Professional Training

Geoffrey Payne, director of GPA, has been training and teaching urban planners from around the world for more than 25 years, running courses in Belgium, Bolivia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sweden, Thailand and the UK.

Geoff’s first course ran in 1976 and was an international training course set up at University College London Development Planning Unit in response to developing countries need for educated urban planners and was designed to offer professional training, directed at mid career professionals in public, private and voluntary sectors. Finding a talent for teaching professionals, Geoff initiated and directed some short courses at Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University), the course gained approval from the British Council and attracted participants from all over the world. Geoff went on to direct similar courses between 1990 and 1995 at the University College London Development Planning Unit. GPA has also contributed to international training courses in Belgium, Kenya and Thailand (for the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), as well as Bolivia and Sweden (for Lund University). GPA has also been an external associate adviser to the British Council on architecture, town planning, urban design and related disciplines since 1997.

Selected Courses


  • Ethiopia – Auditing regulatory frameworks for urban development and housing

Organising and Directing a training workshop for local professionals in central and local government agencies on options for improving existing informal settlements and planning appropriate and affordable new housing projects. The workshop was funded by the United Nations Urban Management Programme.

1995 – 2004:

  • Bolivia – Designing appropriate and affordable settlements

Training assignment for Lund Centre for Human Settlements Sweden (ongoing). Contributing to other training programmes in Sweden and El Salvador.

1998 – 2000:

  • Cuba – Housing project design simulation

Directing design exercise using participatory techniques and partnership approaches (ongoing).

1997 – 1999:

  • Lebanon, Sweden, Turkey and UK

Visiting professor to Beirut Arab University. Also part-time teaching at the universities of Lund (Sweden), Cardiff, York, and the Middle East Technical University, Ankara.

1990 -1995:

  • UK – Development Planning Unit, University College London

Director of MSc course Building and Urban Design in Developing Countries and Director of training courses on housing.

1981 – 1990:

  • UK – Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University)

Senior Lecturer in the Joint Centre for Urban Design. Lecture visits to Brazil, India, Tanzania, Kenya and the USA. Awarded British Council 50th Anniversary Travel Award (1982) to present lectures in Tanzania. Founding Director of the Centre for Development and Environmental Planning (CENDEP).