UKZN Academics Participate in Southern African Cities Studies Conference
Academics from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) participated in the 3rd Southern African Cities Studies Conference, hosted at the Urban Futures Centre (UFC) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
The Conference brought together scholars to engage and discuss their work under themes of alternate experiments and visions in urban planning and design, through the lens of the everyday, responses to urban insecurity, the challenge of working across disciplines, and the significance of infrastructure.
The UKZN panel comprised both students and academics - Professor Matthew Dayomi, Dr Koyi Mchunu, Dr Lovemore Chipungu and Mr Emmanuel Letebele - with Dr Hope Magidimisha chairing the session. The panel spoke under the topic of “Revisiting Town Planning Practice in the Phase of Migration”.
The panellists prompted academics, researchers, policy makers, planners and practitioners to rethink fundamental questions about the limits and potential of planning and to imagine new ways to create more inclusive, diverse and adaptive communities for the betterment of the population as a whole.
They noted that the increasing number of migrants arriving in cities was a challenge which went beyond the mere understanding of migration patterns. There was need to craft intervention measures responsive to multicultural cities emerging out of this migration.
According to the panellists, most academics and practitioners acknowledge that multi-culturalism and multi-racialism are harsh realities that urban planners are grappling with in production and maintenance of urban space.
They further highlighted that what is not clear is how planners can formulate strategies to address these challenges which are the result of the burgeoning number of migrants on the urban land scape rendering some traditional planning theories and practices unresponsive and therefore redundant in addressing current and future problems.
The panellists concluded that if planners are to meet these challenges they need to develop new tools, policies, methods and programmes. They said the resurgence in immigration should not only be perceived from a negative perspective but also as an opportunity to restructure urban space.
Other UKZN academics who participated in the Conference were Professor Bill Freund, Mr Glen Robbins, Mrs Catherine Sutherland, Professor Diane Scott, Mrs Bridget Horner, Dr Miranda Young-Jahangeer and Professor Lindy Stiebel.