Dr Cristian Alejandro Silva

MSc Arch (PUC, Chile), PhD in Urban Studies (BSP, UCL, UK)


I received a degree in Architecture in 2001 (Chile), a MSc in Architecture in 2006 (P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile), and a PhD in Urban Studies from the Barttlet School of Planning (BSP), UCL, London, UK (2017). I currently hold a position as Lecturer in Urban Design (Theory and Practice) and as Researcher in Urban Studies and Planning at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland.

I have been in academia from 2001 working as Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Design (ULA, Chile, 2000-2010, UTEM, Chile, 2011-2012), Research Fellow at the Centre for Regional Studies and Local Development, CEDER (Chile, 2008-2009) and Director of the Department of Architecture and Design, ULA, Chile (2006-2009). I have been presenting and publishing part of my activities in Latin America, the US and Europe aimed to academic, professional and non-expert audiences through conference presentations, peer review papers and public reports. From 2003 onwards I have been permanently working as private consultant in Architecture and Planning for the indigenous communities of San Juan de Costa, southern Chile.

Between 2005 and 2010 I developed research on issues of urban informality, social housing and local development. However, from 2012 onwards my research interests have been centred on explorations of contemporary patterns of urban growth and change, urban sprawl and (post)suburbanisation particularly focused on planning policies and the implications of undeveloped areas and open tracts in contemporary transformations of city-regions

Research | Current

  • Urban densification/intensification and Urban Design (The National Science Challenge 11 - Build Better Homes Towns and Cities - Strategic Research Areas (SRA) 4
  • 'Determinants of urban sprawl in Auckland. The case of Pukekohe and the incorporation of peri-urban lands into the metropolitan expansion'. School PBRF 2017 allocation R2. Project number A1714 

Teaching | Current

  • Urban Design Theory and Practice_UrbDes 702
  • Urban Design Studio One_UrbDes 710
  • Urban Design 705

Postgraduate supervision

  • Master supervision UrbPlan 715
  • Master supervision UrbPlan 757


  • 2017, Research grant, PBRF 2017 allocation, Round 2. Project number A1714
  • 2014-2016, The Doctoral School (UCL), The Bartlett School of Planning (UCL). Conference and research fieldwork grants.
  • 2010-2016, Research Grant, The National Committee of Science and Technology (CONICYT), Chile. 
  • 2010, Fulbright Scholarship. Fulbright Foundation, USA
  • 2004, Third Prize, ‘Affordable Social House Design’, Ancud City, Chile. XIV Biennale of Architecture. National Association of Chilean Architects, Chile
  • 2004, Honorable Mention. ‘Design for and ecological house’. XIV Biennale of Architecture, National Association of Chilean Architects, Chile 


  • PhD Provisional Year Review Process

Areas of expertise

  • Urban Studies
  • Spatial Planning 
  • Urban Design


Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • 2016 – Present, Member of the Royal Geographical Society – RGS, UK
  • 2016 – Present, Member of the Green Economy Society – GES, UCL, UK
  • 2016 – Present, Member of the Netherlands Association for Latin American and Caribean Studies, NALACS. Delft, The Netherlands
  • 2015 – Present, Member of the Regional Studies Association – RSA, UK
  • 2015 – Present, Member of the Latin American Studies Association – LASA
  • 2013 – Present, Member of the UCL Americas Research Network, UK
  • 2009 – Present, Member of the Chilean Society of Geographical Sciences, Chile     
  • 2011-2012,  Staff member at the Department of Architecture and Territorial Planning, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (UTEM), Chile
  • 2009-2011, Teaching Fellow, Master in Environmental Management (PROGOA), Engineering College, University of Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • 2008-2010, Research associate at the Centre of Regional Studies and local Development (CEDER), Universidad de los Lagos (ULA), Chile
  • 2006-2009, Director of the Department of Architecture and Design, (ULA), Chile 
  • 2000-2010, Staff member, Department of Architecture and Design, (ULA), Chile 
  • 2006-2009, Staff member of the Editorial Committee at 'Architecture and Design Journal-AD, (ULA), Chile


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Silva, C. (2018). The interstitial landscape of urban sprawl: Elements and determinants of the unbuilt suburban geography of Santiago de Chile. In N. Gerathy, A. Massida (Eds.) Creative spaces: Urban culture and marginality in Latin America (pp. 36-54). London, UK: Institute of Latin American Studies. Related URL.
  • Silva, C. (2017). The interstitial spaces of urban sprawl: Understanding the components of the unbuilt suburban geography of Santiago de Chile. Lo Squaderno (46), 7-12.
  • Silva, C. (2017). The infrastructural lands of urban sprawl: planning potentials and political perils. Town Planning Review, 88 (2), 233-256. 10.3828/tpr.2017.14
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33968
  • Silva, C. (2017). The interstitial spaces of urban sprawl: The planning problems and prospects - The case of Santiago de Chile University College London. University College London. Related URL.
  • Phelps, N., & Silva, C. (2017). Mind the gaps! A research agenda for urban interstices. Urban Studies10.1177/0042098017732714
  • Silva, C. (2017). Auckland’s urban sprawl, planning frameworks and peri-urbanisation to Pukekohe. Paper presented at State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC), 2017, Adelaide, Australia. 28 November - 30 November 2017. State of Australian Cities National Conference 2017: Conference Abstracts. Related URL.
  • Silva, C. A. (2015). Urban sprawl and infrastructural lands: Revamping internal spaces in Santiago de Chile. Geoforum, 67, 36-40. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.10.004
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33410
  • Silva, C. (2015). Urban sprawl and interstitial spaces: A conceptual definition for undeveloped areas and their morphological implications in planning. Proceedings of the International Conference on Changing Cities II Spatial, Design, Landscape& Socio‐economic Dimensions, 517-527. Thessaloniki, Greece: Grafima Publications.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33838

Contact details

Primary office location

New Zealand