The South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning

Permanent URI for this collection

The South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning is situated in the School of Architecture and Planning, at the University of the Witwatersrand and is headed by Prof Philip Harrison. This collection includes research outputs from the programme, including those under its previous name, the South African Research Chair in Development Planning and Modelling. For information on accessing The South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning collection content please contact Janie Johnson via email : For information on accessing Architecture content please contact Bongi Mphuti via email : or Tel (W) : 011 717 1978.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Item
    BRICS Cities: Facts & Analysis 2016
    (South African Cities Network, 2017) Harrison, Philip; Yang, Yan
    BRICS Cities: Facts & Analysis is a compendium of research produced through a partnership between the South African Cities Network (SACN) and the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning (SA&CP) in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand. It presents key general and thematic descriptive and comparative information about urban growth and development in the five BRICS states: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The comparative analysis includes a section relating to cities in Africa, while the detailed Factsheets cover thirty-one of the largest BRICS cities. BRICS Cities provides a first-of-its-kind research base to inform ongoing sub-national BRICS research and policy consideration. Recent reports on urbanization point out that over the next 20-30 years, almost all of the expected growth in the world population will be concentrated in the urban areas of the less developed countries of which a significant 42% will occur in cities in BRICS countries. Despite the fact that the distribution of the urbanization figures will be highly unequal between the different countries, considering the currently high levels of urbanization in Russia and Brazil and the extremely low levels (just over 35%) in India, the realities of large scale urbanization can and no doubt will have substantial impacts on the material conditions of urban life, governance, service provision, social relations and the environment. There has also been, and will continue to be, the expansion of networks of all kinds far beyond designated urban boundaries. In some cases, these challenges and the expanding boundaries have been met with additional layers of government, innovations in policy-making, and the reconfiguring of relationships between urban actors. However little is known in a comparative sense around some of the most important sites and cities in the BRICS countries , and insufficient research has been undertaken to learn from the differences that have been identified. The SACN and SA&CP, in line with our mutual interest around the nature and shape of urbanization and urban processes in South Africa and in BRICS countries, have developed a compendium of comparable information around key cities in the BRICS countries. BRICS Cities will serve as a useful reference of important base line information but also offers comment on the state of key areas of shared concern: innovation-driven economies, transport and mobility, and green energy. Furthermore, the publication provides a careful analysis of these factors in a comparative and relational framing.
  • Item
    Public Art. Aesthetic, Evocative and Invisible?
    (South African Research Chair in Development Planning and Modelling, School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand together with the Johannesburg Development Agency, City of Johannesburg., 2014-05) Harrison, Kirsten; Phasha, Potsiso
    This paper will focus on Inner City City-commissioned artworks and will explore whose reality the artworks represent in a constantly evolving and complex city and what contribution the pieces make, if any, to modifying public space3. The City’s Public Art Policy contends its objectives to be: ‘To celebrate Johannesburg’s unique character and identity and enhance the urban environment through a vibrant, diverse city-wide program of public art.’(JDA, 2011:4). It is thus pertinent to examine whether or not city residents agree that this objective has been met. And further, should the objectives not include debate or interaction?
  • Item
    Back to the Streets; Exploratory research on pedestrian life and walking spaces in the Greater Johannesburg area
    (South African Research Chair in Development Planning and Modelling, School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand., 2012) Cabaret, Alice
    The aim of this exploratory research is to identify the different aspects and trends of the pedestrian practices in the Greater Johannesburg area. This has been achieved by the use of “street models” encapsulating the different socio-demographic profiles of pedestrians as well as their uses of space, based on site visits and social surveys....... This research aims at being exploratory and at providing a first understanding of pedestrian life and walking spaces in Johannesburg. It also looks at the challenges to their development, based on the comparative analysis of street models. The research provided provisional answers to questions posed, but also raised additional complex questions to be interrogated. The research method itself assumes that the findings cannot be perfectly representative: rather they serve as a base for preliminary conclusions and further research.