Oliver Harman

Oliver Harman is a Cities Economist for Cities that Work, an International Growth Centre initiative based at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. The initiative works to develop a network of economists, urban planning practitioners and policymakers to translate economic research into clear urban policy guidance.

In this role and previous Oliver has engaged with local government Ministries and Mayoral teams across Africa, Asia, Latin America & Caribbean and Europe. Specific work includes local government reform in Guyana, urban resilience in Ghana, post-disaster policy in Mozambique and municipal finance in Malawi, Senegal, Somaliland and Uganda as well as inclusive growth in his hometown, Oxford.

He was focal point for IGC’s collaboration with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Global Future Cities’ programme as well as the European Commission’s ‘Enhancing the financial position of cities’ programme.

Oliver has previously written for World Economic Forum, World Bank, UNHabitat, OECD and of course the IGC.

Content by Oliver Harman
  • Blog post

    Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

    Extinction Rebellion disrupted London and brought many transport routes to a standstill on Easter Weekend in 2019. A key demand for the direct action group was for the government to declare a climate emergency. This demand has since been met - by the UK parliament, as well as the Argentinian senate, the French parliament and the Canadian House of Commons. In fact,...

    1 Nov 2019 | Oliver Harman

  • Blog post

    Treedistribution: Combatting environmental inequality in cities

    Inequality is not a recent phenomenon. One root of inequality can be traced back to pre-historic urban civilisations, where grain stores varied in size and the grain-wealthy clustered together in particular locations. But with the increasing importance of inequality across and within countries over time, governments have often first turned their attention to addressing the...

    31 Oct 2019 | Oliver Harman

  • Blog post

    Inclusive growth for cities: Fuzzy, functional or forsaken?

    The challenge: Inequality in cities Inequality is one of the pressing issues of our time. China’s growth has reduced inequality globally, yet within countries, disparities have tended to increase. This increase in inequality has been most present in cities. Urban areas can be the most unequal: the benefits of scale and specialisation often failing to find their way...

    30 Oct 2019 | Oliver Harman, Neil Lee

  • Publication - Case study

    The BRT and the danfo: A case study of Lagos’ transport reforms from 1999-2019

    Over the last 20 years, Lagos has had to make large-scale investments in transport infrastructure to keep up with its growing population. Most notably, in 2008, Lagos opened the first ever Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system on the African continent. Today, the system boasts two different lines which cover over 35.5 km of track and transport over 350,000 commuters on a daily...

    28 Oct 2019 | Biodun Otunola, Sebastian Kriticos, Oliver Harman

  • Blog post

    Should I stay or should I go? Managing populations with urban to rural migration incentives

    Sydney you’ve got to let me know, should they stay or should they go. In 2011, Sydney, the largest city in Australia, asked its residents, should they stay or should they go? Despite regularly rated as one of the world’s top ten liveable cities, the government was offering residents AUD$7,000 (£4,500 or ~one month’s average wage) to move to the country’s rural...

    22 Jul 2019 | Oliver Harman

  • Blog post

    Urban density and the promises of proximity

    As an economist, an end of year tradition is to muse over The Royal Society of Statistics, ‘Statistic of the Year’. In 2018, the singled out stat was: 90.5% - the proportion of plastic waste that has never been recycled. An important statistic, but an area in which the International Growth Centre’s (IGC) ‘Cities that Work’ initiative has limited...

    16 May 2019 | Oliver Harman