David trained and worked in architecture before taking a Masters degree in Development Practice at Oxford Brookes University in 1991. Since then he has undertaken project management, training, research and consultancies in development and emergencies in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean.
Between 1992-94 David was a Research Associate at Oxford Brookes University's Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP). From 1994-98 he worked as Project Manager at the Oxford Centre for Disaster Studies. Between 1998-2006 David worked for the NGO CARE International UK, firstly as Senior Technical and Policy Advisor and Head of the Policy Unit (1998-02), and subsequently for four years as Regional Manager for Southern and West Africa, based in CARE’s Regional Management Unit in South Africa.
In 2006 David returned to Brookes to become CENDEP's Director. He completed his PhD by published works in 2009, which brought together research and practice undertaken between 1995-2008 in urban risk reduction and livelihoods. He was conferred Professor in 2010. David is a Visiting Professor at Université Paris-Est Créteil, France and teaches regularly at Escuela de Organización Industrial (EOI), Madrid, Spain and Universita della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
David's professional experience lies in urban poverty, urban resilience, disaster risk reduction and livelihoods. He has undertaken work for the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID), Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), European Commission (DiPECHO, EC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Qatar Foundation, World Bank (EDI Section), United Nations (UNDP/UNDESA), Action by Churches Together (ACT), British Council, Christian Aid, Tear Fund, CARE Bangladesh and the Mott Foundation. He also sits on several NGO committees and is an external examiner at Coventry University.
- Affiliate Faculty member of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), since 2013
- Member, Humanitarian Innovation Project Advisory Board, Oxford University since 2012
- Expert Group member, UN-Habitat i-House 2011
- Co-Editor, PLoS: Disasters Journal since 2011
- Grants panel member, Humanitarian Initiatives Fund (HIF) since 2011
- Expert peer group member, RIBA Knowledge Community for Disaster Relief since 2010
- Programme Advisory Group member, Tearfund since 2010
- Advisory board member, Article 25 since 2008
- Programme Committee member, CARE International UK since 2006.