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Ashok Das

Ashok Das

Ashok2Ashok Das

Assistant Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning (DURP)

Affiliate Faculty, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS); Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS)

Ashok CV (pdf)


Office: Saunders 111

Phone: (808)956-4265

Ashok Das teaches the core MURP course, Public Policy and Planning Theory (PLAN 601), Urban & Regional Planning in Asia (PLAN 630), Research Design Seminar (PLAN 650), and Globalization & Urban Policy (PLAN 633). Before coming to DURP he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the San Francisco State University. Previously, he also worked as an architect in India, and as an architecture/planning consultant in the US.


Ph.D., Urban Planning, University of California at Los Angeles (2008); M.Arch. and M.A. in Environmental Planning & Management, Kansas State University (2001); B.Arch., School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi (1996)

PLAN 600 Planning Theory and Public Policy; PLAN 630 Urban & Regional Planning in Asia; PLAN 633 Globalization and Urban Policy; PLAN 650 Research Design Seminar; PLAN 610 Community Planning and Social Policy (guest instructor Fall 2011)

Research Interests:
Ashok’s research interests revolve broadly around issues of urban poverty in developing countries, primarily in South and Southeast Asia. Community participation and empowerment, slum upgrading and low-income housing, decentralization and local governance, and the role of civil society in development are certain key interests. His doctoral work at UCLA explored the nature, measurement, and comparison of empowerment arising from participation by poor households in post-decentralization slum upgrading programs in India and Indonesia. He finds intriguing how institutional arrangements and socio-cultural idiosyncrasies affect empowerment in different contexts, and how that might be explained empirically.  Ashok’s recent research has explored community-managed, integrated microfinance for urban poverty alleviation; and local government-led, community-based efforts towards disaster preparedness and risk reduction. With other colleagues, he has looked at the impacts of inclusionary housing policies on local/regional housing markets in the United States, especially California. Globalization’s impact on urban form, and historic preservation in emerging economies are some other research interests.

Personal Interests:
Intermittently, Ashok dabbles as an artist. He was the chief cartoonist (1996-98) for India’s leading architecture magazine, Architecture+Design; produced clip art for computers (1997-98) for an early outsourcing ventures; illustrated a manual to guide remote rural communities in India to build schools through self-help (1998); and a practitioner’s guide to evidence-based design (EBD) for American healthcare design professionals (2008). Gastronomy is another obsession. As a gourmand, he especially covets what most consider “exotic” or “bizarre” edibles. Experiencing street foods and traditional markets (a threatened urban treasure) rank atop his to-do list, especially in a new city. A major hike or high-altitude trek features on his annual calendar; past ones include the Teton Crest Trail (WY); Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); West Coast Trail (Vancouver Island, BC), Jonas Pass-Brazeau Lake Loop (Jasper National Park, Canada); Inca Trail (Machu Picchu, Peru); Mt. Shasta and Half Dome (CA); South Kaibab & Bright Angel trails (Grand Canyon, AZ); Mt. Evans (Arapaho National Forest, CO); and Chhobia Pass, Kunzum Pass, Kunwari Pass, Roopkund, and Chandra Taal in the Indian Himalayas. An avid sportsman, he loves squash, badminton, soccer, and all variants of cueing on the green baize.

Advise students in the departments of Urban and Regional Planning, Architecture, etc., on research, academic planning, as well as those seeking volunteering and internship opportunities in the field of urban planning/development in developing countries.


Dahiya, Bharat and Ashok Das (editors). (Forthcoming in 2017). The new urban agenda in the Asia-Pacific: governance for sustainable and inclusive cities. Singapore: Springer.

Das, Ashok. 2017. A city of two tales: shelter and migrants in Surabaya. Environment and Urbanization ASIA 8(1): 1-21. DOI: 10.1177/0975425316686501.

Das, Ashok and Asrizal Luthfi. 2017. “Disaster risk reduction in post-decentralization Indonesia: institutional arrangements and changes” (Chapter 3). In Disaster risk reduction in Indonesia: progress and challenges in managing risks, reducing vulnerability, and building resilience, edited by Riyanti Djalante, Frank Thomalla, Matthias Garschagen, and Rajib Shaw. Springer Academic Publishing AG. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-54466-3

Das, Ashok. 2016. Is innovative also effective? A critique of pro-poor shelter in Southeast Asia. International Journal of Housing Policy. DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2016.1248606

Das, Ashok. 2015. “Autonomous but constrained: CBOs and urban upgrading in Indonesia.” Cities 48: 8–20. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2015.05.009.

Das, Ashok. 2015. Slum upgrading with community-managed microfinance: towards progressive planning in Indonesia. Habitat International 47: 256-266. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2015.01.004

Das, Ashok. 2015. Participatory slum upgrading: lessons from post-decentralization India and Indonesia. Journal of Indonesian Regional Development and Environment 1(1): 15-34.

Mukhija, Vinit, Ashok Das, Lara Regus, and Sara Slovin Tsay. 2015. The rise and spread of inclusionary housing: what do we know and what do we need to know? Planning Practice and Research 30(2): 222-235. DOI: 10.1080/02697459.2015.1008793

Mukhija, Vinit, Lara Regus, Sara Slovin, and Ashok Das. 2010. Can inclusionary zoning be an effective and efficient housing policy? evidence from Los Angeles and Orange counties. Journal of Urban Affairs 32(2): 229-252. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9906.2010.00495.x

Das, Ashok, and Lois M. Takahashi. 2009. Evolving institutional arrangements, scaling-up, and sustainability: insights into emerging issues in participatory slum upgrading in Ahmedabad, India. Journal of Planning Education and Research 29(2): 213-232. DOI: 10.1177/0739456X09348613

Anheier, Helmut K., and Stefan Toepler, eds. 2009. International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. New York: Springer. s.v. “Shack/Slum Dwellers International” by Ashok Das.

Das, Ashok. 2009. “The contribution of participation to slum upgrading: comparing Indian and Indonesian cases.” In Sustainable slum upgrading in urban area: CIB Report Publication, edited by Happy Santosa, Winny Astuti, and Dyah Widi Astuti, pp. I 27-50. Surakarta, Indonesia: Unit of Research and Empowerment of Housing and Human Settlements, Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS).

Das, Ashok. 2007. Review of Removing unfreedoms: citizens as agents of change in urban development, edited by Jane Samuels. Rugby, Warwickshire, UK: ITDG Publishing. 2005. Critical Planning 14: 201-207.

Das, Ashok. 2006. Planning the Slum Upgrading Facility pilot program in Indonesia. Housing Notes 25(1): 3-4.

Das, Ashok, and Priyam Das. 2005. “Institutional change for environmental challenges: lessons from gaps in the GAP.” In Environment: Problems and Policies, Vol. 2, edited by K. R. Gupta, pp. 1-36. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers.

Das, Ashok. 2005. Transforming community planning through technology: a conversation with the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. Critical Planning 12: 27-35.

Das, Ashok. 2002. Bureaucracy and housing for the poor in India,” Critical Planning 9: 129-139.

Das, Ashok. 2001. “The Jaunapur slum resettlement project: Planning for an environmentally sustainable human settlement.” In Ronald Shaffer and William Ryan (Eds), The Small City and Regional Community: Proceedings of the 2000 Conference (pp. 467-478). Stevens Point, WI: Foundation Press, University of Wisconsin Extension.


PLAN PLAN 600 (Fall 2014) : Public Policy and Planning Theory – Download

PLAN PLAN 650 (Fall 2014) : Research Design – Download

PLAN PLAN 600 (Spring 2014) : Public Policy and Planning Theory – Download

PLAN PLAN 630 (Spring 2014) : Urban and Regional Planning in Asia – Download

PLAN PLAN 600 (Fall 2013) : Public Policy and Planning – Download

PLAN PLAN 633 (Fall 2013) : Globalization and Urban Policy – Download

PLAN 600 (Spring 2013) : Planning Theory and Public Policy – Download

PLAN 630 (Spring 2013) : Urban & Regional Planning in Asia – Download

PLAN 633 (Fall 2012) : Globalization and Urban Policy – Download

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