Planning education research in South Africa 2018

Andres, Lauren (2020). Planning education research in South Africa 2018. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-854063

International institutions such as the United Nations have highlighted the significance of planning as a discipline in promoting more sustainable environments and dealing with the core economic, social and environmental challenges faced by Africa. Delivering successful urban planning training in SA Higher Education will thus make a key contribution to addressing SA national Government priorities around equity, social justice and democracy. For many years post-colonial and post-apartheid SA has modelled its urban planning practices on Western systems which has been reflected in HE curricula. Concerns have been raised about the relevance and applicability of these Western theories and methods when planning African cities (Watson, 2003, 2009). To date, there has been little or no sustained work that brings together post-colonial and Southern debate theories with an examination of transferring northern planning theories to South Africa. Major uncertainties remain about HE and the appropriateness, usefulness and impact of planning curricula in the last 10 years and their associated teaching methods. The proposed research also aims to reflect more widely on the implications of the SA study for UK planning education; this is especially important given the recent increase in students from the Global South registering for planning-related courses in the UK. O1: To investigate the social and economic value of planning education in SA particularly questions of equity and diversity in HE destination choices, graduation rates and employability outcomes. O2: To deconstruct how the development and delivery of the urban planning undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum addresses issues raised by a changing post-colonial context in SA. O3: Drawing on O2, to assess to what extent issues raised by a changing colonial context is considered and addressed in the UK undergraduate and postgraduate planning curriculum. By doing so and reflecting on lessons from O1, the research will explore the implications for urban planning lecturers in the UK when working with students from Africa and the wider Global South. O4: To create a platform for ideas-sharing between SA academics, professionals and students across the world in order to connect and inform curriculum shaping, teaching methods and wider HE strategies for planning education (especially via SACPLAN) O5: To develop a set of evidence-based resources for HE planning strategies that can address the Global South challenge in SA and across the wider continent. The potential applications and benefits of the proposed research are diverse. There will be an immediate contribution to existing teaching programmes and to SACPLAN/RTPI strategies. There will also be a medium to long-term contribution through the way urban issues are dealt with in SA, what this means for planners when trained and re-trained (CPD) and for the content of planning curricula, teaching methods and thus planning policy.

Data description (abstract)

This dataset was gathered primarily in the first quarter of 2018 with planning professionals and planning educators in South Africa. The purpose of the project was to assess the changing needs within planning education as South Africa has evolved over the last 20 years to determine whether planning education is fit for purpose in its current configuration. The data demonstrates a high level of confidence by participants in the fundamentals of planning education but that there were still considerable issues to tackle in terms of planning for informality and drawing on theoretical perspectives that have greater relevance for the Global South. Included in this dataset is an (anonymised) small survey that was undertaken with planning practitioners in South Africa in 2017 examining their attitudes toward the profession and its future in the country. The survey was sent to practitioners identified via membership of the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN) the body for professional acreditation for planners in South Africa.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Andres Lauren University College London
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/P00198X/1
Topic classification: Housing and land use
Project title: The appropriateness, usefulness and impact of the current urban planning curriculum in South African Higher Education
Alternative title: South Africa Planning Education Research (SAPER)
Grant holders: Lauren Andres, Phil Jones, David Adams, Michael Beazley
Project dates:
1 February 201730 July 2020
Date published: 10 Jul 2020 12:59
Last modified: 14 Jul 2020 09:32

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