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About the Urban Policy and Planning team

We provide support to governments and development partners on critical urban issues, particularly those of service delivery and urban infrastructure, urban climate resilience, governance and institutional support, and urban social protection.

What we do

The services we provide include:

  • technical assistance and capacity building to the government on urban service delivery infrastructure development;
  • support for sustainable urban policy design that has high impact;
  • evidence and innovation to support improved governance processes, institutional mechanisms, and urban reforms;
  • advice on climate- and disaster-resilient development in the urban context;
  • project design and implementation, including analytical feasibility studies; and
  • monitoring and evaluation for lesson learning and adaptive programming.

Our geographical reach

The Urban Policy and Planning team is based in India and works with various other teams (including those who work on WASH, climate change, monitoring and evaluation, and economic policy) across OPM’s 12 country offices, including our largest office, which is based in the United Kingdom.

Our projects

  • We have worked with Community Systems Foundation (CSF) to develop a detailed indicators-based project, logical framework, and didactic online tool to help cities under the Smart Cities Mission in India foster a culture of outcome-oriented planning in India’s urban sector.
  • In Assam, we supported the State Disaster Management Authority and local authorities in four cities to prepare climate-resilient flood management action plans. We also designed a framework for promoting and introducing innovative market mechanisms for climate risk insurance in Guwahati, Assam.
  • In Lucknow and Visakhapatnam, with support from WSUP Advisory, we are conducting in-depth research into developing a behaviour communication change strategy for these cities to become open defecation free. We are also conducting a 'willingness to pay' assessment to understand what sanitation services the urban poor currently use, and their willingness to pay for improved sanitation services.
  • We supported the World Bank to analyse methods of expanding voluntary coverage of the Atal Pension Yojana, and improving urban social protection in Delhi and Shimla. In Odisha, we are supporting the World Bank assess whether the Socio-Economic Caste Census data is complete, accurate, and can be used as an instrument for targeting beneficiaries for social protection schemes.
  • We evaluated DFID’s urban development support over the last three decades in India with a view to identifying lessons to guide on-going and new projects investments.

Our people

Divya Sharma is an urban policy expert with extensive experience on capacity building, policy and city strategy formulation on smart cities, climate and disaster resilience, and pro-poor development. Find Divya on LinkedIn.

Rishika Das Roy is a consultant with experience in urban resilience, climate policy, urban sanitation, behavior change communication, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation. She has a MSc in Environment and International Development from the London School of Economics. Find Rishika on LinkedIn. 

Vinaya Padmanabhan is a consultant with experience and interest in urban social protection, urban poverty issues, and urban governance. She has a Masters in Contemporary India from the University of Oxford and a Master’s in development studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Find Vinaya on LinkedIn.