Brock Hicks

Urban Planning  •  Research  •  Climate Resilience

I am an urban planner and researcher working at the intersection of climate, migration, and urbanization. I have 15 years of experience in East Africa, Latin America, and the US. I excel at managing complex research projects and development programs, building strategic partnerships and connecting the dots from the big picture to the details. 

Three common threads tie my interests together: (1) rapid urbanization, displacement, migration, and inclusive climate action; (2) cities as frontline actors confronting spatial inequalities and climate change; and (3) the opportunity for cities to serve as centers for collaboration and innovation in governance and the co-production of knowledge and policy by local governments, civil society & academia, and grassroots social movements. 

Expertise at a glance

urban resilience • locally-led adaptation • informal settlements • integrated & interdisciplinary planning • housing, community development & land use • local & multilevel governance • institutional & grassroots capacity building • urban social movements • urban migration

East Africa • USA • Central America • Caribbean • Southern Cone

program management • partnership building • project development • field research • qualitative & participatory methods • GIS, data science & analytics • multi-stakeholder dialogues • knowledge product development • workshop design & facilitation • event organization • strategic communications • writing • storytelling

Interests & Expertise


Urban climate justice

Place-based social movements; urban governance and grassroots partnerships; co-produced responses

Urban adaptation and resilience

Locally-led action; informal settlement upgrading of infrastructure and basic services; urban design and placemaking; green infrastructure and nature-based solutions; urban forestry

Urban mitigation

Land use; buildings and transport; integrated mitigation–adaptation responses

Urban migration

Rapid urbanization; rural–urban links; climate displacement; protracted displacement in cities

Urban planning

Inclusive, integrated planning and policy; community development, housing, transit and land use; GIS and spatial planning

Climate finance

For urban adaptation and devolved planning & investment

Multilevel governance

Linking local climate action to broader national and regional processes


Cross-sector collaboration 

Research, relationships and impact. Multi-stakeholder facilitation between grassroots organizations, local governments, civil society and academia for: co-design and co-research; co-production of knowledge, plans, policies and budgets; co-implementation; stakeholder mapping

Applied and academic research

Community-based participatory action; qualitative methods & ethnography; analytics, scenario modeling, data science and GIS; participatory MEL and outcomes mapping

Cross-disciplinary research

Comparative research; learning exchanges and capacity development

Management and communications

Managing projects, programs and partnerships and dissemination of research and programs 


Developing proposals, work plans and budgets for tenders, grants and research partnerships


Technical, analytical and lay writing; knowledge material production, information design and storytelling, in various styles and for multiple audiences (academic articles, research summaries, case studies, best practices synthesis, blogs, instructional documentation, educational materials, video scripts, journalism)

Creative methods

Narrative and cultural strategy for inclusive advocacy, planning and policy. Understanding your audience from the start, not as an afterthought, and speaking directly to them. Poetry, stories, films and multimedia projects to bring research and policy to life. 

Capacity building

Facilitation, grassroots capacity building, learning exchanges and peer-sharing workshops 

User research and usability testing 

For infrastructure and services design as well as educational and capacity-building materials

See my CV for more