Michal Lyons, Academic Extraordinaire (b. Nov 1950 Israel; d. Mar 2013 London, England)


Michal Lyons was a professor of urban studies at London South Bank University (LSBU). Trained as an architect, her major specialisation was urban studies in the developing world, mostly focused on Africa. Microfinance, housing, health, street traders, legal pluralism, post-natural disaster reconstruction etc. were the areas that took her interest. Her body of work demonstrates that she was a serious scholar with high international significance and an enviable reputation. And central to her scholarly work was the plight of the “little guy” i.e. the needy and the dispossessed.

In the last years of her life, Michal was engaged in seriously advocating her research students to help them avoid being mere armchair or Ivory Tower scholars and become full-time activists because “there are innumerable people out there who are helpless and require the benefits of the judicious applications of your skills” to help them with their lives and livelihoods. To those who knew her much earlier, real-world impacts were always the focus of her research. Michal’s vocation saw her work published in major journals relevant to her research and also necessitated her to visit many areas of Africa conducting fieldwork and seeing for herself the realities of the social problems she was committed to understanding and solving. Michal was also highly successful in winning major research grants from bodies such as DFID, ESRC, the British Academy etc. Continue reading

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