Research Associates

Dr Siân Butcher

Research Associate

Siân is a human geographer trained at the University of Minnesota where she completed her PhD in 2016. She completed her MA at the University of Cape Town in 2009. Her research interests lie in Southern Africa’s land-housing-finance nexus, state-capital relations, suburbanization, race, the social relations of property, and the urban land question.

Her PhD, titled “Infrastructures of Property and Debt: making affordable housing, race and place in Johannesburg”, investigated the changing political economy of Johannesburg’s suburban ‘affordable’ housing market. Her MA explored the ambiguous, contested and gendered forms of property ownership produced through the privatization of council housing in Cape Town and Lusaka, Zambia.

Her research has been supported by an ICGC-UWC Mellon Scholar fellowship, two University of Minnesota fellowships, and the ‘Body Politics’ project at the University of Cape Town.

Between her studies, Siân worked as a fieldwork coordinator and research assistant on projects investigating public infrastructure investment and social change in Cape Town; African suburbanisms; social mixing as global policy goal; and the transformation of mining land in Johannesburg. She has also tutored and lectured students in human geography, development sociology and social research methods, and is currently a lecturer at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Selected publications:

Butcher, S. (2019) 'Geographies and geographers of post-apartheid poverty'. In Jasper Knight & Chris Rogerson (eds) The Geography of South Africa - Contemporary Changes and New Directions. Springer. 241-252.

Butcher, S. (2018). 'Making and governing unstable territory: corporate, state and public encounters in Johannesburg’s mining land, 1909-2013'. Journal of Development Studies, 54(12), 2186-2209.

Butcher, S. (2017). Book Review – ‘Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid’, by Philip Harrison, Graeme Gotz, Alison Todes and Chris Wray (eds). Thesis Eleven, 141(1), 123–127.

Culwick, C., Götz, G., Butchers, S., Harber, J., Maree, G. & Mushongera, D. (2017) 'Doing more with less (data): complexities of resource flow analysis in the Gauteng City-Region'. Environmental Research Letters, 12, 125006.

Mabin, A., Butcher, S. & Bloch, R. (2013) ‘Peripheries, suburbanisms and change in sub-Saharan African cities’. Social Dynamics, 39(2), 167-190.

Butcher, S. & Oldfield, S. (2009) ‘De facto v/s de jure Home Ownership: Women’s Everyday Negotiations in Lusaka and Cape Town’. Feminist Africa, 13, 45-63.

Jesse Harber

Research Associate

Jesse Harber is an institutional political economist specializing in transport and urban governance; in particular, he researches the institutional conditions that enable major urban transport projects, and those that result from them. He is currently a World Bank Group-Africa Fellow working on public transport in East Africa, and a PhD researcher in the Development Studies Department at SOAS University of London.

Jesse is a research associate at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory and the Public Affairs Research Institute. He previously worked as a researcher for the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, and as a consultant for the City Support Programme and Government Technical Advisory Centre, both of South Africa’s National Treasury.

Most recent publications

Harber, J. and Bryer, M. (2020). Unrealistic expectations, unrealised: bus rapid transit in Johannesburg. GCRO Provocation. Gauteng City Region Observatory (GCRO). Johannesburg. November 2020.

Cirolia, L, Harber, J and Croese, S. (2020). Governing mobility in African cities. VREF position paper

Harber, J. (2019). Building capacity for the governance of space: the case of Johannesburg’s BRT. in: South African Cities Network, Urban governance papers. Johannesburg: SACN

Klopp, J., Harber, J. and Quarshie, M. (2019). A Review of BRT as public transport reform in African cities. VREF working paper

Harber, J. (2018). The transformation of Evelyn Street, Windhoek: transit-oriented development in practice. ArchSA. 91

Harber, J. and Joseph, K. (2018). Governing the Gauteng City-Region. GCRO Provocation. Johannesburg: Gauteng City Region Observatory.

Harber, J. Parker, A., Joseph, K. and Marree, G. (eds). (2018). Taking streets seriously. GCRO Research Report No. 8. Johannesburg: Gauteng City Region Observatory.

Harber, J. (2018). Quiet encroachments on Braamfontein, in: J. Harber et al. (eds), Taking streets seriously. GCRO Research Report No. 8. Johannesburg: Gauteng City Region Observatory.

Harber, J. (2018). One hundred years of movement control: labour (im)mobility and the South African political economy. in: T. Priya Uteng & K. Lucas (eds). Urban mobilities in the global South. New York: Routledge

Culwick, C., Götz, G., Butcher, S., Harber, Maree, G. and Mushongera, D. (2017). Doing more with less (data): Complexities of resource flow analysis in the Gauteng City-Region, Environmental Research Letters,12(12) 125006. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7c21.

Kate Joseph

Research Associate

Kate Joseph has worked on projects with the GCRO since June 2016. She holds an undergraduate social science degree from Rhodes University and completed her MA degree in political studies at Wits University in 2012. Kate also spent a semester abroad at Sciences Po, Paris studying governing the large metropolis.

She is interested in questions of belonging and how governance, urban space and people co-constitute one another. Kate likes Joburg, utopian ideals and the sea. For a number of years Kate worked at a publicity company in the arts sector and co-lectured a course on feminism in the Wits politics department. Before that she managed a small commercial gallery.

Most recent publications

Harber, J. Parker, A. Joseph, K & Maree, G. (Eds). (forthcoming) Taking streets seriously. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory

Ballard, R. Joseph, K. Hamann, C & Mkhize, T. (2017) ‘Current dynamics of social cohesion within the city of Johannesburg’. Johannesburg: prepared for the Group Strategy, Policy Coordination and Relations (GSPCR) of City of Johannesburg by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory

Joseph, K & Schuhmann, A. (2014) ‘Shifting Bodies and Boundaries: Representation of Female Soccer Players and the Shortfall within South African Press’ in Identities on the Move: Contemporary Representations of New Sexualities and Gender Identities. Silvia Pilar Castro-Borrego & Maria Isabel Romero-Ruiz (Eds.) Lexington Books: Lanham

Joseph, K. (2012) ‘Mixing soccer and sexually ‘subversive’ identities: Enabling a representational counter-culture in South Africa?’. Postamble. Vol 8(1) Counter-cultures in contemporary Africa. pp.1-13

Ramphalile, M & Joseph, K. (2009) ‘I am What I am … The Nature of Sexual Difference’ Amandla, No:11/12 Dec 2009/Jan 2010

Dr Rob Moore

Research Associate

Dr Rob Moore was the Executive Director of the GCRO from 2016 to 2021. Previously he was a Deputy Vice Chancellor at Wits University, a post he held for seven years. His work included responsibility for the advancement of the University’s strategic purposes in partnership with other institutions in society. Among other things, he assisted in developing the relationships between Wits and partners in government, industry, civil society and other universities. He was seconded as project director for South Africa’s Ministerial Review Committee on the National System of Innovation, a study conducted in 2010 and 2011 and published in 2012.

Prior to joining Wits, he spent twelve years (1992 – 2004) at the University of Cape Town researching and teaching in higher education studies, and was responsible for establishing various curriculum and educational-support initiatives. His research interests have focused on issues of higher education policy and institutional adaptation. In particular, he has published on issues of institutional responsiveness to policy, on curriculum reform, and on the governance of knowledge partnerships.

During the 1980s, he lived outside the country, mostly in newly-independent Zimbabwe, where he worked in the schooling sector. During this time he worked as an operative with the ANC’s intelligence wing.

He sits on the Boards of the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO), The Conversation Africa (TCA), the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI), and the Cradle of Humankind Trust (CoHT).

Most recent publications

Moore, R. (2016). The Gauteng City-Region Observatory – a case study. Occasional paper for the Programme to Support Pro-poor Policy Development, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the SA Presidency.

Moore, R. (2016). Connective cognition: transdisciplinarity in a precarious world. In Quaderna: Disciplines and Transdisciplinarity.

Moore, R. (2015). From concord to conflict: a conceptual analysis of a partnership for social innovation. In Bitzer, V., Hamann, R., Hall, M. and Griffin-EL, E.W. (eds.) The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation: New Frontiers in Africa. Springer and University of Cape Town Press.

Guy Trangoš

Research Associate

Guy Trangoš is a Doctor of Design candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a Research Associate at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory. He is a professional architect registered in South Africa, and has worked both professionally and academically over the past decade. Guy holds a MSc. in City Design and Social Science from the LSE, and a Master of Architecture (Professional) from the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2015, Guy launched ‘Movement Johannesburg’, a book he co-edited with Zahira Asmal, on the political and migratory movements that shaped and continue to shape Johannesburg. He has published academic journal articles, book chapter contributions and numerous articles in the media. He also lectures when possible on the history and theory of urban design, mapping and architecture, and researches the impacts of global urban process on local contexts.

He has worked as a researcher for LSE Cities, and as an architect for Mashabane Rose and Associates Architects and 26’10 south Architects, and privately as an exhibition designer and writer. In 2011 he was selected to participate in the Gwangju Biennale Foundation's Curatorial Course. Guy is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Most recent publications

Mahomed, F. and Trangoš, G. (forthcoming 2016). ‘An exploration of public attitudes towards LGBTI rights in the Gauteng City-Region of South Africa’. Journal of Homosexuality (in press)

Asmal, Z. and Trangoš, G. (2015). Movement Johannesburg. The City: Cape Town.

Trangoš, G. (2015). ‘Crash City’. In Asmal, Z. and Trangoš, G. (eds.) Movement Johannesburg. The City: Cape Town

Trangoš, G. & Bobbins, K. (2015) ‘City of Extraction: gold mining exploits and the legacies of Johannesburg’s mining landscapes’, Scenario Journal 5: Extraction. (In press).

Culwick, C., Gotz, G., Katumba, S., Trangoš, G. & Wray, C. (2015) ‘Mobility patterns in the Gauteng City-Region, South Africa’, Regional Studies, Regional Science. 2 (1), 308-310.

Dr Carla Washbourne

Research Associate

Carla is an interdisciplinary researcher working at the interface of science and public policy. She is an Associate Professor in Environmental Science and Policy at University College London (UCL), in the department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy and member of the UCL Urban Innovation and Policy Lab. Carla completed her PhD in Geosciences and MSc in Engineering Geology at the University of Newcastle (UK) and her BSc (hons) in Natural Sciences at Durham University.

Her current research seeks to understand how knowledge generated in the sciences and engineering is, and could be better, applied to decision-making in urban settings. An on-going research project with the GCRO investigates the way in which the concept of green infrastructure is being applied in the design, development and management of urban green spaces. A collaboration with GCRO, Melbourne University and UN-Habitat seeks to develop theoretical and practical understandings around the role of urban observatories in addressing contemporary urban issues.

She has previously worked in the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology as a Physical Sciences Advisor, developing interests in practical science advice and science communication for policy.

Carla teaches science, engineering and public policy modules at UCL from undergraduate to doctoral level, and co-develops and delivers continuing professional development courses internationally.

Most recent publications

Washbourne, C.-L., Dendoncker, N., et al. (2020) Improving collaboration between ecosystem service communities and the IPBES science-policy platform. Ecosystems and People. doi: 10.1080/26395916.2020.1766573

Camargo Nino, E., Lane, S., Okano, K., Rahman, I., Peng, B., Benn, H., Culwick, C., Maree, G., Khanyile, S., Washbourne, C-L. (2020) Urban agriculture in the Gauteng City-Region’s green infrastructure network. GCRO Occasional Paper # No. 15. Gauteng City-Region Observatory, Johannesburg, South Africa

Akerlof, K., Tyler, C., Foxen, S.E., Heath, E., Gual Soler, M., Allegra, A., ...Nguyen, C.T. (2019). A collaboratively derived international research agenda on legislative science advice. Palgrave Communications, 5 (1), doi:10.1057/s41599-019-0318-6

Culwick, C., Washbourne, C.-.L., Anderson, P.M.L., Cartwright, A., Patel, Z., Smit, W. (2019). CityLab reflections and evolutions: nurturing knowledge and learning for urban sustainability through co-production experimentation. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 39 9-16. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2019.05.008

Washbourne, C.-.L., Culwick, C., Acuto, M., Blackstock, J., Moore, R. (2019). Mobilising Knowledge for Urban Governance: the case of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory. Urban Research and Practice, doi:10.1080/17535069.2019.1651899

O'Farrell, P., Anderson, P., Culwick, C., Currie, P., Kavonic, J., McClure, A., ...Washbourne, C.-.L. (2019). Towards resilient African cities: Shared challenges and opportunities towards the retention and maintenance of ecological infrastructure. Global Sustainability, 2 doi:10.1017/sus.2019.16

UN-HABITAT (2018), Tracking Progress Towards Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements: SDG 11 Synthesis Report - High Level Political Forum 2018, UN, New York,

Kenny, C.A., Washbourne, C.L., Tyler, C., Blackstock, J. (2017). Science Advice to Legislatures: The case for mapping and evaluating impact. Palgrave Communications, doi:10.1057/palcomms.2017.30

Jacobs, S., Dendoncker, N., Martín-López, B.., Barton, D.N., Gomez-Baggethun, E., Boeraeve, F., ...Washbourne, C.-L. (2016). A new valuation school: Integrating diverse values of nature in resource and land use decisions. Ecosystem Services, doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.11.007


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