Centre for Urbanism & Built Environment Studies

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Southern Africa City Studies Conference


CUBES is delighted to be once again involved in hosting the Southern Africa City Studies Conference and is very pleased to be joined in this endeavour by our colleagues at the NRF Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning (SA&CP) and the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO). CUBES has a long history with the conference, having hosted the inaugural conference in 2009 at Wits under the leadership of (now) Emeritus Professor Alan Mabin, in partnership with the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at UCT.  In 2014, CUBES hosted the third iteration of the conference, held again in the John Moffat building at Wits, home of the School of Architecture and Planning.  Although this year we are sad not to be welcoming delegates in person to our campus for the fifth in the conference series, we are grateful for the combined efforts of the team, and in particular conference organiser Tamlynn Fleetwood, in enabling the event to move online. 

This conference has always welcomed cross-disciplinary perspectives and encouraged younger scholars, including post-graduate students, to come to the fore. The 2020 conference call, and the diverse submissions received for the SACSC2020, reinforce this broad and open approach to urban studies. This resonates for CUBES, which supports innovative interdisciplinary research that brings together applied empirical studies with contemporary theory and concepts. Further, where possible, the organisation embeds its work into teaching and supervision in our School, supporting the development of future researchers. In 2020, with the enormous challenges that COVID-19 has brought to every facet of life, we look especially to the energy and innovation that young scholars bring, alongside the contributions of more established researchers. We hope the conference will provide an inspiring platform at a difficult time. 

Professor Nnamdi Elleh  Director | CUBES  Head of School |School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand