Partners and Networks
CUBES is part of a number of international networks and platforms, including the Urban-Lab+ Network, a North-South partnership of academic centres investigating critical questions surrounding research on cities and the pedagogy of community-university engagement. On the African continent, CUBES is also active in the emerging African regional chapter of the Global Platform for the Right to the City, hosting the Africa Regional Meeting on 28 November 2015 at Wits. CUBES also participates in the African Urban Research Initiative (AURI), a network of similar centres to CUBES based at universities across the African continent.
In South Africa, a new network is forming around academic urban research centres: the Wits City Institute (WiCI), the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Urban Futures Centre at Durban University of Technology (DUT), the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria and the Chair for Education in Human Settlements Development and Management at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
For more information on CUBES's partners and partnerships see below.
CUBES and ACC initiated the development of a ‘city studies’ track in South Africa, with a first conference held at Wits in June 2009, a successful application for an National Research Foundation Knowledge Fields Development grant from CUBES in 2009-2010, a PhD workshop at UCT in May 2010, a second city studies conference at UCT in 2011, workshop at Wits in November 2012, and a conference at Wits in 2013. A substantial network of scholars has been built during this period.
The partnership between CUBES and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield (formerly called the Town and Regional Planning Department) has included the organisation of joint events and co-supervision of PhD students. Recent joint initiatives include a research focus on state-funded low-income housing developments, and in 2014 the two organisations co-hosted a side event at the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia.
From 2016 to 2018 CUBES will be partnering with the University of Sheffield on a PhD training programme, funded by the ESRC-NRF Newton Fund for Collaborative Research Urban Transformations in South Africa.
CUBES is an active member of the Global Platform for the Right to the City (GPR2C). On 28 November 2015 CUBES hosted the Africa Regional Meeting of the GPR2C at Wits. Download the programme to read more about the event.
AURI is a network of urban research centres across the African continent, many of them based at universities. Its secretariat is hosted by the African Centre for Cities (ACC). CUBES has recently shared its involvement in AURI with the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning.
CUBES is a member of HIC, a housing rights network which was formed in the late 1980s. CUBES participated in the HIC Global Meeting and General Assembly held in Nairobi in October 2017 and contributed to the following article about this gathering: http://www.hic-gs.org/articles.php?pid=7216.
The partnership with Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) has been based for several years on cooperation around Urban Design degrees in both universities, and was consolidated through an application to Erasmus Mundus to fund an international network of urban laboratories called Urban Lab+ (see below). TU Berlin's Urban Research and Design Laboratory is a member of the Urban LAb+ 'Practice Oriented' cluster, along with CUBES, University College London Urban Laboratory, and The Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA).
CUBES is the South African partner in the Urban Lab+ international network of research centres focused on research and education on cities through city studios. The network is funded by Erasmus Mundus, and driven by the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). Read more about CUBES's involvement in the Urban Lab+ network here.
A partnership is developing with the University of the Western Cape's Department of Political Studies through several joint research projects on informal economies, informal politics and urban governance and sharing and expanding CUBES's research in City Studios.
Wits University’s long-term partnership with the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Defense (France) has entailed inclusion in a number of research programmes (such as JUGURTA), the organisation of successful public academic events, and hosting senior and junior visitors for CUBES.
CUBES's members have been actively involved in a seven year (2010-2016) research project titled Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Major Collaborative Research Initiative programme and involves 50 partners on all continents. The project is headquartered at the City Institute at York University (CITY) in Canada, and is the first major research project to take stock of suburban developments around the world and attempt to alter the dialogue around suburban life. Prof Alan Mabin, now emeritus professor at Wits, visiting professor Robin Bloch, Prof Alison Todes, former post-doctoral fellow Chloé Buire and several graduate students, have been involved with the project. A number of events occurred over the course of the project including: presentations of a major review of African literature on suburbanism at York University, RC21/ISA conference in Amsterdam in 2011, African Perspectives conference at Casablanca in 2011, African Cities conference at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala in 2012, and the PARI suburbs conference in Johannesburg in 2012.