GCRO visits urban research institutes in Germany

  • GCRO
  • Date of publication: 27 February 2018

The GCRO recently undertook a series of visits to urban research institutes in Germany with whom we have shared interests. Together with Professor Philip Harrison of the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning (SA&CP), Dr. Rob Moore visited the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development in Dresden, and the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig. Prof Harrison then also visited the Centre for Metropolitan Studies at Technische Universitat Berlin. Together these three visits enabled constructive discussions about shared interests in urban development in transitional societies. In particular, how urban contexts can be adapted to give effect to the ambition for changed societal and distributive configurations arising from changed governmental regimes. The experience of trying to effect transformation in the post-apartheid era has interesting resonances, and differences, with the reconstructions that have been advanced in post-fascist and post-soviet eras in Germany. In addition reconciling the urban social and spatial disjunctures in post-reunification Berlin has significant comparative and contrastive value for a city-region like Gauteng. Discussions with these three institutes have given rise to proposals for partnered comparative studies that would explore governance, economic, socio-cultural and urban ecology themes of common interest across these urban contexts. This avenue of enquiry with European partners would complement other comparative work in the BRICS countries that is being made available through the GCRO’s partnership with Prof Harrison and the Chair in SA&CP. The theme of adaptive governance in transitional societies, and how this must find effect in more sustainable urban futures, is also likely to be a leading theme in the Metropolis deliberations planned for Gauteng later this year, and more widely into the future.


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