Geoffrey Payne, director of GPA, began his research on housing policy and practice as a Commonwealth Universities Research Scholar in India in 1970. The project involved a detailed study of two squatter settlements in New Delhi and comparisons with similar settlements in other major Indian cities. This in turn, led to an even larger research project on housing and urban growth in Ankara, Turkey funded by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in collaboration with Hacattepe University in Ankara. Since then GPA has been involved in research, consultancy, teaching and professional training in housing policy, application and practice all over the world.
In 1987 Geoffrey Payne led an international team of consultants to undertake a national Training Needs Assessment for the shelter sector in India, over the last two decades GPA has undertaken shelter sector policy reviews in Armenia, Guyana, Iraq, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Sierra Leone. GPA has also been involved with more direct projects in urban housing project design, working with governments to design new settlement areas or upgrade existing ones in Cuba, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.