Julia Bird

Julia Bird is a Senior Economist at Vivid Economics, working on cities and development. Prior to joining Vivid Economics, she previously worked for the University of Oxford as a researcher focused on urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa. She has worked with the IGC on a number of areas, particularly in Uganda, where she has published work on land tenure and urban growth, advised on firm clustering and the impacts of infrastructure investment, and is currently concluding a study on urban commuting.

Her research and policy interests include using geospatial data to understand the spatial patterns of urban growth, particularly in developing countries. Her recent work has included assessing the impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative on the geography of economic development in Central Asia, estimating the welfare effects of land tenure patterns in Kampala, and studying the location choices of households living in informal settlements in Nairobi.

Julia has a PhD in Economics from Toulouse School of Economics (France), and a BA in Economics from Cambridge University.

Content by Julia Bird
  • Blog post

    Impact of COVID-19 on public transport

    Public transport has been hit hard by COVID-19. With ridership significantly down, operators in developing cities will have to face difficult questions for their future viability. The appropriate response must plan for contingencies, but never forget the value of shared transit in the process of economic development. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities across...

    6 Aug 2020 | Julia Bird, Sebastian Kriticos, Nick Tsivanidis

  • Project

    Cost effective panel data collection

    Context and primary motivation for the study The urban literature on developing country cities is still growing. One of the major constraints, however, is access to good quality data. Existing data sources are often costly or difficult to get, frequently do not measure prices, are not individual specific, do not allow for tracking of individuals, and are available...

    24 Jan 2018 | Julia Bird, Gharad Bryan, Simon Franklin, Astrid Haas

  • Project

    African cities background: Kampala – a policy narrative

    This policy narrative examines the urban development of Kampala from its pre-colonial past to the present day. It covers both the spatial development of the city as well as its economic development. Special emphasis is given to the historical development of the city’s structure of governance, land and housing markets, and transportation networks. The analysis uses a wide...

    9 Oct 2017 | Patricia Jones, Julia Bird, Charles Beck, Astrid Haas

  • Project

    Transport in a congested city: A computable general equilibrium model applied to Kampala City

    This research develops and applies a quantitative model of internal city structure to analyse the impacts of transport improvement in Kampala, Uganda. Using a Spatial Computable General Equilibrium Model, the researchers develop a simulated version of a city in which firms and households choose their location decisions according to the cost of commuting and transporting...

    9 Oct 2017 | Louise Bernard, Julia Bird, Tony Venables

  • Project

    Cost effective panel data collection for Kampala

    This Kampala based study will pilot methods for collecting low-cost, high-frequency panel survey data that improves on existing data sources in three ways. The data will provide information about prices (consumer prices, wages, and rents) at the individual and location level; The data will allow for the creation of commuting flows at the individual (or group)...

    9 Oct 2017 | Gharad Bryan, Simon Franklin, Julia Bird, Astrid Haas

  • Blog post

    World Habitat Day 2017

    To mark 2017’s World Habitat Day, the theme of which is Housing Policies: Affordable Homes, we asked researchers working on housing to provide their thoughts on the future of urban housing policy: Could you give an example of an interesting policy that could help to tackle some of the housing challenges faced in developing cities? Simon Franklin: large scale low cost...

    2 Oct 2017 | Simon Franklin, Paul Collier, Julia Bird, Michael Blake, Nina Harari, Mila Friere, Priya Manwaring

  • Blog post

    Uber is arriving now: Driving urban mobility in Africa

    The Uber revolution has arrived. The ride-share app launched services in South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and more recently in Uganda and Ghana. One of the biggest potential benefits of Uber in African cities could be to provide urban planners and authorities grappling with how to manage rapid urbanisation with access to data. The app collects substantial data on...

    16 Aug 2016 | Astrid Haas, Julia Bird

  • Blog post

    Urban experimentation: How housing, transport, and infrastructure projects are revolutionising Addis Ababa

    With increasing migration into African cities, the planning and design of emerging cities becomes increasingly important. Greater efforts to provide affordable housing, better transport links, and investments in infrastructure around Addis Ababa have shown tremendous promise in helping shaping the city into a more productive, inclusive, and liveable space for the new...

    8 Oct 2015 | Julia Bird, Simon Franklin