UCT students shortlisted for RTPI student award

17 Aug 2016 - 11:45

Kate Hogarth and Adam van Heerden, are two out of five students, who are shortlisted for a Royal Town Planning Institute Student Award in Research Excellence. They graduated from UCT in 2015 with a Master of City & Regional Planning degree from the School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics. The winner will be announced on Wednesday 7 September at the annual UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference held at the Cardiff University.

Kate Hogarth was supervised by Professor Vanessa Watson, and her dissertation title is Leveraging the Private Sector to Enable the Delivery of Well-located Affordable Housing in Cape Town.

Affordable housing in Cape Town tends to be located far away from economic opportunities, social facilities and public transport infrastructure, which reinforces inequality and inhibits efficient functioning of the city. This dissertation explores the current challenges in bringing well-located, affordable housing to market in Cape Town; the opportunities for greater private sector participation; and the public interventions required to enable actors to overcome these challenges and capitalise on the opportunities. These issues and interventions are gradually refined from a global scale to a local area, namely Parow train station precinct within the Voortrekker Road Corridor in Cape Town, South Africa.

Kate said, “I'm excited and honoured for my research to be recognised internationally, and I think it's a fantastic reflection on the high standard of education and research at UCT. I feel very fortunate to have benefited from world-class lecturers and resources.”

Kate is currently based in London, on a mission to experience cities and cultures around the world. She hopes to come back to South Africa with a broadened perspective, ready to contribute towards improving the quality of urban life. 

Adam van Heerden was supervised by A/Professor Tanja Winkler, and his dissertation is entitled Valuing Waste and "Wasting Value: Rethinking Planning with Informality by learning from ‘Skarrelers’ in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs

This research involved genuine engagement with a highly marginalized subset – a group of homeless 'waste pickers'/'skarrelers' in Cape Town, who eke out a survival on the margins of prime urban spaces by either selling or re-using discarded waste material with value. Emphasis was placed on learning from research participants and planning 'with' informality rather than 'for' it, while exploring the multiple and complex variety of ways in which skarrelers' actions and movements are circumscribed, consequently impacting their abilities to transcend current living conditions. At the heart of this enquiry lay questioning the assumed value that models of participatory planning could contribute to both process and outcome, with findings suggesting that these particular values and desires may in fact be less universally applicable than planners have previously considered. Equally important however, was the finding that an ethic of care and justice may in fact be more broadly applicable base values when engaging and mobilizing marginalized groups around public planning agendas.

“Being shortlisted for this award is very exciting. Firstly, for me and my supervisor, Tanja Winkler,” said Adam. “Being recognised for this research on the international stage validates the midnight oil burned, and the longer term psychological investment that one makes when undertaking social research with a highly marginalised group such as this.  But importantly, it's exciting for planning as a profession, because it demonstrates a recognition among top professionals in our industry, of the need for alternative approaches to planning in the South, as well as for planning with marginalised groups in the North.  This humbles the profession into learning from the communities they plan with, adopting a truly relational approach.” Adam is currently living in Amsterdam and looking for urban planning/research work.

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