Dr Cristian Alejandro Silva

MSc Arch (PUC, Chile), PhD in Urban Studies (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 in 2017 (the Barttlet School of Planning, UCL, UK). I currently hold the position of Lecturer in Urban Design (Theory and Practice) and 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, Urban Design and Planning in Chile and the UK. I worked as research fellow at the Centre for Regional Studies and Local Development, CEDER (Chile, 2008-2009) and hold the position of Director of the Department of Architecture and Design, ULA, Chile (2006-2009). I have been presenting and publishing my activities in Latin America, the US, Europe and Australia, and I have published my research findings in academic journals and public reports (Spanish and English). Since 2003, I have been permanently working as private consultant in Architecture and Planning for the indigenous communities of San Juan de Costa, Chile.

Between 2005 and 2010 I developed research on issues of urban informality, social housing and local development. However, since 2012 my research interests have been centred on the explorations of contemporary patterns of urban growth and change, urban sprawl and (post)suburbanisation, particularly focused on the implications of 'Interstitial Spaces' on contemporary transformations of metropolitan areas and city-regions. The paper that describes the outcomes of my research was awarded as the Urban Studies Best Article 2018 (Mind the gaps! A research agenda for urban interstices) by the UrbanStudies Foundation, 2019: https://journals.sagepub.com/page/usj/collections/awards 

Research | Current

  • 2019-2021: Urban design innovation, high density and planning policy for retrofitting the peri-urban space of city-regions. Evidence from Copenhagen, Denmark. CAI FRDF General. Project ID: 3719329
  • 2017-2019: 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 ID: A1714

Teaching | Current

  • Urban Design (Theory and Practice. URBDES 702)
  • Urban Design (Studio One. URBDES 710) 
  • Urban Design (Elective on Density and Urban Morphology. URBDES 705)

Postgraduate supervision

  • Master supervision UrbPlan 715
  • Master supervision UrbPlan 757
  • Master of Architecture (Prof): 
  1. Social housing developments for Pacific Communities: The challenge of large-extended families and shared spaces in Auckland, New Zealand (Saphron Manuo). Main supervisor
  2. Creating Marine Oriented culture and Identity: Amalgamating landscape, urban and architectural design in a waterfront context (Fynbar Heron). Main supervisor 
  • PhD supervisions:
  1. Implications of transport infrastructure in the inner integration of peri-urban landscapes. The case of Wuhan, China (Jiangdi Tan. PhD in Urban Planning). Main supervisor
  2. The spatial attributes of open spaces in neighbourhood satisfaction. Evidence from Auckland, New Zealand.(Salma Amirshekari Razno. Student. PhD in Urban Design).Co-supervisor
  3. Urban Morphology and Urban Intensification: Towards a Compact Urban Form (Xindong An. PhD in Urban Planning). Co-supervisor

NOTE: I am interested in receiving PhD application on any aspect of suburban planning, politics and urban design with international focus, and more specifically in the following subjects: a) Suburban growth and/or decline and their planning/urban design implications, b) Emerging models of suburban regeneration and retroffit, c) Suburban infrastructure and peri-urbanisation, d) International perspectives on (post)suburbanisation, peri-urbanisation and trabnsformations of fringe/belt areas of city-regions, e) Interstitial spaces and (post)suburban politics, planning and urban design.  


  • 2019: Urban Studies Best Article 2018. Urban Studies Journal Ltd. SAGE Publications.
  • 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
  • School Research Seminars

Areas of expertise

  • Urban Studies
  • Spatial Planning
  • Urban Design
  • Architectural 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. (2019). Auckland’s Urban Sprawl, Policy Ambiguities and the Peri-Urbanisation to Pukekohe. Urban Science, 3 (1), 1-20. 10.3390/urbansci3010001
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45643
  • Silva, C. (2019). The interstitial spaces of urban sprawl: unpacking the marginal suburban geography of Santiago de Chile. In N. Gerathy, A. Massida (Eds.) Creative spaces: Urban culture and marginality in Latin America (pp. 55-84). London, UK: Institute of Latin American Studies. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/38777
  • 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). Auckland’s urban sprawl, planning frameworks and peri-urbanisation to Pukekohe. Paper presented at State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC), 2017, Adelaide, Australia. 28 November - 30 November 2017. State of Australian Cities National Conference 2017: 100 Years 1917-2017: Conference Abstracts.
  • 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
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/41969
  • 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

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 5, Room 532
New Zealand