Colin McFarlane is an urban geographer whose work focusses on the experience and politics of informal neighbourhoods. This has involved research into the relations between informality, infrastructure and knowledge in urban India and elsewhere. A key part of this has been a focus on the experience and politics of sanitation in informal settlements in Mumbai, which was part of an Economic and Social Research Council ethnographic project on the everyday cultures and contested politics of sanitation and water in two informal settlements. His current work examines the politicisation of informal neighbourhoods in comparative perspective, including African and South Asian cities.
He is author of ‘Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage’ (Blackwell), a book focussed on the intersections between urban inequality, materiality, resistance and learning, as well as related edited collections, including: ‘Infrastructural Lives: Urban Infrastructure in Context’ (Earthscan-Routledge, with Steve Graham), ‘Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia’ (Routledge, with Jonathan Anjaria), and ‘Urban Informalities: Reflections on the Formal and Informal’ (Ashgate, with Michael Waibel).
In 2013, he was awarded the Leverhulme Prize for his research in urban geogrpahy. In 2010, he was awarded the Gill Memorial Award from the Royal Geographical Society for contributions to urban geography, and in 2009 a fellowship for his work on sanitation from Berlin’s Irmgard Coninx Foundation in conjunction with Humboldt University.