Photography by:
  • Andries van der Walt

Visitors & Interns


GCRO has initiated a ‘Visitors Series’ with the aim of securing the services of visiting researchers, or practitioners to reflect on and write up their work experiences and work with the GCRO for a defined period.

The Visitors Series kicked off in 2010 with NRF Chair in Urban Planning and Modelling, Phil Harrison, taking up space in GCRO offices on 1 April 2010. The visit came to end with GCRO’s move into temporary office space at the end of August 2010, and with Prof Harrison finding alternative space in the School of Architecture and Planning. The visit laid a foundation for ongoing co-operation with Prof Harrison, as a member of the RAC, through the launching of a joint seminar series, and through the design of a collaborative book series project on spatial change in Gauteng.

Jennifer Williams, a Doctoral Student in urban planning at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, joined the GCRO in June 2013 for 6 weeks as a visiting PhD student. During this period she will be working on PhD research which investigates mixed income housing in Johannesburg.

GCRO has also initiated an internship programme. In May 2012, following a very competitive process, GCRO awarded internships to three exceptional candidates. Kavesha Damon is working principally on GIS projects and mapping support. Potsiso Phasha is work across a range of areas, but principally on the Visualising the GCR and with Sally Peberdy on her trade and peripheries projects. Kerry Bobbins has expertise in both GIS and environmental management, and is working mainly in support of GCRO’s sustainability projects. In July 2013, Daniel Kibirge was appointed as a GIS intern, assisting with GIS projects/mapping and an update of the GIS website, under the supervision of Chris Wray. The 2013/2014 GIS internship was sponsored by Esri South Africa.

LaDawn Haglund, Associate Professor in the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University at Arizona State University, accompanied by her PhD student Julie Gwiszcz, were hosted by GCRO between January and March 2014. They undertook research for a comparative study across Johannesburg, Delhi and Sao Paolo into the legal, institutional, and political mechanisms by which social rights – specifically, the human right to water and the right to a healthy environment – are being claimed and realised in practice.

GCRO hosted Prof Jenny Robinson from UCL and Prof Martin Murray from the University of Michigan for a series of discussions in June and July 2014.

In October 2014 the GCRO hosted Professor Maria Paula Meneses from Coimbra University, Portugal and the University of Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo and Dr Mpho Matsipa from Wits School of Architecture and Planning. The wide ranging discussion encompassed transformation in post-colonial cities, urban organisation and form, and trade.

Over the course of April and early May 2016, GCRO hosted Dr Carla Washbourne, a visiting researcher from STEaPP (UCL). Dr Washboune examined GCRO’s work on green infrastructure and its take-up in provincial and local government. This trip was followed up in May 2017 where Dr Washbourne continued this research. She was joined by Joanna Sawkins, an intern at STEaPP, who is working with on a project to compare and contrast the working practices of different urban observatories globally.


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