GCRO Staff

Nadine Abrahams

Office administrator

+27 11 717 7280

Dr Richard Ballard

Specialist Researcher

Richard Ballard trained in the field of geography, having completed an Honours Degree in Geography at the University of Natal in 1994 and a PHD in Geography at the University of Wales, Swansea, in 2002. His research has followed two broad themes.

The first is the way in which white people have experienced desegregation as experienced in post-apartheid cities. This includes reactions to street traders, shack dwellers, desegregating suburbs, and an analysis of gated communities.

The second is the way in which government and the public interact in the context of poverty and joblessness, with a particular interest in social movements, participatory mechanisms, the role of ward and PR councillors, and social policy mechanisms such as cash transfers.

His research at GCRO is on urban mixing, new large scale private developments and social cohesion.

Most recent publications

Ballard, R. and Harrison, P. (2019). 'Transnational urbanism interrupted: A Chinese developer’s attempts to secure approval to build the ‘New York of Africa’ at Modderfontein, Johannesburg.' Environment and Planning A. Online first https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X19853277

Ballard, R., Dittgen, R., Harrison, P. and Todes, A. (2017). ‘Megaprojects and urban visions: Johannesburg’s Corridors of Freedom and Modderfontein’. Transformation. 95.

Ballard, R. and Rubin, M. (2017). ‘A “Marshall Plan” for human settlements: how megaprojects became South Africa’s housing policy’. Transformation. 95.

Ballard, R. (2017). ‘Prefix as policy: megaprojects as South Africa’s big idea for human settlements’. Transformation. 95.

Ballard, R. (2017). ‘Governance and development’. In Douglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey L. Kobayashi, Weidong Liu Richard Marston (eds.) The International Encyclopaedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. London: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0643

Ballard, R. (2016). 'Whiteness and the end of apartheid - Review of Falkof, Nicky (2015) Satanism and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa: Imagining the End of Whiteness. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan'. Journal of Southern African Studies. 42(5), 1021-1022.

Ballard, R., Nel, W., Hill, T. and Maharaj, B. (2016). 'South African Geography at 100'. South African Geographical Journal. 98(3), 403-404.

Ballard, R. (2016). Review of Daniel Conway and Pauline Leonard (2014). 'Migration, space and transnational identities: the British in South Africa', Ethnic and Racial Studies. 39(13), 2427-2429. DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2016.1145718

Ballard, R. (2016). ‘Community and the balkanization of social membership’. Dialogues in Human Geography. 6(1), pp. 78–81

Ballard, R. (2015). ‘Black Middle Class in South Africa (“Black Diamonds”)’. John Stone, Rutledge Dennis, Polly Rizova, Anthony Smith, and Xiaoshuo Hou (eds.), Encyclopaedia of Race Ethnicity and Nationalism. Wiley-Blackwell. Online first DOI: 10.1002/9781118663202.wberen379, December 2015

Ballard, R. (2015). Review of James Ferguson (2015) Give a man a fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution. Duke University Press, Durham. Review published in Transformation 89.

Ballard, R. (2015). ‘Assimilation’. John Stone, Rutledge Dennis, Polly Rizova, Anthony Smith, and Xiaoshuo Hou (eds.),Encyclopaedia of Race Ethnicity and Nationalism. Wiley-Blackwell. Online first DOI: 10.1002/9781118663202.wberen380, December 2015

Ballard R. and Jones, G. (2015). ‘The sugarcane frontier: governing the production of gated space in KwaZulu-Natal’. Christoph Haferburg and Marie Huchzermeyer (eds.). Urbanization of the Earth 12: Urban Governance in Post-Apartheid Cities, Modes of Engagement in South Africa’s Metropoles. UKZN Press, Pietermaritzburg 295–311

Ballard, R. (2015). ‘Geographies of development III: militancy, insurgency, encroachment, and development by the poor’. Progress in Human Geography. 39(2). 214–224

Christina Culwick Fatti

Senior Researcher

Christina has been a researcher at GCRO since 2013. She completed both undergraduate (BSc Geography & Maths) and postgraduate studies (BScHons & MSc Geography) at Wits University. She is currently a PhD candidate in Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Cape Town. Her research interests lie at the intersection of environmental and social systems, and in particular urban sustainability transitions, resilience and disaster management, climate change, environmental governance, and transforming Gauteng towards an environmentally sustainable and socially just city-region.

Christina's research extends across a range of disciplines, with interests in collaborative knowledge creation and the role of research for informing policy and governance practices. She has presented and published her research both locally and internationally.

Beyond her GCRO work, Christina holds a postgraduate teaching diploma from UNISA and she worked as a broadcasting meteorologist for the SABC. Her climbing, traveling and photography help to sustain her love for Joburg, where she grew up and lives with her husband and daughter.

Most recent publications

Khanyile, S. and Culwick Fatti, C. (Forthcoming). 'Interrogating park access and equity in Johannesburg, South Africa'. Environment and Urbanization.

Culwick Fatti, C. (Forthcoming). 'Towards just sustainability through government-led housing: Conceptual and practical considerations'. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

C. Culwick Fatti (Ed.) (2021) In pursuit of just sustainability. GCRO Research Report No. 12. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory. https://doi.org/10.36634/FEKP4882

Washbourne, C.-L., Culwick, C., Acuto, M., Blackstock, J. J., and Moore, R. (2021). Mobilising knowledge for urban governance: The case of the Gauteng City-region observatory. Urban Research & Practice, 14(1), 27-49. https://doi.org/10.1080/17535069.2019.1651899

Culwick, C. & Patel, Z. (2020). 'Building just and sustainable cities through government housing programmes'. Environment and Urbanisation. 32(1), 133-154. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247820902661

Culwick, C. and Khanyile, S. (Eds.) (2019). Towards applying a green infrastructure approach in the Gauteng City-Region. GCRO Research Report No. 11. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

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

Culwick, C. Washbourne, CL. Anderson, P. 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. Vol 39, August 2019. pp 9-16. [online first]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2019.05.008

Culwick, C. (2019). 'Disasters and Disaster Risk Management in South Africa' in: Knight, J., Rogerson, C.M. (Eds.), The Geography of South Africa : Contemporary Changes and New Directions, World Regional Geography Book Series. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 295–304.

Culwick, C. (2018). Quality of Life IV Survey (2015/16): City Benchmarking Report. GCRO Occasional Paper, 12. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory

Culwick C. (2018). Enhancing knowledge for thinking differently about future African cities. SALGA Akanani Magazine, 14-16.

Mushongera, D., Culwick, C. (2017). Boundary organisations and the New Urban Agenda: the importance of policy research for evidence-based planning. International Development Planning Review 39(4), 368–371.

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.

Dr Julia de Kadt

Senior Researcher

Julia is a Senior Researcher at the GCRO, with a particular focus on supporting the Quality of Life Survey. She 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.

More recently, Julia has 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

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.

Graeme Götz

Director of Research Strategy

Graeme is Director of Research at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, where he works with a team of researchers to define and drive the research agenda of the GCRO.

Until June 2009, Graeme was a Specialist: Strategy & Policy in the Central Strategy Unit, Office of the Executive Mayor, at the City of Johannesburg. He developed a number of strategies including the 2006 Growth and Development Strategy and the 2007 Inner City Regeneration Charter.

Before joining the City he was a consultant for four years, specialising in local government and urban development. During this period he was the principal author of the 2004 State of South African Cities Report.

Between 1997 and 2001 he was a member of staff at the Graduate School of Public & Development Management (P&DM), University of the Witwatersrand, serving as Manager of the Local Government Programme, lecturer on the Masters of Management: Public & Development Management, and designer and convener of the MM: Local Governance and Development. In 1995 and 1996 he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies.

Graeme’s academic work focuses on city development and urban renewal, urban economic development, local government, government strategy, intergovernmental relations and state theory.

Most recent publications

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.

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

Götz, G. & Schäffler, A. (2015) ‘Conundrums in implementing a green economy in the Gauteng City-Region’, in journal special issue edited by Simon, D. & Leck H. ‘Bearing the brunt of environmental change: understanding adaptation and transformation challenges in urban Africa’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 13, April 2015, 79-87.

Harrison, P. Götz, G. Todes, A. & Wray, C. (eds.) (2014) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press.

Harrison, P. Götz, G. Todes, A. & Wray, C. (2014) ‘Materialities, subjectivities and spatial transformation in Johannesburg’, in Harrison, P. et al (eds.) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press.

Götz, G. Wray, C. & Mubiwa, B. (2014) ‘The ‘thin oil of urbanisation’? Spatial change in Johannesburg and the Gauteng City-Region’, in Harrison, P. et al (eds.) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press.

Götz, G. & Todes, A. (2014) ‘Johannesburg’s urban space economy’, in Harrison, P. et al (eds.) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid. Johannesburg, Wits University Press.

Christian Hamann


Christian completed his undergraduate studies in Town and Regional Planning at the University of Pretoria before embarking on a Honours degree in Geography (BSocSci Hons), also at the University of Pretoria. He then enrolled for a Master’s degree in Geography at the University of South Africa, which he completed at the beginning 2016. His research interests primarily relate to the Changing Social Fabric and Landscapes in Transition research themes but he enjoys engaging in a variety of projects related to analytics, cartographies and visualisations. His most recent work focussed on socio-spatial change, specifically racial-residential segregation and socio-economic inequality.

Most recent publications

Hamann, C. & Horn, A. C., 2015: Continuity or Discontinuity? Evaluating the Changing Socio-Spatial Structure of the City of Tshwane, South Africa, Urban Forum, 26 (1), 39 – 57.

Samkelisiwe Khanyile


Samkelisiwe Khanyile joined the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as an intern in 2016 and became a junior researcher in 2017. Before that, she worked as a GIS student assistant at the GCRO.

She obtained a MSc in GIS and Remote Sensing from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2016, where she is also currently enrolled for a PhD. Her PhD project is investigating the application of GIS in enabling the integrated conceptualisation, visualisation, analysis of the contemporary and historical characteristics of the urban post-mining landscape of Gauteng.

She has a broad interest in data access and data quality, in particular, data that can be used to inform evidence-based urban planning and governance. Her specific interests include investigating the impact of mining legacies on natural and human communities, access to mining-related geospatial, environmental justice-related issues and the applications of geographic information systems (GIS) for informing sustainable and equitable urban development. Samkelisiwe also has a keen interest in analytics, cartographies and visualisations.

Most recent publications

Crous, C., Owen, J.R., Marais, L., Khanyile, S. and Kemp, D. (2020). Public disclosure of mine closures by listed South African mining companies. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management. [Online first] https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.2103

Parker, A., Maree, G., Gotz, G. and Khanyile, S. (2020) How COVID-19 puts women at more risk than men in Gauteng, South Africa, The Conversation, 21 December 2020.

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

Culwick, C. and Khanyile, S. (Eds.) (2019). Towards applying a green infrastructure approach in the Gauteng City-Region. GCRO Research Report No. 11. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Khanyile, S. and Ballard, R. (2019). Spatial variation of political attitudes in the Gauteng-City Region, PositionIT, 19 May 2019.

Parker, A. and Khanyile, S. (2019). Graffiti is an eye-catching way to create lively spaces in cities, The Conversation, 08 April 2019.

Parker, A., Khanyile, S. and Joseph, K. (2019). Where do we draw the line: Graffiti in Maboneng, Johannesburg. Gauteng City-Region Observatory Occasional Paper no.14, Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory. March 2019.

Khanyile, S. N. (2016) Digital platform for mining activity data, Position IT, 14 July 2016.

Gillian Maree

Senior Researcher

Gillian Maree is a Senior Researcher at the GCRO. She is an Urban Planner specialising in sustainability, environmental management and spatial planning; with a specific interest in water and biodiversity.

Gillian has worked in both the public and private sectors examining how urban and infrastructure development relates to sustainability, natural resource management, spatial planning and policy. Before joining the GCRO she worked at the South African Cities Network (SACN) as a Researcher within the Sustainable Cities programme and had a project focus on water, climate change, urban indicators and support to local government on environmental issues. From 2001 to 2007 she worked at the CSIR as a researcher in systematic biodiversity planning, water resources management, GIS and governance.

Her research interests focus on the intersection, and interdisciplinarity, between science, society and spatial planning within urban environments. Recent work has brought a strong focus cities, indicator development and data management what this means for more sustainable urban areas.

Most recent publications

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

South African Cities Network (2016) 'Chapter 5: Sustainable Cities' in State of South African Cities Report 2016, SACN: Johannesburg

South African Cities Network (2016) 'Data Almanac' in State of South African Cities Report 2016, SACN: Johannesburg

Mamokete Matjomane


Mamokete Matjomane holds an MSc in Town and Regional Planning with an urban studies focus from Wits University. She is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her PhD project investigates the role and influence that street trader organisations have on policy and its implementation through a comparative study between City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni in Gauteng and Ahmedabad in India.

Mamokete’s research interests include street vending policy making and implementation in cities of the South; participatory governance as a tool for transformation, township economies and issues of spatial transformation and social justice.

Sthembiso Pollen Mkhize

Junior Researcher

Sthembiso Pollen Mkhize joined the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as a Research Intern for the Quality of Life survey in late 2019, and was promoted to a Junior Researcher position in late 2021. During the time at the GCRO, Sthembiso has grown as a young professional and researcher, and have contributed to the organisation’s research work, organisational tasks, and government engagements.

Sthembiso obtained his Masters in Population Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2019. His research was an exploratory assessment of health services in meeting sexual health needs of LGBT youth in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. His work was recognised and acknowledged by the university, media/newspapers and several health organisations that focus on health promotion and disease prevention for key populations.

As an emerging researcher, Sthembiso’s research centres around understanding the influence of structural entities on LGBT youth development and health. His research interests continue to broaden and extend across multiple constructs that lie at the heart of promoting quality of life and wellbeing, health, development, and social justice for the marginalised individuals. Sthembiso continues to be driven by his interest regarding the problems that beset Africa and its people, and is planning to positively influence the diverse society through a career research and advocacy.

Most recent publications

Hatcher, A., de Kadt, J., Mkhize, S. P. & Parker, A. (2021). ‘Fixing data blind spots is the key to solving violence against women and children. Daily Maverick, October 2021.

Mkhize, S. P., de Kadt, J. & Parker, A. (2021). ‘Gauteng health and wellbeing survey highlights the plight of women and black Africans. Daily Maverick, September 2021.

De Kadt, J., Hamann, C., Mkhize, S. P. & Parker, A. (2021). Quality Of Life Survey 6 (2020/21): Overview Report. GCRO Data Brief, September 2021.

Hamann, C., Mkhize, S. P., de Kadt, J. & Naidoo, Y. (2021). Quality of Life V (2017/18) survey viewer. GCRO Interactive Data Visualisation, June 2021.

De Kadt, J., Hamann, C. & Mkhize, S. P. (2021). What are participants telling us as we collect data for the next QoL survey? GCRO Map of the Month, February 2021.

Mkhize, S. P., & Maharaj, P. (2021). Meeting the Sexual Health Needs of LGBT Youth: Perceptions and Experiences of University Students in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Journal of Social Service Research, 47(1), 56-72.

Mkhize, S. P. (2020). COVID-19 cases in children and adolescents (0-19 years) in Gauteng. GCRO Vignette 38, December 2020.

Mkhize, S. P., & Maharaj, P. (2020). Structural violence on the margins of society: LGBT student access to health services. Agenda, 34(2), 104-114.

Thembani Mkhize


Thembani completed his MSc in Town and Regional Planning (Urban Studies) at Wits University in 2014. His research report, titled 'Managing Urban (Neighbourhood) Change for whom? Investigating the Everyday Practices of Building Managers in eKhaya Neighbourhood CID Hillbrow South,' explored the relationship between external and internal space management in inner-city Johannesburg’s Residential City Improvement Districts (RCIDs). The research uses (the everyday governance practices of) property caretakers – in their capacity as ‘transmission belts’ between tenants and other stakeholders in the RCID (property owners, the City, CBOs, etc.) – to understand the particularities and peculiarities of this relationship. The study is particularly interested in the extent to which the eKhaya property managers - via their everyday governance practices - appropriate, bend, resist, accept and adhere to norms governing the RCID, and what this means for inner-city management. He is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society (GKIHS) and was also a recipient of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Planning Summer School Award.

In 2015, Mkhize was one of ten young researchers researching and writing up on innovative local and international responses to urban pressures that could be replicated in the South African context, and which will be documented in an edited book yet to be published by the DPME and the University of the Witwatersrand. He used eKhaya, in its capacity as an innovative response to urban crime and grime. Between late 2015 and early 2016, he assisted the DPME research team with the searching, collation, organisation, appraisal and coding literature on human settlements, in a project titled Evidence Mapping exercise in preparation for a Systematic Review in Human Settlements

With a research report titled The Challenges posed by the Political (Re)Branding of Competitive South African Cities: The case of (City and Street Name Changes in) Pretoria/Tshwane, Mkhize in 2012 graduated at the top of his class in the BSc(Hons) Urban and Regional Planning programme. The research report explored the extent to which branding/marketing and politics, two fundamentally different disciplines/concepts, converge and make themselves spatially manifest in the renaming of post-apartheid South Africa’s streets and big cities.

Most recent publications:

Mkhize, T. (2018). 'Urban crime and grime: lessons from Hillbrow’s eKhaya Residential City Improvement District. In P. Harrison and M. Rubin (eds.), Urban Innovations: Researching and documenting innovative responses to urban pressures. Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME): Pretoria, pp. 66–93.

Ruth Mohamed

Finance and Office Manager

+2711 717 7286

Ruth joined Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) as the Finance and Office Manager in March 2018, and is responsible for the financial health of the organisation.

Before joining GCRO, Ruth was at the Centre of Excellence for Bio-Medical TB Research, University of Witwatersrand, and she was responsible for the financial well-being and administration of the lab. Prior to this, she was a Junior Accountant at Fujifilm SA, the world’s largest photographic and imaging company. Ruth was also with Pick n Pay Retail and Clothing Division in various retail and financial positions for 16 years prior to moving from Cape Town to Johannesburg in 2008

Dr Ngaka Mosiane

Senior Researcher

My research interests centre around, provocatively, ‘the transformative potential of cities’. I use numerous entry points into this area of research. The first one is livelihoods, through which I examine how ordinary people use the city’s resources to reshape their lives within the context of changes in historical practices of livelihood formation, landscape forms and social identities. The second entry point is the state’s spatial interventions – the ways in which such interventions (the Master Plan, for example) facilitate and/or hinder ordinary people’s livelihood activities. The third vantage point into exploring the transformative potential of cities is the ways in which social payments, (local) state spending, and basic municipal services contribute to ordinary people’s livelihood assets. Taken together, I deploy these themes to reflect on the extent to which ordinary people are able to harness the city’s resources to build livelihoods and to use such livelihood assets to pursue their aspirations.

My other area of research interest is the intellectual history of informal housing: its major dimensions, the changes in the way this topic has been treated over time, the current emphases and future directions of informal housing research, theory, and methodology.

Most recent publications

Mosiane, N. (2021). 'Livelihoods, the Body and the Space of Phokeng, Rustenburg'. In: L. Marais, M. Campbell, S. Denoon-Stevens, and D. Van Rooyen (eds.). Mining and Community in the South African Platinum Belt: A Decade after Marikana, Nova Science Publishers, New York: Nova. pp. 39–68.

Mosiane, N. (2019) 'Review of AbouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse (2017) New Urban Worlds: inhabiting dissonant times', Transformation 99, pp 133-135

Mosiane, N.B. (2019). ‘Informal Housing’ in Orum, A. and Smiley, S. (ed.) The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Urban and Regional Studies. London: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781118568446.eurs0536

Mosiane, N.B. (2019). 'Credit, cash transfers, and distributive neoliberalism'. African Studies 78(1). pp 152-164 DOI: 10.1080/00020184.2018.1495388

Mosiane, N.B. (2012) Review of Sarah Mosoetsa (2011) Eating from One Pot: The dynamics of survival in poor South African households, African Affairs, doi: 10.1093/afraf/ads011.

Mosiane, N.B. (2011) Livelihoods and the transformative potential of cities: Challenges of inclusive development in Rustenburg, North West Province, South Africa, The Singaporean Journal of Tropical Geography, 32 (1): 38-52.

Mosiane, N.B. (2009) Landscapes of Flexibility or Landscapes of Marginality? Spaces of Livelihood Formation in a Changing South African City, GeoJournal, 74, 541–549

Darlington Mushongera

Senior Researcher

Darlington has been a researcher at the GCRO since August 2011. With a background in economics and urban planning, Darlington’s research interests span across a number of areas including poverty, inequality, development indicators, benchmarking, and urban governance. Darlington is an expert in multidimensional methods of measuring poverty and in developing tools for measuring and assessing the performance of government. More recently, Darlington has taken keen interest in understanding state practices in infrastructure planning using ethnographic methods with a particular focus on water services planning in the City of Johannesburg.

Darlington hold Bsc, Msc and MPhil degrees and is currently a PhD candidate in Town and Regional Planning in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, under the Practices of the State in Urban Governance (PSUG) programme. His research is entitled “The role of data and knowledge in urban governance. Managing water services in the City of Johannesburg”.

Most recent publications

Mushongera, D., P. Zikhali, and P. Ngwenya (forthcoming). Multidimensional poverty in post-apartheid South Africa: The case of Gauteng Province. In Maphosa, B. (ed) Layers of inequality: Reflections from Africa. UNISA Book series.

Katumba, S. Cheruiyot, K. and Mushongera, D. (2019). Spatial change in the concentration of multidimensional poverty in Gauteng, South Africa: Evidence from Quality of Life Survey data, Social Indicators Research. 145(1), August 2019. pp 95-115. DOI 10.1007/s11205-019-02116-w

Mushongera, D. (2018). Poverty and Inequality in the GCR. GCRO Research Report #10, June 2018.

Cheruiyot, K and Mushongera D. (2018). Testing Economic Growth Convergence and Its Policy Implications in the Gauteng City-Region, in K. Cheruiyot (2018) The Changing Space Economy of City-Regions, pp. 213-239.

Mushongera, D., Culwick, C. (2017). Boundary organisations and the New Urban Agenda: the importance of policy research for evidence-based planning. International Development Planning Review 39(4), 368–371.

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.

Mushongera, D., P. Zikhali, and P. Ngwenya (2017). A multidimensional poverty index for Gauteng Province, South Africa: Evidence from Quality of Life Survey Data. Social Indicators Research Vol 13:277-303.

Mushongera, D. (2017). Beyond GDP in assessing development in South Africa: The Gauteng City-Region Socio-Economic Barometer. Development Southern Africa Vo. 34, No. 3, 330-346.

Mushongera, D., C. Abrahams and Z. Ebrahim (2017). A Caring City – what matters every day to ordinary people in the city. A new way of assessing the performance cities across the world. Research Report.

Mushongera, D. (2015). The GCRO Barometer 2014. GCRO Occasional Paper series

Mushongera, D. (2015). The GCRO Barometer 2014. Interactive visual

Mushongera, D. (2013). Prices and earning in the Gauteng City-Region. Johannesburg in comparison to major world cities. GCRO Data Brief publication

Mushongera, D. (2012). Key findings from Statistics South Africa’s 2011 National Census for Gauteng. GCRO Data Brief publication

Mushongera, D. (2011). Summary of Gauteng results from the 2010 General Household Survey. GCRO Data Brief publication

Yashena Naidoo

Junior Researcher

Yashena completed her undergraduate degree in 2015 and Honours in Geoinformatics (with distinction) the following year at the University of Pretoria. She is currently working towards her Masters in Geoinformatics with a project related to evaluating novel street-addressing approaches in South African settlements. Before joining the GCRO, Yashena was part of Rand Water’s GIS graduate programme. Yashena’s research interests relate to the analysis of urban landscapes, with a focus on the varying spatial patterns and socio-economic factors within rapidly changing urban settlements.

Dr Alexandra Parker

Senior Researcher

Alexandra Parker is a mid-career researcher 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 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 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.

Most recent outputs

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.

Rashid Seedat

Executive Director

+27 11 717 7287

Rashid Seedat is the Executive Director of the GCRO. Between 2011 and mid-2021, Rashid Seedat headed planning in the Gauteng Office of the Premier, where he was responsible for strategic, spatial and infrastructure planning and performance monitoring and evaluation. He also headed the Delivery Support Unit that is aimed at accelerating delivery across provincial departments. He previously headed the Central Strategy Unit in the City of Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor’s office. He is a trustee of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and a member of the Council for the University of the Witwatersrand. Rashid studied at Wits University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in public management and development planning.

Melinda Swift

Senior Manager: Partnerships and Operations

+27 11 717 7280

Melinda Swift is the GCRO's Operations and Partnerships Manager. She has a background of twenty years in the civil service, most recently as the Specialist Advisor for Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy, in the national Department of Environmental Affairs. She has a background in implementing integrated projects in multi-stakeholder environments and has previously worked for the Gauteng Provincial Government in community-based natural resource management projects, the environmental sector Expanded Public Works Programmes, and in the listing and development of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Her focus is on developing organisational effectiveness and supportive networks, and purposeful project management.


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