Nancy Odendaal

Nancy Odendaal


Nancy Odendaal is a Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics on the Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning, University of Cape Town, South Africa. From 2009 to 2012, she was based at the African Centre for Cities, at the University of Cape Town, where she worked on curricula reform and on building a network of planning schools across Anglophone Africa. This network, the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), now has 54 members and has worked with UNHabitat and Cities Alliance in promoting more contextually relevant planning education. Nancy is the co-chair of the governing council of the Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN), an international umbrella body of ten regional planning schools associations and incoming chair of the Association of African Planning Schools.

Nancy’s work focuses on three, often overlapping, areas of research: spatial planning, planning education and urban infrastructure. She has published on the role of technology in urban change, the use of technological tools in the urban planning process and the relationship between spatial change, service delivery and networked infrastructure. Recent work on planning education and research methodology in Africa has reinforced an interest in the efficacy of planning practice and the role of experiential learning and practice-based research in enabling contextual relevance in planning training. Her current work focuses on infrastructure and spatial change in cities of the global South. 

Recent research projects include collaboration with Ola Söderström (PI) from Neuchâtel University in Switzerland, Ayona Datta from Kings University in London, and Diganta Das from National University of Singapore on a comparative study of smart cities in India and South Africa, The project was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, entitled: Smart Cities: ‘provincialising’ the global urban age in India and South Africa. Nancy was also co-PI on an one-year British Academy funded research project on Drones and Humanitarian Assistance in East Africa, with Simon Marvin and others from the Urban Institute at the University of Sheffield.

Recent publications include:

Aurigi, A. & Odendaal, N. (Eds.) (2020) Shaping Smart for Better Cities: Rethinking and Shaping Relationships between Urban Space and Digital Technologies. Elsevier. 
Odendaal, N. (In press). Splintering by Proxy: a reflection on the spatial Impacts and distributed Agency of Platform Urbanism. Journal of Urban Technology
Lockhart, A., While, A., Marvin, S., Kovacic, M., Odendaal, N., & Alexander, C. Making space for drones: the contested re-regulation of airspace in Tanzania and Rwanda. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 
Söderström, O., Blake, E., & Odendaal, N. (2021). More-than-local, more-than-mobile: The smart city effect in South Africa. Geoforum, 122, 103-117. of 3 6 
Odendaal, N. (2020). Everyday urbanisms and the importance of place: Exploring the elements of the emancipatory smart city. Urban Studies, DOI: 0042098020970970. 
Odendaal, N. (2020). Constructing an “infrastructure of care” – understanding the institutional remnants and socio-technical practices that constitute South Africa’s Covid-19 response, Urban Geography, DOI:10.1080/02723638.2020.1807166.
Aurigi, A., & Odendaal, N. (2020). From “Smart in the Box” to “Smart in the City”: Rethinking the Socially Sustainable Smart City in Context. Journal of Urban Technology, 1-16. 
Odendaal, N. (2020) Recombining Place: COVID-19 and Community Action Networks in South Africa. International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR), 10(2), 124-131.

Odendaal, N. (2018) ‘Technology and Spatial Governance in Cities of the global South’, in Bhan, G., Srunivas, S. and V. Watson (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South. London: Routledge.

Odendaal, N. and Watson, V. (2018) Partnerships in Planning Education: The Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), in Frank, A. I. and C. Silver. (eds.) Urban Planning Education: Beginnings, Global Movement and Future Prospects. Cham: Springer.

Caprotti F, Cowley R, Datta A, Broto VC, Gao E, Georgeson L, Herrick C, Odendaal N, Joss S. ‘The New Urban Agenda: key opportunities and challenges for policy and practice.’ Urban Research & Practice. 2017 Jan 9.

Odendaal, N. (2016) ‘Exploring new parameters for the future planning of cities in Africa’, Policy in Focus. Vol.13, Issue No. 3. December 2016 

McCann, A. & Odendaal, N. (2016) Spatial Planning in the Global South: Reflections on the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework, South Africa, in International Development Planning Review.

Odendaal, N. (2016) ‘Getting Smart about Smart Cities in Cape Town: Beyond the Rhetoric’, in Marvin, S., Luque-Ayala, A. and McFarlane, C. (eds.) Smart Urbanism: Utopian Vision or False dawn? London: Routledge.

Mitchell, H, and Odendaal, N. (2016) ‘From the Fringes: South Africa’s Smart Township Citizens’, in Foth, M., Brynskov, M., & Ojala, T. (Eds.) Citizen’s Right to the Digital City: Urban Interfaces, Activism, and Placemaking. Singapore: Springer.

Odendaal, N. (2016) ‘Smart City: Neoliberal Discourse or Urban Development Tool?’, in Hammett, D. and Grugel, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of International Development. London: Palgrave.

Odendaal, N., Duminy, J. & Inkoom, D. (2015) ‘The Developmentalist Origins and Evolution of Planning Education in Sub-Saharan Africa, c1940 to 2010’, in Da Silva, C. (Ed.)

Urban Planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: colonial and postcolonial planning cultures. New York: Informa.

Duminy. J., Andreasen, J., Lerise, F., Odendaal, N., and Watson, V. (2014) (Eds.) Planning and the Case Study Method in Africa: The Planner in Dirty Shoes. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Odendaal, N. (2014) ‘Space matters: the relational power of mobile technologies / O espaço importa: poder relacional das tecnologias móveis’. In URBE: Brazilian Journal of Urban Management, Vol. 6, No 1, pp. 33-45. January 2014. 

Contact Details:

Phone : +27 (0)21 650 2365
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 2383