Photography by:
  • Gareth Pon

Events

Upcoming Events

22

Jan 2018
Mon @ 08:00

Social cohesion and violence prevention symposium

South Africa is a place of many contradictions, conflicts, and tensions, including but not limited to racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Since the 2000s, the term “social cohesion” has been used as something of a catchall ideal, to which these are all an affront. As common as the term is, it does not rest on a clear analysis of why social tensions exist, or what is to be done about those that do. So far, social cohesion has proved both elusive and resistant to official encouragement.

The GCRO and ACMS, in partnership, are undertaking a programme of research into the empirics of violence prevention, based on previous work on social cohesion. As part of the preparation for this programme a ‘State of Knowledge Symposium’ will bring together academics and practitioners working on problems of social tension, and particularly those that manifest as violence, in an academic setting. The interest of this workshop is to interrogate the kinds of interventions that are being deployed to address this field of social problems, with a particular focus on anti-violence work.
Some initial questions include:
  • To what extent do those who run various interventions articulate a theory of change, which conceptualises how their intervention will ‘work’ to achieve the goals they have in mind?
  • What goals do those running interventions hope to achieve?
  • What do they think are the specific causes of violence and related problems?
  • Why were specific methodologies and approaches chosen for particular interventions (over alternative methodologies)?
  • How has the thinking of implementing agents shifted over time in relation to a particular approach they are pursuing?
  • To what extent have studies done to establish the impact of particular interventions (e.g. M&E)?
  • What are the major opportunities that various actors, including government, should be exploiting to reduce violence and the potential for violence?
We call for a working title or abstracts on the following (non-exhaustive) list of topics:
  • Xenophobia and anti-xenophobia
  • Racism, non-racialism, multiracialism, and anti-racism
  • Sexism, gender-based violence, and interventions against them
  • Other forms of prejudice and their prevention
  • Collective violence
  • Cyclical trauma
We are also interested in hearing from practitioners and organisations working in the fields of social cohesion and violence prevention.
The immediate focus is on Gauteng, but we welcome relevant and interesting submissions from elsewhere in South Africa or even other countries.
Please submit working title by 31 December 2017 to Jesse.Harber@gcro.ac.za.
You can RSVP via Google forms here
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Add to Calendar 22/01/2018 08:00 AM Africa/Johannesburg Social cohesion and violence prevention symposium

South Africa is a place of many contradictions, conflicts, and tensions, including but not limited to racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Since the 2000s, the term “social cohesion” has been used as something of a catchall ideal, to which these are all an affront. As common as the term is, it does not rest on a clear analysis of why social tensions exist, or what is to be done about those that do. So far, social cohesion has proved both elusive and resistant to official encouragement.

The GCRO and ACMS, in partnership, are undertaking a programme of research into the empirics of violence prevention, based on previous work on social cohesion. As part of the preparation for this programme a ‘State of Knowledge Symposium’ will bring together academics and practitioners working on problems of social tension, and particularly those that manifest as violence, in an academic setting. The interest of this workshop is to interrogate the kinds of interventions that are being deployed to address this field of social problems, with a particular focus on anti-violence work.
Some initial questions include:
  • To what extent do those who run various interventions articulate a theory of change, which conceptualises how their intervention will ‘work’ to achieve the goals they have in mind?
  • What goals do those running interventions hope to achieve?
  • What do they think are the specific causes of violence and related problems?
  • Why were specific methodologies and approaches chosen for particular interventions (over alternative methodologies)?
  • How has the thinking of implementing agents shifted over time in relation to a particular approach they are pursuing?
  • To what extent have studies done to establish the impact of particular interventions (e.g. M&E)?
  • What are the major opportunities that various actors, including government, should be exploiting to reduce violence and the potential for violence?
We call for a working title or abstracts on the following (non-exhaustive) list of topics:
  • Xenophobia and anti-xenophobia
  • Racism, non-racialism, multiracialism, and anti-racism
  • Sexism, gender-based violence, and interventions against them
  • Other forms of prejudice and their prevention
  • Collective violence
  • Cyclical trauma
We are also interested in hearing from practitioners and organisations working in the fields of social cohesion and violence prevention.
The immediate focus is on Gauteng, but we welcome relevant and interesting submissions from elsewhere in South Africa or even other countries.
Please submit working title by 31 December 2017 to Jesse.Harber@gcro.ac.za.
You can RSVP via Google forms here
MM/DD/YYYY

Past Events

19

Oct 2017

CTIN - What data do we want? Understanding demands for open data in South Africa

What data do we want? Understanding demands for open data

by Civic Tech Innovation Network

Speakers include:

Rachel Manxeba (Municipal Barometer, SALGA)

Adi Eyal (Open Up)

Kirsten Pearson (Online Budget Data Portal, Treasury)

Ithumaleng Mongale (DPSA)

Zodwa Keto (COGTA)

8:30 AM – 12:00 PM

LOCATION

Tshimologong Precinct, 41 Juta Street, Johannesburg

Please join us for a workshop on open data demand to mark the launch of our new research:

“What data do we want?

Understanding demands for open data amongst civil society organisations in South Africa”

Join researchers and practitioners from the open data community – both public and industry – for an insightful and practical workshop on improving the access and use of open data, as well as testing demand.

Open data is frequently cited as a necessary component for increased government accountability and openness. If that’s the case, what kind of open data is needed? There are many open data portals and projects in South Africa. But very little research on how they are used or on what open data civil society organisations actually want or need.

The Centre for Municipal Research and Advice (CMRA) conducted a study of open data demand by interviewing groups of national CSOs and local community-based organisations and exploring with them when, how and why they accessed government information or might need to use government data in their work. The research was conducted with the support of the Network Society Research programme at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

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05

Sep 2017

Faces of the City: A right to the city perspective on spatial justice and housing South Africa’s urban poor

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: A right to the city perspective on spatial justice and housing South Africa’s urban poor

Dr Margot Strauss

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

Spatial injustice holds profound implications for the democratic transformation of South African society, the planning and development of inclusive towns and cities, and the realisation of the constitutionally enshrined housing rights of vulnerable and marginalised urban inhabitants. Patterns of spatial segregation in urban areas remain a persistent legacy of our apartheid past and current approaches to interpreting and realising housing rights largely fail to adequately address complex housing needs. This seminar highlights the value of Henri Lefebvre’s right to the city, as a normative paradigm, for developing the substantive content of the housing rights of South Africa’s urban poor. Drawing on history, social theory, constitutional and international human rights law, this seminar investigates the potential of the right to the city paradigm to advance housing rights and promote spatial and social transformation in South Africa.

Bio

Margot Strauss is a senior research associate at the Socio-Economic Rights and Administrative Justice (SERAJ) Research Project at Stellenbosch University. In 2017, Margot completed her doctoral dissertation entitled A right to the city for South Africa’s urban poor under Professor Sandra Liebenberg’s supervision, who holds the H.F. Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights. Her researchfocuses on constitutional law, housing rights, planning law, social and spatial justice in urban areas. She obtained her LLB degree from Stellenbosch University and joined the Overarching Strategic Project on Combating Poverty, Homelessness and Socio-Economic Vulnerability under the Constitution in 2011.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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29

Aug 2017

Faces of the City: Synecdochic governance of the north-eastern Gauteng city-region periphery

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Synecdochic governance of the north-eastern Gauteng city-region periphery

Dr Ngaka Mosiane

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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22

Aug 2017

Faces of the City: The primacy of party politics in governing the GCR: Sedibeng's pending re-demarcation, amalgamation and metropolitanisation

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: The primacy of party politics in governing the GCR: Sedibeng's pending re-demarcation, amalgamation and metropolitanisation

Thembani Mkhize

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

In 2011, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) published a proposal detailing 157 cases of changes to be made to certain municipalities after the 2016 local elections, three of which were in Gauteng. One of the Gauteng cases was the proposed merger of ANC-run Emfuleni and DA-controlled Midvaal into a single Category A municipality, as part of the ANC’s plan to create wall-to-wall metros in Gauteng. The proposed merger would result in the dissolution of Sedibeng District Municipality as well as incorporation of Lesedi within Ekurhuleni. While the Gauteng Provincial Government and ANC Gauteng hailed the move for its potential to enhance development and service delivery in the hypothetical new metro, the DA fiercely resisted it on the grounds that it was driven by political agendas. So fierce was the DA’s opposition that the merger had to be set aside until after the 2016 local elections. Following the 2016 local elections, the political terrain in the GCR has changed considerably, with the DA having gained control of three more Gauteng municipalities, albeit via coalition with smaller parties. While the political landscape is unchanged in Sedibeng, the jury is still out on whether the merger will go ahead. This paper uses the case of Sedibeng to discuss the impetus and preeminence of ‘party politics’ and/or (both horizontal and vertical) political competition for government and governance in the GCR.

Bio

Thembani Mkhize is a junior researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), Mkhize has wide research interests which include urban regeneration, sub-local governance, city branding and large-scale city politics as well as the role of youth sub-cultures in shaping urban governance/politics.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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15

Aug 2017

Faces of the City: Routes and rites to the city: Mobility, diversity and urban space in Johannesburg

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Routes and rites to the city: Mobility, diversity and urban space in Johannesburg

Dr Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon, Dr Lorena Núñez & Bettina Malcomess

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

This seminar draws on the recent publication Routes & Rites to the City (ed. M. Wilhelm-Solomon, L. Núñez, P.B. Kankonde, B Malcomess, Palgrave 2016) along with the associated visual supplement curated by Bettina Malcomess. It argues for a re-reading of urbanism and diversity in Johannesburg through the lenses of religion and mobility. It explores the diversity of processes through which religion produces the post-apartheid city relating to social identities, spatialities, belonging, and the mobility of people, commodities, and aesthetic forms. Here, we theorise 'super-diversity' not only in terms of the horizontal diversity of groups of different ethnic, racial and religious composition but also in terms of both spatial and temporal diversity and the ways these layer the urban fabric. We argue that, beyond the binarism of the sacred and profane, religious forms and rites constitute contintual flows and movements, demarcations and inscriptions, territorialisations and de-territorialisations. This presentation will engage with the diversity of case studies explored in the published work dealing with a wide variety of sites and religions in Johannesburg.

Bio

Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Lorena Núñez is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand. Bettina Malcomess is Lecturer in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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08

Aug 2017

Faces of the City: Creative economy and the global South: an opportunity for growing or a tool reinforcing segregation?

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Creative economy and the global South: an opportunity for growing or a tool reinforcing segregation?

Laura Burocco

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

Although the term creative economies was initially popularised in countries such as the UK and the US, it has since gained currency in some middle income countries. Often linked to urban regeneration projects "creative hubs" arise in the city, where local (and international) elites define urban enclaves, which work as city-state and concentrate power and elite interests. On sale is not simply a working or residential space, but a lifestyle which has no dialogue with the reality of the original lived spaces. Indeed these real estate products claims to correct the incivility of the city within which they are imbedded in order to link to the modern world (and its markets). The presentation will show my PhD project, and illustrate some of the findings of the study. This research interrogates who these new economic subjects are, the sustainability and interests of these new economies and who the real beneficiaries are. It analyses the phenomena of gentrification in the South as a new form of colonialism acting bot h in a local and global scale, reproducing relations of power and control on societies already marked by serious indexes of inequality. It explores the link between cultural institutions and private and public investors in these processes.

Bio

Laura Burocco is currently a PhD candidate at Escola de Comunicação da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Communication Technologies and Aesthetic field of research, CAPES scholarship. Her research areas: cognitive capitalism, creativity and institutional critique, gentrification and decolonial studies. She graduated in Law by the State University of Milan and holds a Master in Urban Sociology by the State University of Rio - UERJ, and MBE Housing from the University of the Witwatersrand.

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01

Aug 2017

Faces of the City: Social cohesion as a concern for local government: learning from past and current initiatives

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Social cohesion as a concern for local government: learning from past and current initiatives

Kate Joseph

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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25

Jul 2017

Faces of the City: Mobility and the future city: Archipelagos of territory, representation, and belonging

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Mobility and the future city: Archipelagos of territory, representation, and belonging

Prof Loren Landau

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

African cities’ rapidly transforming morphology and social composition starkly illustrates human mobility’s power to reconfigure politics’ spatial and temporal foundations. Whereas urbanisation elsewhere in the world has accompanied expanding state infrastructure and economic opportunities, African urbanisation is typically rapid, unstable, and occurring with limited possibility of accessing formal employment or public services. The results are moral and material economies linking rural towns to particular urban gateways with these gateways in turn tied to specific sites within the city, other African cities, and across global diasporas real and imagined. This paper explores how these emerging archipelagos are generating ‘future urbanism’: spaces in which residence creates patterns of self-alienation and deferrence in preparation for geographic and temporal elsewheres. These work against the consolidation of territorially bounded patterns of state-centred power and authority. But while these point to a kind of fragmentation and anarchy, these places are not bereft of order. Rather, they generate unique political subjectivities rooted in localised disconnection that will relocate cities’ position as the foundation of national and global political power. The consequences demand a geographic and temporal rescaling of how we explore political representation, authority, and belonging.

Bio

Prof Loren B Landau is the South African Research Chair in Human Mobility and the Politics of Difference at the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg where he was the founding director. His work explores human mobility, citizenship, development, and political authority.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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16

May 2017

Faces of the City: Mobility and Urban Archipelagos: Conceptualising Space and Connection amidst Africa’s Urban Fluidity

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Mobility and Urban Archipelagos: Conceptualising Space and Connection amidst Africa’s Urban Fluidity

Prof. Loren Landau

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za


The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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02

May 2017

Faces of the City: Tracing the metabolism of the everyday: Livelihoods and informality in Delft, Cape Town

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Tracing the metabolism of the everyday: Livelihoods and informality in Delft, Cape Town

Dr. Suraya Scheba

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za


The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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25

Apr 2017

Faces of the City: The Moral Geographies of Mothers in Greater Johannesburg

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: The Moral Geographies of Mothers in Greater Johannesburg

Dr. Alex Parker

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

There is a rich mine of literature on spatial exclusions due to race, in South African cities, however few studies have focused on the gendered spatial experiences of women and more particularly, mothers. Our research explores the spatial dynamics of mothers in Johannesburg: how mothers navigate their and their families’ daily lives; the challenges that they face; their routes, supports and efforts that typify their lives. Through in-depth interviews and mapping exercises, the study draws on the everyday practices of 25 mothers in the city. The research shows that the spatial injustices of the past and new inequalities impact the everyday movements and practices of women. In addition, these spatial practices are influenced by a form of moral geography, which result in compromises and sacrifices for both mother and child. Exploring the spatial geographies of the mothers provides valuable insights and exposes the depth of spatial inequalities and poor urban management in new ways.

Bio

Alexandra Parker joined the GCRO in late 2016 after a long and fruitful association with the University of the Witwatersrand as an undergraduate and postgraduate student and most recently, a postdoctoral research fellow. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research explores the influence of urban films on everyday practice in the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. She has presented and published on this research, most recently in the monograph Urban Film and Everyday Practice: Bridging Divisions in Johannesburg. Margot Rubin is a senior researcher at the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning and has historically worked on housing-related issues, questions of governance and socio-economic rights with a strong interest in comparative urbanism. This study is her first foray into questions of gender and the city.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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18

Apr 2017

Faces of the City: Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Rural Landscapes – Urban Transitions for a Sustainable Future

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Rural Landscapes – Urban Transitions for a Sustainable Future

Prof. Barend Erasmus

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za


The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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11

Apr 2017

Faces of the City: A ‘Marshall plan’ for human settlements: How mega projects became South Africa’s housing policy

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: A ‘Marshall plan’ for human settlements: How mega projects became South Africa’s housing policy

Dr Richard Ballard

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

In 2014, the South African National Department of Human Settlements announced that it would phase out its many small housing projects of a few hundred units. Henceforth all housing would exclusively be delivered in large settlements of thousands or tens of thousands of units. Shortly afterwards, the Gauteng Provincial government announced its own version of the policy, stating that it intended to build dozens of new cities around the province. This article examines the turn to mega projects within the Human Settlements sector in South Africa. We address three questions: where is the mega projects policy turn articulated? what are the rationales that feed into this policy direction? and how has the policy been received? We show the genesis of this policy direction, its heterogeneous nature and its logics. This policy moment flows from some major experiments in scaled up projects since the 1990s. These were informed by a desire to ramp up the quantity of housing delivery which had been declining in the years prior to the announcement of the new policy, the appeal of designing entirely new integrated settlements, a drive to invest in deprived areas, and the expectation that large projects can cut through bureaucratic entanglements slowing down smaller projects. The policy direction has been criticised for presuming to be able to attract economic activity to new settlements and, in the event of failing to be able to do so, exacerbating an already disbursed urban pattern which is difficult to service and which requires workers to commute long distances or renders them unable to find work.

Bio

Dr. Richard Ballard is a Specialist Researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory who trained in the field of geography. He has published on race, urban desegregation, social movements, participatory mechanisms and social policy.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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05

Apr 2017

Symposium: Taking Streets Seriously

5 April 2017

Sturrock Park, Braamfontein Campus West, University of the Witwatersrand

Gauteng’s streets are a hostile place, designed to facilitate the rapid flow of motor traffic at the expense of almost everyone who uses them—including many drivers. They facilitate enormous flows of people around the city, without encouraging economic activity, social cohesion, or indeed any engagement with the city beyond work and home on either end of a long, arduous commute. The value of streets as spaces connecting the city has been lost, and rather they function to move people away from each other as quickly as possible. Such street life as survives under these conditions is despite, not because of, the best efforts of public and private actors in the city.

We hope to provoke a re-imagination of our streets, not least as streets rather than roads, but also as public spaces. Streets taken seriously have enormous potential to enable and encourage public life in Gauteng’s cities. Ultimately we hope to encourage an urban discourse that does not overlook streets and their potential. In a time of enormous excitement and corresponding investment in our cities, we would like to see some of both directed towards the street.

This seminar, a companion event to the forthcoming research report by the same name, will be an opportunity for academics, practitioners, and activists to present on their work and engage on the subject of Taking Streets Seriously.

Academics, practitioners, and activists are invited to submit relevant abstracts of 250 words to kate.joseph@gcro.ac.za by 10 March. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 17 March.

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04

Apr 2017

Faces of the City: Producing Urban Security: between spectacle and everyday contingency

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Producing Urban Security: between spectacle and everyday contingency

Dr Aidan Mosselson

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

In this paper I examine the tactics, processes and underpinning logics through which urban security is produced and maintained in a volatile, 'disorderly' urban environment. I argue that the production of urban security rests on processes of contingency and adaptation, as much as it relies on spectacle and the enactment of force. Research from Johannesburg's inner-city reveals that even powerful actors, such as private security personnel, have to engage in contingent, everyday practices which adapt to the socio-spatial realities they are confronted with in order to effectively create regimes of security and order. Whilst research about urban management, security and governance in Johannesburg has concentrated on spectacular displays of force, such as police raids and 'crackdowns', I demonstrate that, whilst these displays of force are important for the performance of urban governance and policing, the creation of an urban order rests on more mundane and everyday processes too.

Bio

Dr. Aidan Mosselson is currently a post-doctoral research fellow, employed jointly by the University of Johannesburg and the Gauteng City Region Observatory. His research predominantly focuses on inner-city Johannesburg and explores the effects market-based solutions have on public space and the accessibility of housing in low-income areas; urban management and policing practices in volatile neighbourhoods; and the dynamics of racial transition and emerging forms of belonging in previously racially-segregated areas. He has also published on xenophobia and migration. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand and a PhD in Social Geography from University College London.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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28

Mar 2017

Faces of the City: Everyday practices of waste management and peri-urban vulnerabilities in Dar es Salaam

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Everyday practices of waste management and peri-urban vulnerabilities in Dar es Salaam

Dr Natalie Jean-Baptiste

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Abstract

Behind statistics about urbanized populations in Africa, behind maps showing unregulated growth and numerous disaster risk assessments, there are compelling tales of coping and adapting capacities framed within everyday practices. A large part of Dar es Salaam is not planned or designed in function of nodes of infrastructure. The city’s expansion remains largely uncontrolled and defies any pre-conceived wisdom that availability of infrastructure is a precondition for urban growth. This talk addresses the premises of understanding technical infrastructure through everyday practices. It provides a first insight on organizational components connected to waste management and how this connection may influence positively or negatively the resilience of cities. I argue that addressing waste issues from the point of view of everyday processes helps expand our knowledge on different layers of livelihoods. Across most African cities, what we lack is insight on how local processes, technologies and social initiatives may act as a stimulus for more viable infrastructure.

Bio

Dr. Nathalie Jean-Baptiste is a Marie Curie Global Fellow affiliated with the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany and is currently based in Tanzania at Ardhi University. Her work focuses on the vulnerability of urban systems to climate related risks in low-income countries. She has extensive international research experience with a focus on urban infrastructure, risk assessment and climate adaptation in Mexico and several African countries. She is the Coordinator of the Housing Network of the International Association People-Environment Studies (IAPS) and the Lead Coordinating Author of the chapter on Housing and Informal Settlements of the Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and cities (ARC3-2, Urban Climate Change Research Network, Cambridge Press: 2017).

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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22

Mar 2017

Faces of the City: Luxified skies: How vertical housing became an elite preserve

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Luxified skies: How vertical housing became an elite preserve

Professor Stephen Graham

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

This paper is a call for critical urban research to address the vertical as well as horizontal aspects of social inequality. It seeks, in particular, to explore the important but neglected causal connection between the demonisation and dismantling of social housing towers constructed in many cities between the 1930s and 1970s and the contemporary proliferation of radically different housing towers produced for socio-economic elites. The argument begins with a critical discussion of the economistic orthodoxy, derived from the work of Edward Glaeser, that contemporary housing crises are best addressed by removing state intervention in housing production so that market-driven verticalisation can take place. The following two sections connect the rise of such orthodoxy with the ‘manufactured reality’—so central to neo-liberal urban orthodoxy—that vertical social housing must necessarily fail because it deterministically creates social pathology. The remainder of the paper explores in detail how the dominance of these narratives have been central to elite takeovers, and ‘luxification’, of the urban skies through the proliferation of condo towers for the superrich. Case studies are drawn from Vancouver, New York, London, Mumbai and Guatemala City and the broader vertical cultural and visual politics of the process are explored. The discussion finishes by exploring the challenges involved in contesting, and dismantling, the hegemonic dominance of vertical housing by elite interests in contemporary cities. Paper available here: http://rsa.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1360481...

Bio

Stephen Graham is Professor of Cities and Society at the Global Urban Research Unit and is based in Newcastle University's School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. Professor Graham has a background in Geography, Planning and the Sociology of Technology. His research centres, in particular, on: the vertical aspects of cities and urban life; links between cities, technology and infrastructure; urban aspects of surveillance; the mediation of urban life by digital technologies; and links between security, militarisation and urban life. Amongst a large number of publications, he is coauthor of Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition (2001) and author of Vertical: Looking at the City from Above and Below (2016).

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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14

Mar 2017

Faces of the City: The void, dust, gold, and powering the Rainbow Nation

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: The void, dust, gold, and powering the Rainbow Nation

Mark Olalde

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

From gold in the Far West Rand to platinum in Bapong and titanium in Pondoland, the mining industry has left an indelible mark on South Africa. In recent years, South Africa has seen both an increased, community-based resistance to expansion within parts of the industry as well as a growing governmental interest in researching the impacts of minerals extraction on affected communities. As a more nuanced national awareness comes to the sector, a logical next step in this progression is to question whether each aspect of the so-called Minerals-Energy Complex is unique or if commonalities exist. By reordering and comparing individual photographs captured from different mining sectors, the exhibit connects the themes that permeate South African mining, such as the impact of race on power in the business, the influence of international markets on local communities, and the direct, physical impacts of the extractive industry. By focusing on shared experiences, the aim of this exhibit is to better understand which variables influence mining and how affected communities interact with them.

Bio

Mark Olalde is a journalist who investigates mine abandonment in South Africa’s failed system of mine closure. He is based in Johannesburg at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Wits City Institute and is affiliated with the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry. He publishes print stories and photography as an associate of the Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism and places additional work across Independent Media’s platforms, among other publications. His investigations are financially supported by the Fund for Environmental Journalism, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the Fund for Investigative Journalism

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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06

Mar 2017

Living the Urban Periphery: Investment, Infrastructure and Economic Change in African City-Regions

The Gauteng Introductory Stakeholder meeting for the 'Living the Urban Periphery' project will be held over lunch and the early afternoon of Monday 6th March 2017, 12h30 for 13h00 till 15h00 at Wits University, Braamfontein. Please RSVP by 24 February to Thammy Jezile (Thammy.Jezile@wits.ac.za) if you would like to attend.

The project is a partnership between the University of Sheffield (Department of Urban Studies and Planning: Dr Paula Meth, Dr Tom Goodfellow) and the University of the Witwatersrand (School of Architecture and Planning: Prof Alison Todes; Prof Sarah Charlton; Prof Phil Harrison; Dr Margot Rubin) in collaboration with the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (Dr Richard Ballard). It is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and South Africa’s National Research Foundation through the Newton Urban Transformation Programme.

The project focuses on understanding the transformation of urban peripheries and lived experience in three city-regions: eThekwini and Gauteng (South Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is a 3 year project (2016-2018).

We hope that the meeting will provide advice and a sounding board for our project, and enable us to adapt it to be more useful to policy makers and practitioners. We will also present the project to the specific local communities where we intend do research. At the end of the project, we will again present our findings to stakeholders such as yourselves, and to local communities where we have worked. Should you be unable to attend, we would like to make you aware of our research, and hope that we will be able to talk to you individually about the project at a later stage.

Please RSVP by 24 February to Thammy Jezile (Thammy.Jezile@wits.ac.za)


Project Summary:

The spatial edges of large cities and city-regions in Africa are places of complex but poorly understood urban transformations; in some areas, large-scale formal investment is evident, while others are characterised by informal development or a complex mix of formal and informal processes, alternatively, there is stagnation or decline. These processes are often inadequately managed through policy and planning as institutions of governance are frequently weaker and more fragmented on the edge than in the spatial core. There is a critical gap in existing research on African cities, which has tended to overlook peripheral areas or focus on a donor-driven conception of the ‘peri-urban’ concerned primarily with changes to land use and agriculture (Mbiba and Huchzermeyer 2002). Without responsive policy and planning they may continue to be poorly managed, experience decline; institutional weakness; and neglect.

This project seeks to understand how transformation in the spatial peripheries of African cities, is shaped, governed and experienced, with a view to informing governance approaches, strategies for poverty reduction and addressing the gap in the existing literature. It will use the lens of ‘lived experiences’ to understand the intersection of state, market and people’s practices in producing “new urban spatialities” (Beall et al 2015; Mabin et al 2013; Todes 2014). The project examines seven cases within three African city-regions: Gauteng, eThekwini and Addis Ababa. These choices will facilitate comparative analysis spanning both a low and a middle-income country, as well as primary and secondary cities. All three cases display rapid but variable urbanisation, changing patterns of segregation and integration, and variant patterns of governance and investment, offering critical spaces for comparative analysis, theorisation, and policy influence.

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21

Feb 2017

Faces of the City: Lawnbefok: Civilising Grass on the Highveld

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Lawnbefok: Civilising Grass on the Highveld

Johathan Cane, Civilising grass on the Highveld

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

The central object of concern for this seminar paper is the South African lawn: a colonial idea and ideal with far-reaching implications for the environment, for the expression of ownership and national belonging. The common sense view of the lawn as a stable, flat, green, family-friendly and apolitical surface is measured against an eccentric archive of real and imagined lawns from the Highveld between 1886 and 2016. The ‘lawn art’ archive includes maps, (photographs of) geographic spaces, intentionally and unintentionally unbuilt architectural proposals, empty spaces on the page and the ground, patterns of lived space, uses and obscene misuses, reappropriations and rejection of spaces on paper and in person. The argument is that neither the real nor imagined boundaries which divide civilised nature from the wilderness are able to provide an immutable, safe, impermeable bulwark. The South African lawn, like many other postcolonial landscapes, is muddy, queer and alive, resisting optimistic narratives of progress and growth.

Bio

Jonathan Cane is a postdoctoral fellow in the Wits City Institute. His research is interested in landscape, modernism and queer studies. He currently working on building an archive of the Rand Mines Properties’ plan for Ormonde in the late 1960s.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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16

Feb 2017

Tommaso Vitale: Policy instruments and the governance of large metropolis

CUBES, together with the Gauteng City-Region Observatory and Spatial Analysis and City Planning will host Tommaso Vitale to deliver this lecture.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

16:00-18:00

Dorothy Susskind Auditorium (A1), John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Tommaso Vitale is an Associate Professor in Sociology in Sciences Po (Paris), research director of the Master ‘Governing the Large Metropolis’ in the School of Urban Studies at Sciences Po.

He is part of the research team ‘Cities are Back in Town’ around Professor Patrick Le Gales, and his research deals with urban change and conflict, civil society mobilisation, spatial segregation, social services delivery, the local governance of industrial restructuring.

He has also worked on the place of migrant and “Rom” communities in European cities.

RSVP: Thammy.Jezile@wits.ac.za; CC: Busi.Nkosi@wits.ac.za

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19

Oct 2016

Habitat III Urban Future event: Shaping informed cities: Platforms for knowledge generation and use in urban decision-making

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), in partnership with University College London (UCL), invites you to an official event of the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, as part of the 'Urban Future' space. The event is entitled 'Shaping informed cities: Platforms for knowledge generation and use in urban decision-making'. It seeks to showcase and explore the function of existing institutions involved in the generation and analysis of data to support urban decision-making. The session will be illustrated by a case study profiling the work of the GCRO, because of its unusual structure (a partnership between two universities and the Gauteng Provincial Government), and its engagement with multiple governance levels across a heterogeneous city-region, rather than a single, constrained urban core. The case study will focus on one of GCRO’s work programmes - Green assets and Infrastructure - which provides detailed insight into methods used, and the challenges and dilemmas that must be negotiated, in this operating space.

The event will be chaired by Carla-Leanne Washbourne (UCL STEaPP), and will include presentations by Rashid Seedat (Head of the Gauteng Planning Commission and member of the Board of GCRO) and Christina Culwick (lead researcher on GCRO's Green assets and infrastructure project).

The official event description can be downloaded here.

Date & time:
Wednesday 19 October 2016
17:00 - 17:45

Venue:
Urban Future, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana "Benjamin Carrion"
Quito, Ecuador

See the Habitat III website for more details about the 'Urban Future' space.

@GCR_Observatory

@UCLSTEaPP


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20

Sep 2016

Faces of the City: Revisiting the urban land question in Kenya in the post-2015 context: The case of Nairobi

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Revisiting the urban land question in Kenya in the post-2015 context: The case of Nairobi

Dr Luke Obala, University of Nairobi

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

The history of Kenya and the question of land remain intrinsically related. At the core is access and ownership of land that directly define the social, economic and political interactions in the city of Nairobi and the country at large. Attempts to address the land question by the state have not produced the desired results. A range of informal processes have emerged in this vacuum. This paper will use various case studies drawn from Nairobi to help deepen our understanding of how actors and stakeholders (both formal and informal) in the land market interact. The paper will further attempt to establish the contribution of the formal and informal governance of land to achieving the sustainable development goals adopted in 2015. The paper will thus analyse various dimensions of the land question. In closing the paper will draw conclusions on the linkage between the urban land question and Sustainable Development Goals.

Bio

Luke Obala is a Senior Lecturer at University of Nairobi and former Head of the Department of Real Estate and Construction Management. He holds a PhD from University of the Witwatersrand and has over 25 years of experience in research and teaching urban management, economics, planning and housing administration at Jomo Kenyatta and University of Science and Technology and the University of Nairobi. He is a member of Kenya Institute of Planners, Institution of Surveyors of Kenya, Spring International Association of Development Planners and African Real Estate Society. In partnership with Pamoja Trust (a local NGO), Dr. Obala runs an annual workshop focusing urban housing and slum upgrading. Dr Obala has wide experience gained over the years of university teaching, research and consultancy in a variety of areas including urban governance, policy, resource mobilization, project and/or programme management and general planning. These activities have provided him with deeper insights into the urban issues affecting African cities as well as a linkage with a network of actors in urban development and its related politics. Dr Obala’s two month visit hosted by CUBES is funded by the Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute at Wits University.

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13

Sep 2016

Faces of the City: The urbanisation of responsibility

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: The urbanisation of responsibility

Professor Clive Barnett, University of Exeter

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

Cities have become central to a range of policy fields, activist imaginations, and advocacy campaigns. Across these areas, 'the city' refers to different spatial forms, and is used to address a variety of issues and problems. This paper seeks to develop an analytical framework for understanding this proliferation of urban concern. The paper argues that understanding the multiple roles ascribed to urban processes in addressing problems requires shifting attention away from debates about what the city is to what it is that cities are assumed to be able to do. 'The city' emerges from this sort of analysis as a figure that enables wicked problems to be subjected to reflexive forms of intervention.

Bio

Clive Barnett is Professor of Geography and Social Theory at the University of Exeter, and author of the forthcoming book “The Priority of Injustice: Locating Democracy in Critical Theory” (University of Georgia Press).

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06

Sep 2016

Faces of the City: Ghetto in the cities and films of Johannesburg and Cape Town

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Ghetto in the cities and films of Johannesburg and Cape Town

Alexandra Parker, University of the Witwatersrand

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

In the unequal city, spaces are divided into the ‘citadel’, the fortified enclaves of the wealthy, and the ‘ghetto’, poor and crime-ridden neighbourhoods (Friedmann and Wolff, 1982). The ghetto in the South African context is a legacy of the apartheid government planning in cities that segregated non-whites to the periphery of urban centres. In this case, the ghetto is not the space of a minority; its urban form varies and is embodied in townships, the inner city and informal settlements. In films of Johannesburg and Cape Town these spatial divisions have been depicted with contrasting meanings to reflect perceptions of the city.

The ghetto as a metaphor is strongly present in the hood film and offers both utopian and dystopian representations of the city for African-Americans (Massood, 1996), which has influenced the gangster genre in South Africa (Maingard, 2007). This paper focuses on the construction and depiction of the ghetto in the films of Johannesburg and Cape Town. The paper explores the geography of settings and locations as well as aspects of mobility within the narratives of two key films, Jerusalema (2008) and Four Corners (2013). The films of Johannesburg juxtapose spaces of the citadel and the ghetto with mobile characters while films of Cape Town focus on particular areas with less urban context and with less mobility of individual characters. These different depictions may reflect differences in the respective film industries but also have implications for residents of the cities and the ways in which the post-apartheid city is being re-imagined and re-planned.

Bio

Alexandra Parker is a postdoctoral research fellow (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa) researching the influence of urban films on everyday practice in the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. The research aims to understand the ways in which residents interpret and negotiate their urban environments through the popular medium of film. She has presented and published on this research, most recently in her book 'Urban Film and Everyday Practice: Bridging Divisions in Johannesburg'. She has taught first year courses at the Wits School of Architecture and Planning, South Africa and a Masters course at the Università Iuav di Venezia, Italy. She serves on the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation board, actively campaigning to save the city’s heritage and is a director of the Architects’ Collective.

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23

Aug 2016

Faces of the City: Habitus, capital and the production of space: the spatial praxis of innercity regeneration

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: Habitus, capital and the production of space: the spatial praxis of innercity regeneration

Aidan Mosselson, Gauteng City-Region Observatory

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract
This presentation outlines an emerging theoretical approach for analysing the relationship between social action and space. The analytical frameworks provided by Bourdieu and Lefebvre can be productively combined to arrive at a spatialized perspective of habitus – i.e. an account of how dispositions, worldviews and practices emerge in and through space, and also come to shape and alter spaces. The presentation illustrates this theoretical perspective in practice by drawing on evidence from the process of urban regeneration and low-income housing provision in inner-city Johannesburg. It shows how this process is driven by spatial practices which reproduce forms of habitus and social ordering, but simultaneously respond to the existing spatial reality which developers and housing providers encounter, and that these encounters in turn shape their praxis and consequently the type of regeneration being pursued and enacted. It therefore comes to demonstrate how spatial practices and habitus, whilst reflective of and able to reproduce dominant systems and social orders, are also not static and constantly shift to reflect the contingencies and multiplicities of space. Thus habitus is made through space, and comes to make space at the same time. The talk will also document experiences of tenants living in social or affordable housing in the inner-city to demonstrate the relationship between space and habitus, and how people’s lived spatial experiences reflect and reproduce forms of habitus which replicate existing forms of social stratification and domination. In the case of tenants, it is shown how existing spatial and social inequalities are reflected in people’s experiences of space, which then come to reinforce their subordinate positions in the social hierarchy. In this case, habitus and space are shown to combine to reproduce social divisions and forms of domination.
Bio
Aidan Mosselson currently a post-doctoral research fellow, employed jointly by the University of Johannesburg and the Gauteng City Region Observatory. His research has predominantly been carried out in inner-city Johannesburg and focuses on the effects market-based solutions have on public space and the accessibility of housing in low-income areas, urban management and policing practices in volatile neighborhoods, as well as the dynamics of racial transition and emerging forms of belonging in previously racially exclusive areas of South Africa.
He holds a Masters degree in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand and a PhD in social Geography from University College London.
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16

Aug 2016

Faces of the City: The private city: Real estate politics in the making of Lavasa new town, India

Please join us for the Faces of the City Seminar: The Private City: Real estate politics in the making of Lavasa new town, India

Anokhi Parikh

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

16:00 - 17:30

Wits Club, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract
In the heart of India’s Mumbai-Pune mega-region an urban experiment is underway. The city of Lavasa is a city conceptualised, built, and controlled by a private company – Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL). Planned for a stable population of 240,000 and 2 million visitors by 2020, it is imagined as an “inclusive city”, a “prime tourist destination”, with educational institutions, “non-polluting industries”, and “world-class” facilities. Lavasa is committed to being a “prototype of a medium-sized city which can act as a financially viable and an environmentally and socially sustainable substitute to the ill-served and overcrowded mega cities”. Founded primarily on private property, Lavasa’s vision brings together in an experimental manner, the seemingly disparate goals of inclusion, environmental sustainability, economic profitability, and exemplary service delivery.
The presentation draws on doctoral research on the development of Lavasa. It takes seriously the attempt to create a ‘market utopia’, treating it as an empirical phenomenon with social consequences, and asks: why, how, and with what effects did Lavasa come to be? The presentation traces the ideologies, rationalities, and interests that enabled Lavasa's making. It demonstrates how the symbolic power of this ‘market utopia’ conceals the conditions of its possibility, that is, the ways in which it was made through the state, through speculation, and the discursive and material operations of the land market. In doing so, it offers some theoretical reflections on the processes of privatised urban development.
Bio
Anokhi Parikh is a Project Manager at Dalberg Global Development Advisors in Johannesburg, where she is the deputy lead of the urban practice. Prior to joining Dalberg, Anokhi played an instrumental role in setting up the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), a university start-up in India. IIHS aims to establish an independently funded and managed National University for Research and Innovation focused on the challenges and opportunities of India’s urban transition. She began her career in South Africa in 2005 as an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Fellow, conducting research that fed into provincial health sector policy and features in several publications.
Anokhi holds a PhD in International Development from the London School of Economics, an MSc in Development Economics from Oxford University, and a BA (Hons) in Economics from UC Berkeley.


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02

Aug 2016

Faces of the City: Resources and Recourses: Market Interventions and Legitimacy in Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar: Resources and Recourses: Market Interventions and Legitimacy in Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa

Marcus Walton

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

16:00 - 17:30

First floor seminar room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract
Scarcity or the inaccessibility of basic resources (food, energy, education, housing, employment etc.) is a shared characteristic of poverty and inequality across the world. Yet policies for market interventions differ not only in scale, but also in the selection of particular resources to be subsidized or distributed. My dissertation looks at three different cases of large scale, high-profile market interventions in Africa: bread subsidies in Egypt, fuel subsidies in Nigeria, and housing subsidies in South Africa. I trace the history of these policies and use the particular resource as a lens for understanding relations between the post-colonial/post-apartheid State and its citizens. I present my observations on the relevant linkages between these cases and their implications for market interventions as a unique space for contestation.
Bio
Marcus Walton is a PhD candidate at Brown University in the department of Political Science. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) at the University of Witwatersrand.


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26

Jul 2016

Faces of the City: The Real Estate Turn in Asia's Urban Politics

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar: The Real Estate Turn in Asia's Urban Politics

Gavin Shatkin, Northeastern University, Boston

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

16:00 - 17:30

Wits Club, University of the Witwatersrand


Abstract

Recent years have seen a distinct real estate turn in urban policy and politics across much of Asia, as governments have deployed increasingly assertive means to enable the large scale commodification of urban land. Government actors have sought to gain control of land and transfer it to for-profit actors, whether through forcible acquisition of land from existing users, the use of regulatory powers to facilitate the transfer of land to private sector or state-owned corporations, or land reclamation from lakes and coastlines. In some cases governments themselves have also engaged in the commercial development of government-owned land, or formed public-private partnerships to develop such land. Government actors have also aggressively promoted the development of large-scale, corporate-driven urban megaprojects, in an effort to realize the commodification of land on a large scale. This presentation will explore the varied strategies that governments have pursued in this real estate turn, across political systems, urban contexts, and land use regimes. It will further examine the implications of these strategies for issues of social, spatial, and political inclusion and exclusion.


Gavin Shatkin has a joint appointment in the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the School of Architecture at Northeastern University, Boston. His research focuses primarily on globalization and urban poverty in Southeast Asian cities. He is the author of Collective Action and Urban Poverty Alleviation: Community Organizations and the Struggle for Shelter in Manila.


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30

Jun 2016

Glocal Nexus: Johannesburg’s position within global, regional and local economic networks

The GCRO hosts Prof. Ronald Wall, who will present a seminar on Johannesburg’s shifting position within global, regional and local economic networks.

Prof. Wall will argue that through smart urban planning and smart corporate benchmarking, the density and diversity of global economic connections can be improved, which in turn can (if done astutely) increase social, economic and environmental development. An important element of this presentation is that policymakers should in future develop strategies based on local, regional and global knowledge.
The presentation argues for the need for empirical research, big data, quantitative and qualitative studies, and interdisciplinary approaches to research.

Ronald Wall holds the newly established Chair in Urban Economic Development, recently endowed by the City of Johannesburg, and representing a partnership between the Wits School of Economic and Business Sciences, the Wits Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, and the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Thursday 30 June

University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein Campus East

Post Grad Seminar room, John Moffat Building Basement

15h30 - 17h30

RSVP: farah-naaz.moosa@gcro.ac.za



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28

Jun 2016

Quality of Life Survey 2015 Results Launch

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) invites you to the launch of our Quality of Life Survey 2015 — the largest ever social attitudes survey conducted in the province. The fourth in our series of biennial surveys, with over 30 000 respondents, reveals key insights into the lives and opinions of Gauteng’s residents.

The results will be launched by GCRO Executive Director Dr Rob Moore, and responded to by Gauteng Premier Honourable David Makhura.

*Limited seating is available, RSVP essential.

Tuesday 28 June 2016
09:30 for 10:00 - 12:30
Registration and tea from 09:30
A finger lunch will follow the launch.

University of Johannesburg

RSVP: 22 June 2016, farah-naaz.moosa@gcro.ac.za

#gcroQL4

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22

Mar 2016

Faces of the City: A Pedagogy of Confrontation: Reclaiming urban regeneration in inner São Paulo

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar: A Pedagogy of Confrontation: Reclaiming urban regeneration in inner São Paulo

Alexandre Apsan Frediani, Beatrice De Carli, Benedito Roberto Barbosa, Francisco de Assis Comarú, Ricardo de Sousa

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

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15

Mar 2016

Faces of the City: The Interpellation of Celebrity Diplomacy in the Urban Development Johannesburg: The Case of Newtown

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar: The Interpellation of Celebrity Diplomacy in the Urban Development Johannesburg: The Case of Newtown

Fana Sihlongonyane, University of the Witwatersrand

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

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08

Mar 2016

Faces of the City: Trajectories of Global Urbanism at the Start of the 21st Century: the Delicate Balance between Tourist-Entertainment Cities; Shrinking Cities in Decline; Instant Cities, and Mega-cities of Hyper-growth

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar: Trajectories of Global Urbanism at the Start of the 21st Century: the Delicate Balance between Tourist-Entertainment Cities; Shrinking Cities in Decline; Instant Cities, and Mega-cities of Hyper-growth

Martin Murray, University of Michigan

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

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01

Mar 2016

Faces of the City: "My Dream, My House": Are Middle Class Residents Satisfied with Government Housing Provision in Post-war Angola?

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

"My Dream, My House": Are Middle Class Residents Satisfied with Government Housing Provision in Post-war Angola?


Anne Pitcher, University of Michigan


Tuesday, 1 March 2016

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

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23

Feb 2016

Faces of the City: Making Massive Small Change - open, responsive and collaborative urbanism in a complex world

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

Making Massive Small Change - open, responsive and collaborative urbanism in a complex world


Kelvin Cambell, Smart Urbanism


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

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13

Oct 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: Rob Moore

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

Universities and Urban Futures: Models for Trans-disciplinary Knowledge Exchange


Rob Moore, University of the Witwatersrand


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

This seminar addresses two foundational and interlinked questions with regard to how we address the complex challenges confronting global society and its evident vulnerabilities: what are the forms of knowledge required to shape our collective social futures, and how are they to be generated? In particular, how should universities gear their activities to enable these knowledge forms, and concomitantly position themselves in relation to their social partners? This problematic is addressed from a Southern African perspective, and possible approaches to the matter are illustrated by means of two indicative case studies. An argument is developed that universities need to reconsider how they provide for the ‘third mission’ of academia, and that this implies reconfiguring how they engage with the needs of wider society.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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08

Oct 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: Carlton Reid

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

Roads were not built for cars: How cyclists were the first to push for good roads and became the pioneers of motoring


Carlton Reid, BikeBiz


Thursday, 8 October 2015

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Biography

Carlton Reid is executive editor of BikeBiz magazine and is writing a book about the recent history of roads. He is author of Roads Were Not Built For Cars. Carlton Reid has been a journalist for 28 years. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveller and The Guardian and many other magazines and newspapers. He is the executive editor of BikeBiz.com, a monthly trade magazine which he founded (and sold to Intent Media in 2006). He is also comms for the Bicycle Association and the BA’s Bike Hub levy fund. In 1997 he was the co-owner and editor/publisher of On Your Bike magazine, a magazine for family and “born-again” cyclists, which was sold to EMAP of Peterborough in December 1999. (EMAP turned the general interest, non-Lycra magazine into a mountain bike magazine – it soon folded, and not in a good way.) His previous books include Adventure Mountain Biking (Crowood Press, 1990); Complete Book of Cycling (contributor, Hamlyn 1997); I-Spy Bicycles (Michelin 1998); Discover Israel (Berlitz 1998); Lebanon: A Travel Guide (Kindlife 1995); Classic Mountain Bike Routes of the World (contributor, Quarto Publishing, 2000) and Bike to Work Book (November 2008). He was co-manager of the first ever British mountain bike team. This team competed in the World Championships in Villard de Lans, France, in 1987. In June 2008, he was inducted into the MBUK Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, one of the first 20 inductees. He got into mountain biking after a mid-1980s failed attempt to cycle around the world on a Claud Butler Majestic touring bike (he got as far as Israel and then decided to cycle tour the deserts of the Middle East for a year on one of them new-fangled mountain bikes).

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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29

Sep 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: Emaculate Ingwani & Hloniphile Simelane

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

Land transactions in peri-urban communal areas of Zimbabwe: the structure-agency interactions
& Urban Land Management and its Discontents: a case study of the Swaziland Urban Development Project (SUDP)


Emaculate Ingwani, University of Venda
Hloniphile Simelane, Planact

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

1. Land transactions are increasingly becoming a cause for concern in communal areas that are situated in the peri-urban zones of bourgeoning cities in sub-Saharan Africa. The nature, causes, outcomes and dynamics of these land transactions vary in space and time. However, in most cases these land transactions are a response to ubiquitous change as a result of irresistible forces of urbanization and social change - the structure-agency interactions. This paper seeks to unravel these interactions using a case study of Domboshava communal area situated in the peri-urban outskirts of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, where land transactions are on the increase. The paper is based on part of the findings on my PhD study that highlights the dimensions of these interactions in depth.


2. Whilst much has been written about land contests in rural settings in Sub-Saharan Africa, less attention has been paid to land disputes between traditional and formal authorities in urban areas. Using the Swaziland Urban Development Project as a case study, this paper examines jurisdictional conflicts over land that occur between traditional leaders and formal structures such as the Swaziland’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and city councils. The focus is on local residents, who are caught in the middle of the power contests and use various strategies to hold onto their land. This study adopted a qualitative methodology to explore the different competing interests. The study concludes that rival jurisdictional claims negatively affect residents and impede economic development not just for the residents but the city in general.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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22

Sep 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: Noeleen Murray

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

Thinking through architecture of failure: modern architectures' dark side?


Noeleen Murray, Wits City Institute


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

Thinking through architectures of failure: modern architectures' dark side' takes as its starting point the that, today, the platonic forms of the modernist, Corbusian-inspired Werdmuller Centre, by South African architect and urban designer Roelof Uytenbogaardt, stand against a background of decay in a neglected corner of Claremont, Cape Town. Controversial ever since its construction in the 1970s, the building is again the vortex of a dispute. It has been subject to a process of consideration for ‘heritage worthiness,’ drawing public attention in the post-colonial, post-apartheid present to the contemporary significance of Uytenbogaardt’s work. Cape Town has been World Design Capital in 2014, and the Werdmuller Centre, standing almost in ruins, exemplifies many of the tensions that exist over the presence of modernist design and buildings in the contemporary city. Occupying a site considered to have commercial development potential by its owners, its proposed demolition is opposed by architects who argue that the Werdmuller Centre deserves to be classified as ‘heritage’. As the building’s future hangs in the balance, the debates that have emerged since the announcement of intentions to demolish have become heightened in 2013, revealing the contested nature of modern architecture in post-apartheid South Africa as buildings become 'failures'.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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15

Sep 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: Hannah Dawson

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

Navigating economic uncertainty on the urban periphery: Economic strategies, household arrangements and social differentiation in Zandspruit informal settlement


Hannah Dawson, Oxford University


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

The rise of unemployment and precarious forms of work in a context of rapid urbanisation has seen the proliferation of informal settlements on the urban periphery of South Africa’s big cities. The growth of informal settlements reflect two important and interrelated shifts: first, a shift in household composition towards smaller and more numerous households, and second, a shift in the urban labour market from more permanent to temporary and from more formal to informal work (Hunter & Posel, 2012). Through an ethnographic exploration of Zandspruit informal settlement this paper explores the constraints and opportunities changing economic conditions place on young people’s economic practices and strategies in relation to household arrangements, social relations and aspirations. This paper seeks to draw attention to the multifaceted social and cultural contexts through which young people navigate economic exclusion and marginality.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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26

Aug 2015

Smart | City | Region: Event and Symposium

The GCRO will host the Smart | City | Region Exhibition and Symposium on 26 August 2015, at the Digital Innovation Zone, 111 Smit Street, Braamfontein. The event forms part of the Fak'ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival 2015.


THE SYMPOSIUM

There is an increasing worldwide focus on ‘smart cities’ as a means to address the challenges of rapid urbanisation and enhance the lives of residents. Internationally, there are a number of initiatives to build complete new cities as smart cities. There is a broad consensus that smart cities are empirical, intelligent, wired, innovative, entrepreneurial and future-proof.

The smart city also conjures up Orwellian images of a panoptic state, obsessed with controlling the city, and leaving little to chance. Here data is seen as the ultimate governance tool, from which policy decisions are constantly drawn, without consultation, enquiry or participation.

This symposium will critically engage with the debate around smart cities, asking questions such as: What does this mean for local and provincial government in a City-Region struggling with the adequate provision of services? Can smart city projects provide a city-regional solution to address key development and infrastructure problems in the Gauteng City-Region? Is smart city a catchy buzzword driven by corporate profit making with limited benefits for government and general public? Will a smart city approach slowly erode the democratic city as we know it, or produce new types of publics, ways of being and urban expressions that enhance urban society and culture?

The symposium will be divided into two sessions, the first will grapple with the smart city debate, and the second will look at the role that cities and organisations such as the GCRO can play in ensuring a balanced approach to smart city development. Symposium attendees are invited to attend the exhibition which follows.

The symposium is an invite only event that runs from 12:15 - 17:30. Should you wish to attend, however, please contact chris.wray@gcro.ac.za.


THE EXHIBITION

The GCRO has over a number of years produced interactive online content that facilitates a smarter and more informed Gauteng City-Region. This one-night only exhibition will highlight key GCRO work in the realm of data visualisation, infographics, mapping, and GIS. A number of new websites, including the GCRO's revamped online presence and a new GIS website will be launched together with the GCRO's new graphic identity. These will be on display together with Map of the Month examples, Wits Digital Arts Interactive Visualisations and other interactive platforms.
As a component of the Fak'ugesi Festival 2015, the interactive and digital exhibition will embed the city in the wider conversation on African innovation and smart cities.

This interactive and digital cocktail event is open to the public, by RSVP only. It will run from 18:00 to 21:00.

Please RSVP to guy.trangos@gcro.ac.za before 21 August 2015.

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25

Aug 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: Ivan Turok

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar:

Myths and realities of informal urbanisation: the role of informal settlements and backyard shacks


Prof. Ivan Turok, Acting Executive Director, Human Sciences Research Council


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

16:00 - 18:00

First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

The role of informality in urbanisation in the global South is subject to considerable international debate and deep policy ambivalence. The paper explores the contrast between theoretical perspectives that emphasize the opportunities/choices available to the poor and those that stress the pressures of necessity/constraints they face. It applies these ideas to two concrete situations in South Africa: (i) the role of informal settlements in urban labour markets, and (ii) the role of backyard shacks in urban housing markets. In terms of the former, it compares the role of informal settlements as ladders out of poverty through enabling access to urban jobs, versus poverty traps where debilitating conditions mean enduring hardship and insecurity. In terms of the latter, it compares the role of backyard shacks as stopgaps born out of expediency versus their potential to provide elements of a useful solution to the urban housing crisis. The paper draws on a mixture of cross-sectional and longitudinal data to assess the veracity of these perspectives. This includes the GCRO Quality of Life Survey, the Labour Force Survey and the National Income Dynamics Study.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Wits City Institute.

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18

Aug 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: South Africa's urban agenda and its relationship to urban research

Tuesday, 18 August

16:00 – 19:00

Dorothy Susskind Auditorium, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand


On the programme:

1. Introduction to topic and speakers (Prof Marie Huchzermeyer)

2. National urban policy and its linkages with research (Prof Edgar Pieterse)

3. National Development Plan and its key research drivers (Prof Philip Harrison)

4. The long view/reflections on past links between urban policy and research (Prof Alan Mabin)

5. Referencing the past to the present: reconsidering the role of heritage in the urban agenda (Prof Noëleen Murray)

6. Types of research methods that might be side lined in the bigger agendas (Prof Sophie Oldfield)

7. Concrete examples from research in Durban (Prof Monique Marks / Dr Kira Erwin)

8. Wrap up and thanks (Dr Modjadji Malahlela, CoGTA)


Panel inputs will be interspersed with discussion

Followed by refreshments


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11

Aug 2015

Faces of the City Seminar Series: Javier Auyero

Please join us for the next Faces of the City Seminar, in the Graduate Seminar Room of the South West Engineering Building.

Javier Auyero from the University of Texas, Austin, will present, 'A practical logic of clientelist domination.'


Abstract:

Based on a series of analytic revisits of three rounds of ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Buenos Aires, Argentine, and focusing on a micro-sociological level of empirical analysis, this work aims to redirect the study of patronage politics towards its quotidian character and to acknowledge the key role played by brokers’ strong ties with their closest, most reliable, followers, so as to better understand and explain the practical features of clientelist domination. Contrary to extant accounts, this work argues that clientelist politics occur during routine daily life (not solely during campaigns and elections) and that most loyal clients’ behavior should be understood and explained neither as the product of rational action nor as the outcome of normative behavior but as generated by a clientelist habitus, i.e. a set of cognitive and affective political dispositions manufactured in the repeated interactions that take place within brokers’ inner circles of followers.


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21

Jul 2015

Louis Grundlingh at Faces of the City seminar series

Public spaces have long formed a key element of the urban landscape, answering to particular needs—notably concerns regarding morality and physical health of the urban populace, the display of civic virtues and social and cultural values, enshrined in practices that uphold the social and moral order, i.e. middle and upper class respectability.

The critical period of the early growth of Johannesburg presents the context and the opportunity to explore the nature, purpose, function, characteristics, meaning and design of Johannesburg’s erstwhile premier municipal public park, Joubert Park. The paper is based on the premise that the layout, design and features such as areas for promenading, a bandstand, conservatory and art gallery combined to create and give material form to Victorian and Edwardian concepts of identity, and respectability as interpreted and reflected by Johannesburg’s town fathers.

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12

May 2015

Workshop & Seminar at Faces of the City seminar series

Urban Design Room, North Basement, John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand. NB: Please RSVP indicating whether you will attend the workshop (12:00 -15:30), the seminar (16:00-18:00), or both (12:00-18:00) to Margot Rubin: margot.rubin@wits.ac.za

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Cities Institute.

Hope to see you there!

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12

May 2015

Giovanni Aleggretti at Faces of the City seminar series

Building the Right to the City through the Multigoal Tool of Citizens’ Participation: The Contribution of Participatory Budgeting

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Cities Institute.

Please note that Dr Allegretti will also be conducting a workshop on participatory budgeting on 18 & 19 May. The workshop is open to researchers, students, municipal officials and professionals working on devel­opment and built environment related fields. Please see the attached poster for more information.

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Hope to see you there!

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05

May 2015

Panel Discussion at Faces of the City seminar series

Please join us for the next seminar in the Faces of the City series next week:

The Johannesburg Conundrum: Key Dimensions of the Materialities of Delivering Infrastructure

HERMAN PIENAAR, City of Johannesburg
MIKE MULLER, School of Governance, Wits, & NPC Commissioner
MARTIN MURRAY, University of Michigan

Please note the slightly later starting time and the change in venue!

Date: 05 MAY Tuesday
Time: 16:30
Venue: Dorothy Susskind Auditorium (A1), John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

CUBES/SoAP/SA&CP/GCRO partnership hosts a panel discussion focused on the materialities of urban infrastructure provision and access to this, in the Johannesburg context. The event explores approaches taken to the provision of infrastructure during the last 20 years, and their results and impacts. The panel surfaces the contested dimensions, contrasting logics and unpredictable outcomes of service provision, service demand and consumption within the City of Johannesburg. The event complements a week of discussions focused on infrastructure at WISER.

The Faces of the City seminar series is a partnership between the SARChI in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, the Gauteng City Region Observatory, the Centre for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, and the Cities Institute.

RSVP: thammy.jezile@wits.ac.za

Hope to see you there!

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