Alan Mabin

Title/Position: Emeritus Professor
Department/Faculty/Institution: School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
MA (Wits) PhD (Simon Fraser)

MCRI Projects: B3: Land and Housing Markets, B5: Regional Governance and Suburbanization, B7: Transportation, B8: Everyday Suburbanisms, and C1: Africa Research Cluster (co-Team lead)

Background: Alan Mabin was born in Johannesburg, and graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1973 (BA Hons) and 1977 (MA). He worked for the City of Cape Town and taught at the then University of Natal-Durban, then studied further at Ohio State University and graduated PhD from Simon Fraser University, Canada, in 1984.

He taught in development studies, politics, geography and urban planning at Wits, being appointed Professor of Public Management in 1999. From 2005 he headed the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits, retiring from the University at the end of 2013, then leading the Capital Cities programme at the University of Pretoria till 2016. Alan has held visiting fellowships at Yale (USA) and Queen’s (Canada); Université de Paris Ouest [X]-Nanterre-La Défense, Laboratoire Architecture Ville Urbanisme Environnement, and Sciences Po in Paris, France; and Universidade de São Paulo in Brasil. He has undertaken research in Brasil, France, Tanzania and South Africa and has NGO, government and consulting experience.

Among his recent articles are pieces on ‘Suburbs in Africa?’, ‘Grounding southern city theory in time and place’ and ‘South African capital cities’. His interests are in cities and urban development.

Research interests: Local Government; Urban History; City Region; Changing Roles and Relationships of Public and Private Sectors in City Development; Suburbia.

Present research projects: ‘Think Metropole/Penser la métropole’ and ‘African suburbs’ as a co-investigator, Global Suburbs major collaborative research initiative (hosted by City Institute, York University, Toronto) (2010-2017)

Selected Publications:

Mabin, A. (2018). Challenges of university – city relationships: Reflections from Wits University and Johannesburg. In L. Bank, N. Cloete & F. van Schalkwyk (eds.) Anchored in Place: Rethinking the University and Development in South Africa. Cape Town: African Minds, pp. 85-105.

Mabin, A. (2015). In the forest of transformation: The ‘northern suburbs’ of Johannesburg.  In G. Gotz, P. Harrison, A. Todes & C. Wray (eds.) Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, pp. 395-417.

Mabin, A. (2015). Tshwane and spaces of power in South Africa. International Journal of Urban Sciences. 18 (1): 29-39.

Mabin, A. (2015). Sedimentando a Teoria da Cidade do Sul no Tempo e Lugar. Sociedade e Estado. 30 (3): 323-346.

Mabin, A. (2014). Grounding southern city theory in time and space. In S. Parnell & S. Oldfield (eds.) Routledge Handbook on Cities of the South. London, pp. 21-36.

Mabin, A. (2013). Suburbanisms in Africa? In R. Keil (ed.) Suburban Constellations. Berlin: Jovis, pp. 153-159.

Mabin, A. (2013). Spatial justice as viewed from Gauteng, South Africa: Professionals, planning, possibilities. In S. Fol, S. Lehman-Frisch & M. Morange (eds.) Ségrégation et Justice spatiale. Paris: Presses Universitaires de Paris Ouest, pp. 335-353.

Mabin, A., Bloch, R. & Butcher, S. (2013). Peripheries, suburbanisms and change in sub-Saharan African cities. Social Dynamics: A journal of African studies.

Mabin, A. (2013) The Map of Gauteng: Evolution of a City Region in Concept and Plan: Occasional Paper 5. Johannesburg: Gauteng City Region Observatory.

Mabin, A. (2011). South African capitals – enigmatic and emblematic city settings of shifting political power. In G. Therborn & S. Bekker (eds.) Capital Cities of Africa. Pretoria: HSRC.