

Jacob Doherty completed his PhD in Anthropology at Stanford University. His research is concerned with the everyday life of infrastructures, the dynamics of urban transformation, and the constitution of political authority in African cities. He is researching how informal transport systems like motor-bike taxis, minibuses, and walking differentially provide opportunities for social mobility and reproduce social inequalities. Research project: Everyday Mobilities and Gendered Opportunities in African Urban Transport Systems: An Ethnography of ‘Informality’

ChengHe Guan received his doctoral degree from the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University. His research interest is on urban form and spatial transformation. He uses quantitative research methods, urban growth modeling, and spatial statistics to study the urban geographical processes and urban migration policies that shape cities, towns, and landscape. Research projects: The wellbeing of urban migrants, active transport, and the urban built environment and Migrant urbanization and spatial transformation in developing countries

Mattie Landman received a degree in Industrial Engineering from Stellenbosch University. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the Mathematics Institute.

Samuel Heroy is working on complex systems and the modelling of urban development at the Mathematical Institute. His PhD research focussed on the modelling of carbon nanocomposites and rigidity in disordered fibre systems.

Andy Hong is a Lead Urban Health Scientist at The George Institute for Global Health (UK). He is also Co-founder of the Healthy Cities Network, a global nexus of innovators dedicated to sharing cutting-edge information on urban health. He completed his PhD at the University of Southern California and his research interests lie at the nexus of data science, geography, and public health. Research project: Exploring the complex relationship between environmental factors and health outcomes using machine learning approaches

Rafael Prieto Curiel is a postdoctoral research assistant at the Mathematics Institute working on urban dynamics. He received his PhD from University College London (UCL) in Maths and Security and Crime. He previously worked in the Emergency Attention Centre from Mexico City (C5) where he was the Director of Strategic Analysis, working on crime forecasting and police and resources allocation.

Nicholas Simcik Arese holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Oxford and an AADipl./RIBA II from the Architectural Association. He is developing methods – combining law, ethnography, architecture, and mathematical modelling – to study and shape the future of urbanism. Research project: Global Land Enclosures, Urban-Technology, and Experimental Property: Past, Present, and Future of Household Tenure in Medellin’s Comunas (CLTX)

Daniel Straulino is a postdoctoral research assistant at the Mathematics Institute. His research interests include urban dynamics and modelling, probability theory and applications, and statistics and Machine Learning.

Yajie Zhu is a Machine Learning Scientist at the George Institute. He is working on applying machine learning algorithms to explore the complex relationships between health and environment. Yajie received his PhD from Peking University. Research project: Exploring the complex relationship between environmental factors and health outcomes using machine learning approaches

Management and Communications

Yi Samuel Chen is Research Fellow and China Liaison at COMPAS, with responsibility for building strategic links with Chinese research and other relevant institutions and for translating research findings into impact activities through linking research results across the PEAK project platform with city governments in China.

Rosaleen Cunningham is COMPAS Communications and Media Manager. Before joining COMPAS she worked for the Oxford Martin School and the Young Lives international study at the Oxford Department of International Development. Previously she spent two decades working in emergency and humanitarian communications.

Mikal Mast is project manager on the PEAK Urban programme responsible for the smooth and timely running of the PEAK Urban programme, including retreat organisation, planning, budget oversight, partner communications, reporting and monitoring and evaluation.