Vanessa Watson


Currently teaches in the City and Regional Planning post-graduate programme in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, and is a founder and executive member of the African Centre for Cities at UCT.

She publishes and is on the editorial boards of several international journals in the field of city planning, and is the Global South Editor of Urban Studies. Her field of research is planning theory, and she is PI on a research project funded by ESRC/Dfid called Consuming Urban Poverty, operating under the auspices of the African Centre for Cities 

Recent Publications:

Journal articles:

Smit, W., de Lannoy, A., Dover, R. V. H., Lambert, E. V., Levitt, N., & Watson, V. (2015). Making unhealthy places: The built environment and non-communicable diseases in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Health & Place, 35, 11-18.

Watson, V (2015): The allure of ‘smart city’ rhetoric: India and Africa. Dialogues in Human Geography, 5(1), 36-39.

Watson V (2014): The case for a Southern perspective in planning theory. International Journal of E-Planning Research, 3(1), pp 23-37.

Watson V (2014): Will the profession speak out? Winners and losers in the future African city. Planning Theory and Practice, Interface, 15 (1) pp 115-118. 

Watson, V (2014): Co-production and collaboration in planning – the difference. Planning Theory and Practice, 15 (1) pp 62-76. 

Watson, V (2014): African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares? Environment and Urbanization, 26(1): 213-229

Watson, V (2013): The ethics of planners and their professional bodies: response to Flyvbjerg, Cities, 32, 167–168

Watson, V and N Odendaal (2013): Changing planning education in Africa: the role of the Association of African Planning Schools, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 33(1) pp. 96 – 107.

Watson, V (2013): Planning and the ‘stubborn realities’ of global south-east cities: some emerging ideas, Planning Theory 12(1), 81-100. (online May 24th2012)


Watson, V., (2015) Planning and Development. In: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 18. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 180–186.

Watson, V (2014): Learning planning from the South: ideas from the new urban frontiers, in S Parnell and S Oldfield (eds) The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South. Routledge: London and New York. Pp 98-108.

Duminy, J, N Odendaal and V Watson (2014): The Education and Research Imperatives of Urban Planning Professionals in Africa, S Parnell and E Pieterse (eds) Africa’s Urban Revolution: Policy Pressure. Zed Press. Pp 184-199. ISBN 978 1 78032 520 0 pb

Smit, W, A de Lannoy, R Dover, E Lambert, N Levitt, V Watson (2014): Good houses make good people: making knowledge about health and environment in Cape Town, in Africa-Centred Knowledges: Crossing Fields and Worlds, B Cooper and R Morrell (eds). James Curry: Suffolk. Pp 142-162

Watson, V (2013): The Post-colonial dimension, in M Acuto and W Steele (eds), Global City Challenges. Pp.88-100. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137286864

Duminy, J, V Watson and N Odendaal (2013): Doing research in African cities: the case study method. Eds P Kresl and J Sobrino. Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Urban Economies. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham. Pp 153-172. ISBN 978 0 85793 461 1

Watson, V (2013): Building a Southern perspective on urban planning using the comparative case method, in K Ward (ed): A World of Cities: comparison across the disciplines. Cities@Manchester, Manchester. Pp 23-30 (not peer reviewed).

Watson V. (2013): Planning theory and practice in a global context, in G Young and D Stevenson (eds), The Ashgate Research Companion to Planning and Culture, Pp 121-134, Ashgate. ISBN 9781409422242 HBK


Duminy, J, J Andreasen, F Lerise, N Odendaal and V Watson (2014): Planning and the case study method in Africa: the planner in dirty shoes. Palgrave Mc Millan: UK. ISBN hbk 978-1-137-30794-1


Contact Details:

Phone : +27 (0)21 650 2387
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 2383