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Online event – ‘Contemporary planning and emergent futures: a comparative study of five capital city-regions on four continents’ Alan Mabin and Philip Harrison

July 26, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

‘Contemporary planning and emergent futures: a comparative study of five capital city-regions on four continents’ Alan Mabin and Philip Harrison  – Tuesday 26 July 2022, 16:00PM – 17:30PM (CAT).

Capital cities form the focus of a sub-field in urban studies. Much of the literature concerning their planning concentrates on their histories, and on the core precincts in which these cities of power often focus their governmental functions. Lacunae in the capital city literature include little attention to twenty-first century capital city settings in large, complex and expanding city-regions; to recent developments in broader urban literatures/city studies; and to contemporary directions of their planning and emergent futures. This article seeks to contribute to filling these gaps through a comparative study of five national capital city-regions on four continents: those of Delhi, Beijing, Paris, Pretoria and Brasília. The methods applied rest on secondary sources as well as some primary research in each of these city-regions. The presentation proceeds through a review of literatures on capital cities and relevant urban studies, and sets out a comparison of the five city-regions historically, and in terms of their current features. We then proceed to an examination of present challenges and planning approaches in each city-region. A discursive conclusion explores possibilities for the future and argues that by ‘catching up’ conceptually to contemporary trends, including debates around ‘extended urbanisation’, capital city studies, as a sub-field of urban scholarship, could play a useful role in promoting critique of policy and planning responses.

Speaker biographies:
Alan Mabin lives in Cape Town and is Emeritus Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, which he directed from 2005 to 2010.  Alan has research experience in Brasil, France, Tanzania and South Africa as well as post-apartheid government and consulting, as well as NGO experience (especially with Planact).  He co-led the Africa cluster for the Global Suburbanisms project; his recent work addresses both large city regions, and small towns. 
Philip Harrison is the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits. He has held prior academic positions at Wits and the then University of Natal. He has also held positions in national, provincial, and metropolitan government including Executive Director of Development Planning in the City of Johannesburg and Member of the National Planning Commission. He has published widely in the fields of urban policy and planning and is currently focusing on comparative urban governance with research projects in cities in Africa and across the BRICS and comparatively with North America, and on planning in South Africa.

Zoom link: https://wits-za.zoom.us/j/93584078767?pwd=VThtaGxWODZpSUI0Ukg0enh5eFZzdz09 
Meeting ID: 935 8407 8767
Passcode: 797408


July 26, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Categories:


Virtual (Zoom)


Faces of the City