Topics: Culture and Urbanism
Regional focus: Sub-Saharan Africa
Origin: South Africa
Fellowship: Richard von Weizs├Ącker Fellow

Professor Edgar Pieterse is an urban scholar, writer and curator whose interests include the theory and practice of imaginaries to make cities in the Global South more just, open and experimental. He is founding director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) and Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning, both at the University of Cape Town and holder of the South African Research Chair in Urban Policy. His research and teaching gravitate around urban development politics, everyday culture, radical social economies, responsive design and adaptive governance systems. Through his work, he has demonstrated the possibility to produce and popularise a sophisticated and contextualized perspective on how to reimagine and remake the built environment of tough cities. He routinely provides advisory services to a variety of international and African urban development agencies and foundations.

The most recent research project focusses on the potential of Radical Social Enterprises to address the systemic economic and service delivery dysfunctions of popular neighbourhoods in African cities. This inquiry seeks to formulate an endogenous theory and application framework on how the linked crisis of infrastructural poverty and economic exclusion confronted by African youth can be addressed through innovative place-making methodologies that are design-driven, ICT enabled and constitutive of an organic circular economy logic in makeshift African cities. This focus stems from his most recent co-authored book: New Urban Worlds. Inhabiting Dissonant Times (Polity, 2017).

Moreover, he serves on various advisory boards of leading urban research centres around the world, LSE Cities (London) and the World Economic Forum: Shaping the Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative, among others. In the African context, he has been central to the growth of two key pan-African knowledge networks: Association of African Planning Schools (18 countries) and the African Urban Research Initiative (16 countries), that are anchored in the African Centre for Cities.

Last updated: 2018