School of Geography

Tenth David M Smith lecture

28 November 2013

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Venue: ArtsOne Lecture Theatre, ArtsOne Building, Mile End Campus

Making Cities Fairer

Susan Parnell, University of Cape Town

Ideally, being born a man or a woman, African or European, Christian or Muslim should not determine an individual or group's life chances, but there is no city in the world where this holds true. The increasing concentration of wealth and poverty in cities makes urban places the crucibles of contemporary justice. Austerity, uneven growth and the increasingly complex governance arrangements under which cities are managed and citizens must make their demands, has created a less than transparent platform from which to drive an agenda to make cities fair. Building on ideas of social justice and urban utopia, the paper sets out an aspirational agenda for understanding urban inequality and disadvantage in the 21st century. The presentation draws from experiences of living under apartheid and its post democracy reconstruction but also speaks to wider global realities of urban transition.

Susan Parnell is Professor of Geography at the University of Cape Town, where she is also on the Executive of the African Centre for Cities. She previously held academic positions at Wits University in Johannesburg and SOAS in London. In 2012 she was a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at UCL. She has an established publication record on historical and contemporary issues of urban transformation, including three books published in the last year: A Routledge Handbook of Cities of the South (co-edited with S. Oldfield), Routledge; Africa's Urban Revolution, (co-edited with E. Pieterse), Zed; Global Urbanisation, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (co edited with Elmqvist, T., Fragkias, M., Funeralp, B., Marcotullio, P., McDonald, R., Sendstad, M., Seto, K., Wilkinson, C., Springer).

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