Rachel Davel, MDev

Rachel Davel, MDev

Research Assistant


Rachel Davel works as a research assistant with the Sustainability Research Effectiveness Program. She holds a Master in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Rachel completed her undergraduate studies in Geography (concentration in Urban and Development Studies) at the University of Victoria, Canada.

In her Master’s thesis, Rachel examined the emergent socio-ecological inequalities related to informal urban agriculture in Harare, Zimbabwe. Her findings uncovered that these inequalities both produced and were reproduced by the informality of urban agriculture. Her thesis put forth an argument of how such practices could be transformed from a social and environmental problem into a socio-ecological solution. The thesis called for policy development, integrated planning, and regulation enforcement to realize urban food security, livelihoods and economic development, as well as urban sustainability. With an interdisciplinary background, Rachel’s research interests include urban food systems; sustainable urban development and planning; slum redevelopment; the Right to the City; governance, citizenship, and participation; and more recently in research evaluation.

Born to Zimbabwean parents in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rachel is passionate about travel, cooking, and cultural experiences. To make up for lost time during COVID-19, her travels in 2022 took her to Turkey, Kurdistan, Malaysia, South Africa, and Botswana. She also enjoys learning new languages (especially their grammar systems).