As part of the MCRI Global Suburbanisms, the regional research group on Africa organized a workshop on Africa’s New Suburbanisms in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 17-19, 2016. Organized by the local hosts at the Wits City Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg under the leadership of Robin Bloch and Alan Mabin, the workshop was held at the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Study, at the University of Johannesburg in Melville. ICF International and the City Institute at York University co-sponsored the event.
The workshop began with a guided tour of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. It continued with two full days of panels and paper presentations by researchers from across Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroun, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania) and members of the MCRI from abroad including members of the initiative’s Advisory Board, Teresa Caldeira (Berkeley) and Abidin Kusno (York University). A broad range of papers covered case studies and theoretical analysis from Cairo to Cape Town and from Accra to Dar-es-Salaam. The papers will be the basis of an edited book in preparation for the Global Suburbanisms book series with University of Toronto Press.
A copy of the workshop program can be downloaded here.
Critical Urban Planning Workshop in Johannesburg
Alongside the scholarly conference, the visitors had many opportunities to meet local and regional colleagues, activists and decision makers. In connection with the workshop, Professor Ute Lehrer from York University brought 11 graduate students from the Faculty of Environmental Studies planning program to Johannesburg for a planning studio dealing with regional housing issues in the Johannesburg region.
Before heading to South Africa, students prepared for the trip by researching and reading about the major themes of the workshop. The students gave presentations on land use, housing and growth boundaries to prepare them for what they would be observing and experiencing in Johannesburg.
Upon returning to York University, students compiled their research and experience into a report documenting what they learned during their field experience in Johannesburg.
You can read the report Urbanism and Planning in Johannesburg: A Northern Perspective here.