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.

Dr Julia de Kadt

Research Associate

Julia was a Senior Researcher at the GCRO between May 2017 and February 2022. During her time at GCRO she managed QoL V (2017/18) and QoL 6 (2020/21), and steered a major review of the Quality of Life Survey. In the process she made major contributions to the development of systems and practices around GCRO's flagship project. She is now a portfolio head of a research programme at the international NGO Sightsavers.

Julia has a long-standing interest in the use of various empirical data, including large-scale surveys, to better understand post-apartheid South Africa. Substantively, Julia is particularly interested in issues facing youth, and access to services such as health, education, and economic opportunity.

Julia earned her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011. Her thesis explored the distances which primary school children in Johannesburg travel to attend school in the immediate post-apartheid period, relying on data from a range of sources, including the Birth to Twenty Cohort study. She also holds a Masters in political science and public policy from Princeton University, and a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Before joining GCRO Julia worked with I-TECH South Africa, and the Centre for Health Policy at Wits University, on a range of research projects exploring different approaches to the provision of health care services in South Africa, with a particular focus on the potential role of Community Health Workers.

Most recent publications

Parker, A. and De Kadt, J. (2021). ‘Aging at Home: Gauteng's elderly in the context of COVID-19’, in Doucet, B., Filion, P. and van Melik, R. (eds.) Volume 2: Housing and Home, Global Reflections on COVID-19 Urban Inequalities. Bristol: Bristol University Press, pp. 119–127.

Parker, A. Hamann, C., and de Kadt, J. (2021). ‘Accessing Quality Education in Gauteng: Intersecting Scales of Geography, Educational Policy and Inequality’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp 141–163 (access the article:

Steward, W. T., Agnew, E., de Kadt, J., Ratlhagana, M. J., Sumitani, J., Gilmore, H. J., Grignon, J., Shade, S. B., Tumbo, J., Barnhart, S. and Lippman, S. A. (2021). 'Impact of SMS and peer navigation on retention in HIV care among adults in South Africa: results of a three-arm cluster randomized controlled trial'. Journal of the International AIDS Society. Vol. 24 No. 8, e25774 .

Goudge, J., de Kadt, J. Babalola, O., Muteba, M., Tseng, Y., Malatji, H., Rwafa, T., Nxumalo, N., Levin, J. Thorogood, M., Daviaud, E., Watkins, J. and Griffiths, F. (2020). 'Household coverage, quality and costs of care provided by community health worker teams and the determining factors: findings from a mixed methods study in South Africa'. BMJ Open 2020;10:e035578. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035578

de Kadt, J., van Heerden, A., Richter, L. and Alvanides, S. (2019) 'Correlates of children’s travel to school in Johannesburg-Soweto—Evidence from the Birth to Twenty Plus (Bt20+) study, South Africa'. International Journal of Educational Development. Vol 68, July 2019, pp. 56-67.

Tseng, Y., Griffiths, F., de Kadt, J., Nxumalo, N., Rwafa, T., Malatji, H., Goudge, J. (2019) Integrating community health workers into the formal health system to improve performance: a qualitative study on the role of on-site supervision in the South African programme. BMJ Open 2019;9:e022186. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022186

Kohler, P. K., Marumo, E., Jed, S. L., Mema, G. M., Galagan, S., Tapia, K., Pillay, E., de Kadt, J., Naidoo, E., Dombrowski, J. C. and Holmes, K. K. (2017). A national evaluation using standardised patient actors to assess STI services in public sector clinical sentinel surveillance facilities in South Africa. Sexually Transmitted Infections. 93(4):247-252. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2016-052930.

McConnico, C., Jed, S. L., Marumo, E., Mazibuko, S., Mema, G. M., de Kadt, J., Holmes, K. K. and Kohler, P. K. (2017). Systems Mapping of Sexually Transmitted Infection Services at Three Clinical Sentinel Surveillance Sites in South Africa: Opportunities for Integrated Care. The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care¸ Volume 28, Issue 1. 154-164. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2016.09.004.

Lippman, S. A., Shade, S. B., Sumitani, J., de Kadt, J., Gilvydis, J., Rathlagana, MJ., Grignon, J., Tumbo, J., Gilmore, H., Agnew, E., Saberi, P., Barnhart, S. and Steward, W. T. (2016) Evaluation of short message service and peer navigation to improve engagement in HIV care in South Africa: study protocol for a three-arm cluster randomized controlled trial. Trials, 17:68.

Weaver, M. W., Pillay, E., Jed, S. L. de Kadt, J., Galagan, S., Gilvydis, J., Marumo, E., Mawandia, S., Naidoo, E., Owens, T., Prongay, V. and O’Malley, G. (2016) Three methods of delivering clinic-based training on syndromic management of sexually transmitted diseases in South Africa: a pilot study. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 92(2), 135-141.

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.

Dr Alexandra Parker was a researcher, and then senior researcher, at the GCRO between August 2016 and February 2022. During her time at GCRO she made a number of key contributions, including by building a practice around interactive visualisation of GCRO data, and science-writing (especially through the generation of multiple opinion pieces around Quality of Life findings and the impacts of COVID-19). She also built a substantial portfolio of research around gender, the impacts of COVID-19 on women, and the social identity of mothers and families trying to navigate the city. Alexandra now works in communications and advocacy at the international NGO Global Health 5050.

Alexandra's research is grounded in the disciplines of architecture and urban studies but with published scholarship in geography, media and cultural studies, feminist methodologies, identity studies, and visual representation and methods. Alexandra’s research is directed at the everyday practices and activities occurring in the city-region with interests in gender and the urban, suburbia, culture and space, and place identity. She has an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on multiple research disciplines and theories. In November 2019 she was awarded a Y-rating (awarded to promising young researchers) by the South African National Research Foundation. Alexandra believes in the power of storytelling and is inspired by recent innovations that combine data, narratives and rich visual imagery. As such, she has a growing portfolio of work that includes exhibitions, interactive data visualisations, and explainer videos.

Alexandra 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 then as a postdoctoral research fellow. She completed her PhD in town and regional planning in 2014 (Thesis Title: Images and Influence: The Role of Film in Representing Johannesburg and Shaping Everyday Practice in the City) published as the monograph Urban Film and Everyday Practice: Bridging Divisions in Johannesburg (2016, Palgrave Macmillan). Her doctoral and postdoctoral research explored the influence of urban films on everyday practice in the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. She enjoys teaching and supervising students and has taught courses in planning and architecture at the Wits School of Architecture and Planning; the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg; and a Masters course at the Università Iuav di Venezia, Italy.

Recent outputs

Parker, A. and De Kadt, J. (2021). ‘Aging at Home: Gauteng's elderly in the context of COVID-19’, in Doucet, B., Filion, P. and van Melik, R. (eds.) Volume 2: Housing and Home, Global Reflections on COVID-19 Urban Inequalities. Bristol: Bristol University Press, pp. 119–127.

Ballard, R., Parker, A., Butcher, S. de Kadt, J., Hamann, C. Joseph, K. Mapukata, S., Mkhize, T., Mosiane, N., and Spiropoulos, L. (2021). ‘Scale of Belonging: Gauteng 30 Years After the Repeal of the Group Areas Act’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 131–139. (access the article:

Parker, A. Hamann, C., and de Kadt, J. (2021). ‘Accessing Quality Education in Gauteng: Intersecting Scales of Geography, Educational Policy and Inequality’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp 141–163 (access the article:

Parker, A., & Appelbaum, A. (2020). On the defensive: the residential strategies shaping densification in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. In A. Todes, P. Harrison, M. Rubin and A. Appelbaum (eds.) Densifying the City?: Global Cases and Johannesburg, Edward Elgar Publishers: Cheltenham.

Parker, A. and De Kadt, J. (2020). ‘Close look at some South African households gives insights into COVID-19 vulnerability', The Conversation Africa, 5 August 2020.

Parker, A. and De Kadt, J. (2020). ‘Our research shows why it’s vital to protect older South Africans from coronavirus', The Conversation Africa, 26 April 2020.

Parker, A., Maree, G., Gotz, G. and Khanyile, S. (2020) Women and COVID-19 in Gauteng, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, August 2020.

Parker, A. and Hamann, C. (2020) The most densely populated areas of Gauteng, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, April 2020.

Parker, A. and De Kadt, J. (2020). [Interactive visualisation]. Household characteristics in relation to COVID-19 risks in Gauteng.

Parker, A. (2020). [Interactive visualisation]. 100 GCRO Maps of the Month.

Parker, A. and De Kadt, J. (2020). [Interactive visualisation]. Gauteng's elderly in the context of COVID-19.

Parker, A. (2018). ‘The ghetto in the cities and films of Johannesburg and Cape Town’. Journal of African Cinema, 10:1+2, pp. 65–80, doi: 10.1386/jac.10.1-2.65_1.

Parker, A. (2018). ‘The Spatial Stereotype: The Representation and Reception of Urban Films in Johannesburg’. Urban Studies. 55(9), 2057-2072. DOI: 10.1177/0042098017706885

Parker A. (2016) Urban Film and Everyday Practice: Bridging Divisions in Johannesburg. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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. (2022). Environmental policy narratives and urban green infrastructure: Reflections from five major cities in South Africa and the UK. Environmental Science & Policy, 129, 96-106.

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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