Spatial Analysis and City Planning

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Our Team

The SA&CP is made up of a diverse group of staff, researchers, and students. Explore below to view profiles and learn more about our research team.

Staff Profiles

Prof. Philip Harrison

NRF Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning

Professor Philip Harrison is the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning funded by the National Research Foundation and hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand. From 2006 to 2010 he was Executive Director in Development Planning and Urban Management at the City of Johannesburg. Prior to that, he held academic positions at the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Natal. He also served as a member of the National Planning Commission from 2010 to 2015, participating in the formulation of the National Development Plan. He has published widely in the fields of city planning and regional and urban development and is currently working on projects relating to city-region governance, pandemic governance, recent histories of planning in South Africa, and large-scale project investment in African cities. | Profile

Dr Sylvia Croese

Senior researcher

Sylvia Croese is a senior researcher in the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is an urban sociologist and previously worked as a researcher with the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town where her work examined the localization of global urban policy in African cities, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals. She has published widely on urban politics, governance and planning in Southern and Lusophone Africa through the lens of housing, land, urban infrastructure, mobility and knowledge co-production, including three co-edited books. Currently, she works alongside Professor Philip Harrison on the Making Africa Urban project, managing the research in Dar es Salaam as well as the workings of transnational developmental investment circuits in Dar es Salaam, Accra and Lilongwe.

Academia profile | LinkedIn profile | ORCiD

Dr Miriam Maina

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Mncedisi Siteleki

Postdoctoral Fellow


Researcher Profiles

Alli Appelbaum


Alexandra Appelbaum is researcher at SA&CP who holds a Masters in Regional and Urban Planning Studies (with distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Urban History (in the first class) and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History (with distinction), both from the University of Cape Town.

Her research interests are broad, meeting at the intersection of History, Geography, Urban Studies and Gender Studies. They include African urbanisms, discourse analysis, LGBT+ and gender issues, urban poverty reduction, informal trading, gated communities and urban governance. She is passionate about research that has impacts both within and beyond academia.

At SA&CP she is the project manager for the AFD-funded Corridors of Freedom project, in which she is working with a team of researchers to aid the City of Johannesburg in their ambitious plan to ‘restitch’ Johannesburg, level apartheid spatial inequality and forge a more public-transport-oriented city.

Before joining SA&CP, Alli worked in consulting and the NGO sector. She received a Commonwealth Scholarship through the Canon Collins Trust in 2014 to study for her Masters at LSE and she was a member of the South Africa Washington International Programme in 2012. She was recognised by the Mail & Guardian as one of South Africa’s ‘Top 200 Young South Africans’ in 2016.



Dr Tanya Zack

Visiting Senior Lecturer

Dr Tanya Zack is a South African planner specializing in urban policy, regeneration, informality and sustainable development. She has been an advisor and consultant in the development arena for over 25 years and has worked locally and internationally with senior level clients in government, academic institutions, the private sector, and directly with the communities.

Research interests: Migration, micro-business, inner city, policy development  | ORCiD | Website

Prof. Margot Rubin

Associate Professor

Margot is a Lecturer in Spatial Planning at the Cardiff University School of Geography and Planning and a visiting lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning and a Research Associate with the Gauteng City Region Observatory. Her research explores key questions of urban sustainability through lenses such as housing provision and mobility, framed by broader theoretical analyses of governance and gender. Largely focused on the Global South, her work draws on research networks that span multiple countries. 

rubinmargot@gmail.comORCiD | LinkedIn |   Profile 

 Student Profiles   

Irene Ngunjiri

PhD Student

Irene Ngunjiri is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at the School of Architecture and Planning, in the NRF’s South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis & City Planning Centre. Her PhD research explores Everyday Water Governance in informal settlements in Nairobi and Johannesburg under the supervision of Dr. Margot Rubin and Prof. Daniel Irurah. The study will involve a micro-level analysis of the everyday practices and negotiations of water access, use and disposal of denizens in informal settlements.

She has published a number of journal articles, presented papers in several international conferences and is a co-author of Entrepreneurship and Communication a book published by Focus Publications.

Previously, she was the Deputy Registrar Academic and Student Affairs at Strathmore University in Kenya and lecturer in the Strathmore Institute of Public Policy and Governance (SIPPG) and at Strathmore Business School (SBS). She holds an MBA and a BCOM degree (First Class Honors) from the University of Nairobi. She is a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya (CPA)K.

Patricia Theron

PhD Student

Patricia Theron (1987, Marseille, France) is a designer, editor, writer and researcher, currently registered for a PhD in Architecture and Spatial Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand. She completed her Master’s Thesis in Architecture in 2015 at the University of Pretoria, entitled ‘A New Political Landscape at the Union Buildings’. Her background within the field has involved a combination of practice and study, but her work within a variety of architecture, heritage and urban-focussed practices began to take shape around the written communication of the spatial design disciplines, eventually leading into publishing. In 2017 she worked in the capacity of Managing-Editor, within the Domus Africa Bureau, on the production of the ‘Future African Cities Supplement’ to the July/August edition of Domus International, Issue 1015. The Supplement, which featured six African cities and their futures, was released worldwide to Domus’ 100 000 print subscriber-base in 89 countries. As a lead researcher and major contributor to the publication, she conducted research into the following areas: smart cities, knowledge economies, city-regions, and the benchmarking of African cities. Since 2016, she has been teaching design and theory at different institutions across Gauteng, and working in practice, most recently at GAPP Architects and Urban Designers, on a range of architectural and urban projects, including two property assessment projects for the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development. Her doctoral research is a study of the city of Lagos, focussing on the paradox between formal mechanisms of planning and the informal processes which are driving development in that city. 

Chido Muzanenhamo

PhD Student

Chido Muzanenhamo has BA, BA Honours and MA degrees (all with distinction) from Wits. Chido's research interests include Gender Studies, African Urbanisms, Transnationality and the temporalities of migration in the African borderlands. I am also interested in Labour in the Global Economy, particularly, the informal economy, and use of informal spaces.