The appropriateness, usefulness and impact of the current urban planning curriculum in South African Higher Education

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Sch of Geography, Earth & Env Sciences

Abstract

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. The main targets for dissemination of the project findings go beyond traditional academic audiences to planning practitioners, policy-makers and wider community groups. It will include the production of reports, briefing notes, good practice guides, evidence-based learning and teaching materials as well as academic papers and a book. The development of an online forum will maximise international dissemination of the project and provides long-term impact by creating a dynamic platform for debates among South African (and African) planners.

Planned Impact

As detailed in 'Pathways to Impact', a major programme of impacts, outputs and user-involvement activities is a core, scheduled element of the project. All materials listed below will be made available on the project and SACPLAN websites (available beyond the project's duration). Films will be posted on YouTube. Information will be distributed through relevant email-lists and social media. Key beneficiaries of the project include:

1. Planning courses accreditation bodies, specifically SACPLAN and RTPI
This project, developed in partnership with SACPLAN and the RTPI, will produce a range of open access online materials (briefing notes, curriculum review, good practice guides for teaching, recommendation reports including examples of best practices and 15 minute films). These online evidence-based resources will address specific sub-topics (e.g. diversity in housing in a post-colonial context; tackling urban poverty; tackling spatial segregation and spatial inequality). SACPLAN and RTPI will take part in seminars, workshops and end of projects events in SA and the UK. This will allow networking, mutual learning and partnership-building activities across a range of African countries.

2. National and International students engaged in urban planning education
Focus-groups and workshops with students and graduates (O1/O2/O4) are a key element of the project not only for data collection and networking, but also to foster their interest and engagement with addressing specific local issues relating to the urban planning curriculum in South Africa. The development of the online forum and the use of visual mapping should also create a dynamic platform for ideas sharing, learning and training across South Africa and beyond. This will be combined with the impact workshops and end of project events.

3. Policy-makers, community groups/NGOs, practitioners addressing African urban issues
Clear routes to national/regional impacts are in place via the South African team's partners (SACPLAN and related connections with planning organisations). Bespoke briefing notes/summary reports, films, impact workshops and end of project events will support policy-makers and practitioners as well as community groups/NGOs leading urban planning-related projects. Such activities are likely to produce meaningful impacts in terms of self-evaluation, changing organisational practices and longer-term enhancement of skills and capacities of personnel/organisations. The impact workshops and end of project events will allow for further discussion, networking and dissemination of knowledge across South Africa and the wider continent.

4. Policy-makers, community groups/NGOs, practitioners (especially teachers) interested in addressing post-colonial issues in teaching delivery
As per point 3 - the South African team's partnerships generate clear routes to national/regional impacts in this field. All project materials will support policymakers and practitioners leading urban planning-related projects by better contextualizing their understanding of post-colonial urban space. Public, private and third sector organisations will be targeted to produce meaningful impacts in terms of self-evaluation, changing organisational practices and longer-term enhancement of skills and capacities of personnel/organisations.

5. Wider international communities of stakeholders in urban planning issues
International impacts will be facilitated via engagement with the SA and UK project advisory groups (which will be composed of key academics and practitioners) and through the team networking activities. This will be supported by the various materials produced throughout the project and their wide dissemination.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/P00198X/1 01/02/2017 31/12/2019 £384,151
ES/P00198X/2 Transfer ES/P00198X/1 01/01/2020 31/12/2020 £46,906
 
Title 5-pointers-for-starting-work-as-a-town-planner 
Description We created and designed a video building upon the feedback received and discussions that occurred during our South African End of Project Event. This video has been posted on the SAPER website, on the SAPER YouTube channel, the SACPLAN website or other platforms in South Africa. I has been designed in order to provide guidance to early career planners for when they start working as town planners. http://www.saperproject.com/5-pointers-for-starting-work-as-a-town-planner.html 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact The video has been posted in December 2020. It received over 100 views in a month. It is too early to report its impact. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjWTWWqFDIopDZX7hWWSzLg
 
Title Learning Video - The Transect Concept 
Description This is short video aimed at being used as a learning package examining the Transect Concept allowing to assess the different types of human settlements in South Africa and how planning engages with them. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact The video was used at UFS and UCL as teaching material and is available for download on YouTube and the SAPER website. 
URL http://www.saperproject.com/resources.html
 
Title Short Teaching Video: the processes of zoning for low income areas in South Africa 
Description This is part of our short learning package. It is a short video examining the processes of zoning for low income areas in South Africa 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Used as a teaching materials at UFS, UoB and UCL and available for download on the project website and on YouTube. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Mw_9Y1qQU&feature=youtu.be
 
Title Three ideas on how to build better low income settlements in South Africa 
Description This video has been developed as a short learning package examining ideas on how to build better low income settlements in South Africa 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact This video was posted in November 2020 and received over 150 views to date on the SAPER YouTube channel. This is very early stage to report notable impact. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UitMjOgfrK8&t=121s
 
Title You Tube Videos 
Description Production of a set of videos posted on the project's website and on youtube : 1/ Introduction to the Saper Project team, May 2017 2/ Introduction to the Saper Project Steering Group members, June 2017 A range of forthcoming videos (with teaching / learning focus) are currently being produced. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Those videos have been posted on You Tube in September 2017 and allow a presentation of the project to the wider public New videos will be posted in 2019. 
URL http://www.saperproject.com/resources.html
 
Description The SAPER research has been focusing on South Africa, listed as Upper Middle Income Countries and Territories. South Africa has a unique set of challenges growing from its legacy of colonialism and apartheid, with continuing endemic poverty, extreme economic inequality and spatial division. Policymakers and planning practitioners are dedicated to overcoming this problematic legacy, but there are also pressures on local and national governments to attract investment and compete globally; this has implications for the planning and management of South African cities. The profession is thus tackling a complex set of problems, some familiar to practitioners in the global North, some relating to broader questions of development in the global South, including economic development and welfare, and cutting across both public and private sectors, and some very specific to the South African context.

The SAPER project has been focusing on understanding the needs and challenges of planning practitioners in South Africa, and what implications this has for planning education, before and after graduation. Urban planning is considered as a scarce skill in the country and is playing a key role in tacking spatial and social segregation, inherited from apartheid, while addressing other challenges (e.g. housing provision, health and wellbeing). As such this project has been of key relevance in order to link urban development challenges to pressures inherent to economic development, need to address welfare and create more sustainable urban environments particularly for the poorest and more vulnerable communities.

We have been identifying gaps in the training provision, pre and post-graduation and we have been developing a range of recommendations in order to better address skill shortages, the unbalanced distribution of planners across the country and find ways to better support and mentor early-career practitioners. The profession is already suffering from a shortage of qualified planners and not doing anything will reinforce this gap, with planners quitting the profession due to lack of support and motivation.

To do so, the SAPER project has conducted the largest survey to date of practitioners' attitudes toward the state of the profession in South Africa, comprising 212 questionnaire responses and coupled with 89 in-depth qualitative interviews. This material was gathered February-May 2018. Both the interview and open-response questionnaire data were coded in NVivo using a combination of deductive (theoretically-led) and inductive (data-led) approaches. A total of 38 theoretically-led codes were used, with a further 44 codes emerging during the data analysis. We summarize here some of the most representative and relevant findings.

- The strength of planning education and challenges of post-graduation -

One of the most positive results we found in the survey was the perception that Higher Education (HE) planning education is sufficiently preparing planners to work in South Africa. There were a number of issues raised, and caveats made with regard to this statement, but largely respondents felt that planning education was adequately preparing them to work in planning practice in South Africa. When asked about motivations behind studying planning, the two largest answers where interest in the subject and desire to change society. This has provided evidence for the widely held belief that many planners enter into the planning profession with the intent to improve the world in which they live and also testifies from a shift in the perception of the planning profession, post-apartheid.

The HE training is overall bringing a relevant mix of skills to planners however this is not sufficient in allowing them to do their job, post-graduation. Planners still have to work in a highly fragmented and segregated socio-spatial built environment (due to apartheid legacy) that still persists and is often reproduced. The planning profession encounters key challenges related especially to capacity, resources, and discrepancies between main urban centres and smaller and rural municipalities. The ability of planning professionals to effectively lead and co-produce change, is hence highly dependent on their professional and personal practice development and consequently, the conditions enabling such impact. This has significance for wider issues, typically economic development and welfare as urban development and planning are intrinsically and systematically connected to wider economic development and welfare policy (including tackling poverty, delivering decent housing for all and promoting healthy environments).

Now, young planners are struggling to find employment without relevant experience (which is also an issue for accreditation). This is combined with difficulties in applying their education in vastly diverse and challenging local contexts, where municipalities are often under resourced, and in regions where senior planning capacity is limited to which can be added a lack of appropriate continued professional development support and practice-orientated mechanisms (including formal mentorship). There is hence a need for political will in changing the regulations and bringing more incentives to address those skill gaps including for example a Voluntary Community Service year.

- Planners' preparedness in changing and diverse urban contexts -

Deconstructing the social and economic value of planning education and what planners needs in the field, hence what they need to be trained for, revealed a range of areas of intervention. This included the role of power relations in planning, success and failure of planning reform post-apartheid, development control, challenges for young graduates and issues around professional continuous developments, alternatives and temporary forms of planning and severe resource discrepancies between major urban centres and the rest of the country. We highlight below some of the key questions and points we have addressed in those different themes and insist again on how strongly connected those issues are as to tackle economic development and welfare in South Africa (and with wider implications for Sub Saharan Africa).

In our investigation of power relations in planning in South Africa, we used the notion of Michel de Certeau's notion of lieu propre for making sense of how practising planners respond to power dynamics within municipalities. Through this work, we demonstrated that the strategies of the powerful are themselves subject to negotiation. Planners are not simply passive recipients of legislation and policy, but rather, state strategies are produced through co-construction between powerful actors, whose interests often are at odds with each other.

In looking at the successes and failures of planning in South Africa, planners' optimism around the reform of planning legislation in South Africa have been noted. However, many frustrations have also been identified, ranging from concerns that plans are being written but not implemented, political interference in planning matters, job reservation, and concerns over capacity in municipalities to undertake planning work. This research has been critical of this stance, arguing that many of these concerns could also be interpreted as indicators of a planning system whose design requires a level of competence and capacity unlikely ever to exist. Given this, suggestions are being made that planning reform needs to focus on creating a leaner planning system. The bulk of this reform needs to focus on the land use management system, given that this is both one of the most powerful tools that planners have, as well as the least reformed part of the South African planning system.

In terms of development control, this project has also identified that planners struggle to conceive development control tools that go beyond zoning. It is argued that conventional zoning, as practiced in South Africa, is purely suited to respond to the complexity that defines South African settlements, especially concerning informality. In response to this, we have drawn upon Moroni et al.'s work on simple rules. This argument is premised on the notion that planning regulations should allow for a diversity of responses, enabling households to easily adapt to changing social, cultural and economic systems.

Looking at alternative forms of planning and temporary uses of urban spaces, we have noted the difficulty for planners to embrace with adaptability and join up two complex forms of making and shaping spaces, the formal and planned one and the more informal, temporary, diverse and fluctuant one responding to everyday needs and coping. We have highlighted the difficulty in tackling such temporal dynamics in planning education and then in practice, where planners often loose scope and understanding of what is happening in the field and specifically in the more informal communities.

Finally, reflecting on gaps and need in training, we question the ways in which can be addressed the difficulties for young planners to find a job coupled with resource scarcity faced by the smallest and more rural municipalities. This has allowed us to raise a range of questions related to places where planning and specific tasks of planning are delivered by non-planners or by planners who don't have full knowledge, capacities nor resources to tackle challenges they are tasked to address. We have argued here that indeed this issue is not specific to South Africa which despite severe planners' shortage, is still much better placed than most African countries.

Reflecting on the implications of these arguments, we suggest that there should be greater emphasis in planning education on how to negotiate and work within the structures of power, everyday temporalities and find ways to gain additional training once in the field. These findings also emphasise the need for planning educators to teach planning students to be creative, so as to enable planners to be able to think beyond tried and tested methods and approaches to planning, and identify and embrace alternative practices to planning and regulation that are better suited to the South African context. The heart of this is recognizing that planning is a profession with a balance of hard and soft skills, and that competence in both is required in order to be successful as a planner.

- The internalisation of planning education and the changing colonial context -

Rapid urban growth in parts of the global South has led to a growing recognition of the need for increased numbers of trained planners to regulate unregulated development, safeguard the health and quality of life of urban populations and protect natural resources. At the same time planners in the global North are also being encouraged to recognise the significance of interactions, flows of people, goods, concepts and differing approaches to planning in an increasingly globalised world. Furthermore, increases in global student mobility, the expansion of branch campuses and exchange programmes, together with the transfer of ideas via vibrant international professional networks represent signs of successful official efforts to internationalise curricula.

Yet doubts remain surrounding whether internationalisation is being sufficiently embedded within planning curricula. There are repeated concerns regarding whether future practitioners are being equipped with the knowledge and skills to address the complex twenty-first century global challenges of creating high-quality, socially-inclusive and sustainable places. To look into those questions, we conducted 13 interviews with planning educators teaching on RTPI-accredited planning courses in the UK coupled with an online survey (which received seventy-two responses).

Overall, respondents were generally positive about the recent efforts to explore the global nature of planning. Indeed, for some, embracing new knowledge and skills would likely enrich curricula, attract diverse student cohorts, while encouraging students to reflect more deeply on the value that broader international perspectives might bring. This was seen by some participants as being particularly important in tackling the impacts of climate change, urban growth and other global challenges.

But there are tensions and there is evidence pointing to the need to harness the rich mix of identities, abilities, learning styles, language levels, language requirements, cultural backgrounds, expectations, motivations and prior experiences, that emerge with increasingly diverse, international cohorts. Again, though, finding ways to accommodate and celebrate such diversity remains challenging, without institutional support and the sharing of knowledge.

There is a need for relevant, diverse knowledge bases that reflect much-discussed social science ideas around the interconnectedness of place. The value of looking to other knowledge bases from beyond the Anglophone setting was acknowledged along with being alert to how (spatial) planning transfers and adapts in different societies could form part of a more "universalist" planning education attuned to global challenges. But there are other benefits here. For example, such an approach also provides an important set of skills needed for students to access the global labour market. Hence there is evidence to suggest that further curricula design could incorporate a wider set of international perspectives. Yet while planning education is being shaped and informed by different insights around the different role of urban planning under conditions of globalisation, care needs to be given in expanding educational underpinnings in ways that might jar with official UK-centred accreditation processes, quality assurances and the needs of UK employers.

Acknowledging that legacies of global connection have created diverse urban centres may help broaden current interpretations of change, which stress the importance of corporate finance, compliant planners and avaricious developers in shaping urban environments. Well-documented fears surrounding a shortage of trained UK planners, combined with ongoing concerns around public sector cutbacks, might place a practical break on such ambitions. Even so, evidence suggests that there is further scope to consider how customs, cultures and forms of exchange that take place in certain diasporic communities are shaped in some way by colonial forces. Developing a more rounded understanding of urban change, as shaped by colonial incursions, both past and present, presents an opportunity for planners to consider the needs and opportunities of diverse urban communities in the global North.

Several practical suggestions emerged from the need to create planning curricula that are suitably positioned to provide future practitioners with the skills, knowledge and experience to deal effectively with twenty-first century challenges. First, efforts to internationalise need to be managed, resourced and sustained in ways that benefit staff and students. This requires university, practitioner and institutional support in ways that would enhance providing future planning practitioners with necessary skills to deliver future (global) planning solutions. Second, other opportunities surround how institutions might be encouraged to align international marketing, student recruitment and support services with staff recruitment, expertise, teaching and research agendas. This may also involve building staff expertise, motivations and willingness to embrace opportunities associated with internationalisation. A forum for sharing knowledge and good practice on this would be a welcome step. Third, acknowledging the varied ways in which staff and students of different backgrounds, encounter efforts to embed internationalisation across formal and informal higher education time-spaces. Again, a forum that shares and captures critical reflections on the personal motivations and experiences of staff and (former) students, would help with building inter-institutional dialogue and shared knowledge bases.

Finally, there were some powerful examples of where UK planning programmes are encouraging different international ideas that push planners to reconsider established Western knowledge bases and teaching practices. There is scope for the dissemination of these comparative perspectives and case studies which might expose greater numbers of students to important global dimensions of planning. Comparative international case studies would also need to consider the contextual factors shaping planning practice. But there is scope to expand the range of case studies and teaching resources that consider the challenges and opportunities of planning at a time when the world of places, such as nations, cities and regions, are being shaped by dynamics of an increasingly networked global society.

While context matters, postcolonial ideas and other international examples may offer fresh impetus to professional bodies, institutions, planning educators and students to reflect on the diverse histories and geographies of globalisation. For example, further consideration could be given to whether different kinds of "tactical urbanism" found in parts of the global South are transferable to other contexts. But there are other opportunities, too. Postcolonial perspectives would encourage students to reflect on the importance of collective memories, traditions, customs and sense of place attachment that manifest in many diasporic communities in parts of the global North. Understanding these forces is an important starting point for helping planners to build stronger, inclusive and sustainable places.

- SAPER practical contributions -

One of the key ambitions of the SAPER project was to generate opportunities for ideas-sharing amongst South African academics, professionals and students and also produce a set of evidence-based resources that can address the wider urban challenges characterising South Africa and other countries in the Global South.

All along the duration of the project, we engaged with practising planners from government, private and academic sectors. We arranged two events in South Africa, one in 2018 and 2019, attended by a range of practising planners from government, private and academic sectors. The 2018 event, which ~30 people attended, focused on candidacy and mentoring of young planners, as the event allowed for a dialogue between planners from different departments and sectors on this issue. We also met with and presented to the South African Local Government Association, which is the official organization that represents local government in South Africa.

In 2019, we hosted a larger event with 58 people, mostly planners, again from a range of departments and sectors. This event used an 'unconference' format to flip the format from presenting to attendees, to creating a more discursive format that allowed for participants to engage with each other and the event content. For example, one of the event's gallery styled a setup to present various quotes from the SAPER research interviews, as well as work from the Cities of Integrity project at the African Centre for Cities. The intent of the gallery was to provide participants with a chance to walk around and engage with the research on their terms. Each participant was encouraged to place a small note on quotes with which they agreed, or on those which made them uncomfortable. This approach allowed us to see what participants felt about some of the key issues we had identified in the research, and allowed participants to see what other participants felt about topics; in a sense creating an indirect, anonymous, dialogue between participants.

Some of the themes that emerged from the conversations included:
• Rethinking roles: what is a 'good' town planner? Qualities discussed included communication, mentorship, innovation, constant growth, etc.
• Conversations and knowledge: It was argued that one of the core qualities of effective planning is having conversations with the right people to gather their insights.
• Young planners: Being a young planner was compared to a professional 'adolescence' where you need to reinvent yourself to find your niche.
• Planning and integrity: This was argued not just to be the absence of corruption, but also the making of the best plans within the constraints of the resources available.
• Finding support: Core to effective planning is building networks of support.
• Motivation: purpose inspires allies and provides ways to add value.

As to engage with the wider planning challenges across the Global South and specifically the Commonwealth, SAPER also partnered in 2018 with the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Commonwealth Association of Planners to organise a seminar looking at 'Think Planning - Think Global Planning Challenges in the Commonwealth'. It focused on the challenges faced by planning in the Commonwealth context. Over 60 participants attended the event which allowed questioning the role of planning across the Commonwealth and stressing the importance of SAPER work and results in tackling practitioners' needs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we were not in position to organise a large-scale physical event in the UK and limited ourselves to an online event.

The SAPER project developed several tools and multimedia resources to promote ideas' sharing.

We developed with the Commonwealth Association of Planners a platform for their awards event, with the intent of creating a spatial database of good planning projects internationally. This was used for their 2018/2019 and 2020 awards event. Similarly, a teaching app developed by the project team and hosted on the SAPER website, allowed us to create an opportunity for UK and SA students to interact. Despite logistic difficulties, students from both countries managed to learn from each other's experiences.

We produced four videos including three short learning package examining :1) the processes of zoning for low income areas in South Africa; 2) the Transect Concept allowing to assess the different types of human settlements in South Africa and how planning engages with them; 3) ideas on how to build better low income settlements in South Africa. Additionally, we produced a video targeting young graduates, starting their career in urban planning and discussing five pointers that they should account for when starting their first job. This was created building upon the feedback received and discussions that occurred during our South African End of Project Event.

Finally, thanks to the SAPER project, an online discussion forum has been developed on the SACPLAN website.
Exploitation Route Data and results from the SAPER project have already been of interest to other research projects. We have been contacted by the 'Cities of Integrity: urban planning and corruption in Africa' project, part of the Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme (GI-ACE), which supports 14 research partners around the world in generating actionable evidence that policy makers, practitioners, and advocates can use to design and implement more effective anti-corruption programmes. This project is led by the African Centre for Cities. We shared the link towards our anonymised and deposited database.

More importantly, the SAPER results have direct relevancy to how planning education is provided in South Africa and hence we expect academics and planning practitioners to build upon our research for further research. This has been and will continue to be implemented thanks to a range of academic and non-academic outputs and sustained links with our partners, SACPLAN, Commonwealth Association of Planners and RTPI.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

URL http://www.saperproject.com/resources.html
 
Description Reach and Impact of the SAPER Project The SAPER project matches directly with two of the SDGs: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 4 "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all" and SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 11 "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable". Findings from SAPER have key relevance to ongoing discussions happening at both local and national level and through SACPLAN, in the context of the implementation of SPLUMA (the 2013 Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act) and the rising recognition given to the planning profession along with the need to better plan South African cities and hence address SDG11. We have engaged with the relevant bodies, i.e. SACPLAN, of course, which is a key partner of SAPER, but also SALGA (South African Local Government Association), the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), the Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (DCOGTA) and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation through the workshop organised in Pretoria on November 21 2018. In line with this, two briefing notes have also been published on our website (Bridging the gap: the candidacy phase & matching needs: planners in local government). Our results in line with planning capacity, lack of resources, need for alternative ways to deliver mentorships and life-long learning have key relevance for SDG4 and hence why we are currently looking into expanding the research to other African/Commonwealth contexts, through further funding opportunities. The End of Project Conference in South Africa has allowed us to focus on practice conversations between young and established planners. This has informed the production of a short video which is targeting early career planners and is providing them with advice on how to take their career forward, addressing issues of mentoring and scare resources in the profession. This is complementing the short teaching videos we have also produced which have received at the time of writing 262 views. Through this event, practitioners were provided with a chance to respond to other practitioner views, and thus provided us with a second level of verification to data, effectively giving practitioners the voice to tell us what is important to them from the data we gathered. Again, this has a key importance as to tackle the need to provide for a quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities and is feeding into several outputs we can currently still working on. In terms of the impacts on the South African partner university, the University of the Free State, many of the research findings have been used to shape the Urban and Regional program's program structure. For example, the South African PI has used data from the program in shaping the creation of an honour's research module. This data has also been used to make changes to other courses taught in the department and was cited in the departmental accreditation report submitted to SACPLAN as providing the evidence base needed to identify necessary changes to the postgraduate planning curriculum. In line with widening the impact of SAPER results to other ODA contexts, we have engaged with the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The SAPER project has been regularly feeding into the work and discussions of CAP (including the CAP Woman in Planning Network and the CAP Young Planners Network); it has recently resonated with the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth has been launched on 2 February 2021 to ask for greater priority to be given within the Commonwealth on sustainable urbanisation. Discussion have included how best to respond to capacity needs and gaps in the African context within the built environment sector and line with key challenges, specifically sustainability and climate change. This will resonate with SDG13 Climate Action. Focusing now on our national impact in South Africa, the SAPER project has been working in partnership with the South African Council for Planners since 2016 and produced several briefing notes and reports which have been of significant use for SACPLAN. This included: SAPER Briefing note - Bridging the gap: the candidacy phase, SAPER Briefing note - Matching needs: planner in local government, and an in-depth review and analysis of SACPLAN Registration Data. Those results were widely communicated through the SACPLAN newsletter and in high level meetings, as detailed below. Results from the SAPER research hence reached CBE Transformation Indaba, the Department Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). One of the earlier outcomes of the SAPER Project was the analysis of the SACPLAN Registration Data. The evaluation and interpretation of the SACPLAN Registration data provided the evidence regarding the rapid growth over the past 10 year in the number of registrations as well as a clear change in the demographic composition of planners in the South Africa. This also clearly demonstrated the transformations undergone by the profession with specific reference to race as well as gender, typically an increase of non-white planners and more women entering the profession. An article was published in the June 2019 issue of the SACPLAN Newsletter. In the same issue, we also reported on the findings from the large-scale SAPER survey which looked at practitioners' attitudes towards the state of the profession in South Africa; it was comprised of 212 questionnaire responses and coupled with 89 in-depth qualitative interviews. The short article focused on lessons for planners' formal education and training looking at how planners were adequately prepared or not to work as a planner. It informed discussions on the planners' accreditation process and particularly the SACPLAN Competencies and Standards Project. The same information addressing the number of registered planners as well as the SACPLAN Registrations by race and gender was included in a presentation made during a meeting with Minister Thoko Didiza, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) at the end of 2020. The DALRRD is the department responsible for planning nationally. Results were also presented by the Chief Executive Officer of SACPLAN at the Council for the Built Environment's (CBE) Annual Transformation Indaba held in 2019 and received very positive feedback. The SACPLAN Chairperson also presented this information during the Planning Africa Conference 2018 held in Cape Town, South Africa. The title of his presentation was "Role of SACPLAN in Shaping the Future of the Planning Profession". It is still too early to argue that the SAPER results are informing policy outcomes, however results are being currently widespread in high-level decision-making arena. It is worth noting that some of the findings from Mischka Dunn (nee Jacobus)'s PhD - funded out of the SAPER project - have informed SACPLAN's registration process. One specific example is: SACPLAN now requires an agreement on a training plan between the candidate planner and supervisor, revised each 6 months and sent to SACPLAN to confirm that training is occurring. It is worth mentioning that SACPLAN is currently actively working towards addressing the resource and skills gaps affecting the profession. It is actively driving the agenda seeking for solutions as to address the need to employ registered and qualified planners within the public sector. In this regards SACPLAN had been engaging the DALRRD, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) as well as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Both the SAPER Briefing note on Bridging the gap: the candidacy phase, as well as the SAPER Briefing note - Matching needs: planner in local government have been used in the discussions with the DALRRD, COGTA and SALGA. The policy briefs on the shortage of planners appears to have reached the Presidency as Town Planners were included in the list of internships advertised this year along with the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency's (MISA) internships. The importance of their role in the rolling out of the recommendations in the briefing notes had been identified and acknowledged. Again, discussions about the future directions of planning are still ongoing, we can expect the SAPER results to continue informing discussions in the next couple of years. Finally, through the SAPER project, was developed a discussion forum on the SACPLAN website aiming to connect urban planners and built environment experts together and debate, seek information and support on specific planning issues. The forum being just launched, it is too early to claim impact yet. Capacity Building & Gender Statement This award didn't include a Gender Equality Statement but I would like to mention that the project involved 5 male colleagues and 8 women academics (including UK PI, UK Research Fellow, 2 South African doctoral researchers and 3 established South African academics). Career development towards early career female staff was a priority for us. The UK Research Fellow at the end of the contract was offered a post-doctoral position in Sweden (Malmö University) and more recently a tenured track lectureship in Human Geography at the University of Lund; Mischka Jacobus, whose PhD was funded by the NRF through the SAPER project, was offered a tenured lectureship at UFS and Rouve Bingle is still actively involved in the UFS department, in both teaching and research, while she is finishing her PhD. This project was developed with capacity building in mind, both sides (UK and South Africa) and with a strong ethos given to early career members. All members, at different stages of their careers were offered opportunities to present at international conferences and have been leading and been involved in publications and in all impact activities. This interaction, especially through the mutual trips to the UK and South Africa respectively, allowed for senior and early career researchers to interact and learn from each other. A teaching app developed by the project team and hosted on the SAPER website, allowed us to create an opportunity for UK and SA students to interact. Despite logistic difficulties, students from both countries managed to learn from each other's experiences. Additionally, the project offered the opportunity for the SA PI to spend his research leave in the UK. This allowed for more in-depth interactions between the two PIs, and with the UK team, which was essential in combining SA and UK insights in the writing of papers. This also contributed to the knowledge transfer between the UK and SA, with this research trip exposing the SA PI to UK urban planning system and Higher Education teaching and research landscape. As per the data collected, gender balance along with ethnicity was a key criteria in sampling our interviewees to ensure balance and representativity. The project didn't have a gender element so this wasn't included in our coding as outside of the scope of the research. Diversity and inclusivity were picked up in our analysis though as one of the coding theme due to the diversity of the profession and its shift towards a much more diverse and inclusive profession. The results of the projects as per its focus on urban planning, have a wider impact on communities, beyond gender.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Anonymized research data used as a teaching tool for a postgraduate research methods course
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The data generated from this project was used in a postgraduate research methods course at the University of the Free State, South Africa. The interview transcripts and survey data were used to teach basic qualitative and quantitative data analysis to students, many of whom are already working in practice.
 
Description Created three opportunities for international virtual collaboration between students in the UK and postgraduate students in South Africa
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Using a platform hosted on the project website, students from University of Birmingham worked with students, many of whom are already working in practice, from the University of the Free State to understand global differences in understanding of key urban planning issues. We did this for three courses, looking at issues ranging from sustainability to neighborhood poverty.
 
Description Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health (South Africa)
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact One of the earlier outcomes of the SAPER Project was the analysis of the SACPLAN Registration Data. The evaluation and interpretation of the SACPLAN Registration data provided the evidence regarding the rapid growth over the past 10 year in the number of registrations as well as a clear change in the demographic composition of planners in the South Africa. This also clearly demonstrated the transformations undergone by the profession with specific reference to race as well as gender, typically an increase of non-white planners and more women entering the profession. An article was published in the June 2019 issue of the SACPLAN Newsletter. In the same issue, we also reported on the findings from the large-scale SAPER survey which looked at practitioners' attitudes toward the state of the profession in South Africa; it was comprised of 212 questionnaire responses and coupled with 89 in-depth qualitative interviews. The short article focused on lessons for planners' formal education and training looking at how planners were adequately prepared or not to work as a planner. It informed discussions on the planners' accreditation process and particularly the SACPLAN Competencies and Standards Project. The same information addressing the number of registered planners as well as the SACPLAN Registrations by race and gender were included in a presentation made during a meeting with Minister Thoko Didiza, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) at the end of 2020. The DALRRD is the department responsible for planning nationally. Results were also presented by the Chief Executive Officer of SACPLAN at the Council for the Built Environment's (CBE) Annual Transformation Indaba held in 2019 and received very positive feedback. The SACPLAN Chairperson also presented this information during the Planning Africa Conference 2018 held in Cape Town, South Africa. The title of his presentation was "Role of SACPLAN in Shaping the Future of the Planning Profession". It is still too early to argue that the SAPER results are informing policy outcomes, however results are being currently widespread in high-level decision-making arena. It is worth noting that Mischka Dunn (nee Jacobus) whose PhD was funded out of the SAPER project is finishing her thesis now. Some of the findings from her thesis (on the 102 week's practical experience) have informed SACPLAN's registration process. One specific example is: SACPLAN now requires an agreement on a training plan between the candidate planner and supervisor, revised each 6 months and sent to SACPLAN to confirm that training is occurring. It is worth mentioning that SACPLAN is currently actively working towards addressing the resource and skills gaps affecting the profession. It is actively driving the agenda seeking for solutions as to address the need to employ registered and qualified planners within the public sector. In this regards SACPLAN had been engaging the DALRRD, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) as well as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Both the SAPER Briefing note on Bridging the gap: the candidacy phase, as well as the SAPER Briefing note - Matching needs: planner in local government have been used in the discussions with the DALRRD, COGTA and SALGA. The policy briefs on the shortage of planners appears to have reached the Presidency as Town Planners were included in the list of internships advertised this year along with the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency's (MISA) internships. The importance of their role in the rolling out of the recommendations in the briefing notes had been identified and acknowledged. Again, discussions about the future directions of planning are still ongoing, we can expect the SAPER results to continue information discussions in the next couple of years.
 
Description Influenced the postgraduate curriculum of a university department in partner country (South Africa)
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact In terms of the impacts on the South African partner university, the University of the Free State, many of the research findings have been used to shape the Urban and Regional program's postgraduate program structure. For example, the South African PI has used data from the program in shaping the creation of an honour's research module. This data has also been used to make changes to other courses taught in the department and was cited in the departmental accreditation report submitted to SACPLAN as providing the evidence base needed to identify necessary changes to the postgraduate planning curriculum.
 
Description Production of videos aimed at young practitioners and students
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact We have also produced a series of short teaching videos and a professionally produced animated video focusing on young town planning practitioners. The animated video aims to assist planning students to make the transition from university to their first job. The teaching videos relate to various topics of interest regarding town planning issues in South Africa. The collective views at the time of writing was 272.
 
Title SACPLAN custom web-based discussion forum 
Description SAPER has been working with SACPLAN to develop a custom web-based discussion forum on its website allowing all SACPLAN members and registered non SACPLAN members to interact. This is the first initiative aiming to promote and foster online discussion amongst South African planners and allow informal mentoring and support between members. While focusing maybe on South Africa planners, the forum will also be available for planners from other countries, typically in Sub-Saharan Africa (for example Botswana or Lesotho). 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This is currently being finalised so we cannot report on the impact yet. 
URL https://sacplan.org.za/forum/
 
Title Teaching App 
Description A key output for the SAPER project has been the production of an interactive platform allowing the exchange of best practice in planning across the Global North and South. Operating across the desktop and mobile web, the teaching app allows students to collect data in the field and automatically upload this to a shared map. Photographs and text comments uploaded by individual students can then be seen by the wider group and serve as a prompt for discussion. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Initial testing was undertaken in the autumn of 2017 with students undertaking the planning masters courses run by University of the Free State and University of Birmingham. Students found both the desktop and mobile versions of the mapping app simple to use and gathered a range of information about their local areas, focussing on the theme of sustainability. South African students highlighted topics around water use, informality and solid waste management. UK students highlighted topics around mixed use development, sustainable transport, and nature conservation. This testing phase had some limitations in terms of student buy-in for non-assessed work and difficulties with timing meant that online discussions between the South African and UK students could not take place. A second phase of work with the app was undertaken with different cohorts of students in spring and autumn 2018. The autumn cohort included students working in the UK on technology and urban space and South African planning students collaborating on the theme of mapping the informal economy. Overall 33 images and comments were collected by Birmingham students and 68 by South African students. These revealed very interesting contrasts in the understanding of informality between the two student cohorts. Nonetheless, as with the earlier attempts, there were significant problems coordinating activity between the two groups of students and fitting this exercise into established teaching structures. While the app successfully demonstrated the potential for this kind of approach to be adopted, curricula would need to be developed around this potential rather than attempting to bolt it into established modules. 
URL http://www.saperproject.com/collaborate.html
 
Title Internationalisation of Planning Education (UK) 
Description This database relies on the collection of a range of data among UK planning academics and practitioners as to address one of the objectives of the project aiming to assess the extent to which issues raised by a changing colonial context are considered and addressed in the UK undergraduate and postgraduate planning curriculum. By doing we are exploring the implications for urban planning lecturers in the UK when working with students from Africa and the wider Global South. This relies on 3 stages of data collection: 1/ interviews with UK planning academics (12 completed to date); 2/ survey circulated via the RTPI to planning practitioners (ongoing); and 3/ workshop/focus group (forthcoming - this was delayed due to David Adams being away for 6 months). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Data has been analysed and coded and is now available on the UK Data Service platform. Two outputs have been published: Adams, D., Andres, L., Denoon Stevens., S. & Melgaço, L., 2020, Challenges, opportunities and legacies: experiencing the internationalising of UK planning curricula across space and time, Town Planning Review, 91(5), 515-534, https://doi.org/10.3828/tpr.2020.29 Briefing note: Challenges, opportunities and legacies: experiencing the internationalising of UK planning curricula http://www.saperproject.com/uploads/9/5/8/2/95827424/saper_briefing_note-_internationalisation_of_planning_education.pdf 
URL https://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/854063/
 
Title South African Planning Practitioners - Survey 
Description In the summer 2017 an online questionnaire was distributed to urban planners across South Africa. We received 219 responses collected over a short period. This makes this one of the largest surveys undertaken with planning professionals in South Africa, with as much as 5.6% of all registered and candidate planners in South Africa participating in this survey. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Results gathered from the survey have been analysed and coded alongside with the data gathered with the interviews. Research outputs include: Denoon Stevens., S., Andres, L., Jones, P., Massey, R., Melgaço, L., 2020, Theory versus practice in planning education: the view from South Africa, Planning Pratice and Research https://doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2020.1735158 Lewis, M. and Nel, V., 2019, Setting standards and competencies for planners in Nunes Silva, C. (Ed.) Routledge Handbook of Urban Planning in Africa, Routledge, London, pp 162-176 Nel, V and Lewis, M., 2019, The Resilience, Adaptability and Transformation of the South African Planning Profession in Nunes Silva, C. (Ed.) Routledge Handbook of Urban Planning in Africa, Routledge, London, pp. 141-161 Results from the SAPER survey with South African planning professionals http://www.saperproject.com/uploads/9/5/8/2/95827424/results_from_the_saper_survey_with_south_african_planning_professionalsf4.pdf Matching needs: planners in local government. http://www.saperproject.com/uploads/9/5/8/2/95827424/saper_bn1_-_matching_needs-_planners_in_local_government.pdf Bridging the gap: the candidacy phase http://www.saperproject.com/uploads/9/5/8/2/95827424/saper_bn2_-_bridging_the_gap-_the_candidacy_phase_.pdf 
URL https://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/854063/
 
Title South African Planning Practitioners and Academics Interviews 
Description Extensive data collection through interviews (preliminary phase in April 2017, and primary phase of data collection between January and May 2018) aiming to address the objectives of the project related to a) 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; and b) the deconstruction of how the development and delivery of the urban planning undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum addresses issues raised by a changing post-colonial context in SA 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact In total we have conducted 96 interviews (89 with South African planners and 7 with South African education scholars) in various locations including Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Johannesburg, George and Port Elizabeth. The SAPER project (combining both survey results and interviews) has been producing the first comprehensive overview of the state of the profession in South Africa. Data has been analysed and coded and is now available on the UK Data Service platform. Published outputs: Andres, L., Jones, P., Denoon Stevens., S. & Melgaço, L., (2019) Negotiating polyvocal strategies: re-reading de Certeau through the lens of urban planning in South Africa, Urban Studies, https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098019875423 Andres, L., Bakare, H., Bryson, J., Khaemba, W., MElgaco, L., Mwaniki, G., (2019) Planning, Temporary Urbanism and Citizen-led Alternative-Substitute Place-Making in the Global South, Regional Studies, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00343404.2019.1665645 Bakare, H., Denoon-Stevens, S. & Melgaço, L., Informality and temporary urbanism as definance: tales of the everyday life and lievelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa in Andres, L & Zhang, Y (ed) Transforming Cities Through Temporary Urbanism - A Comparative Overview, Springer, Cham, pp61-72 
URL https://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/854063/
 
Description Collaboration with CAP 
Organisation Commonwealth Association of Planners
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The project is contributing to informing discussions CAP is having across the Commonwealth about the nature of the planning profession, challenges experienced by planners, issues related to training and skills. Our work in South Africa allows wider comparative lessons to other countries in Africa and beyond. Additionally we have created for CAP an online platform allowing to display a range of best planning practices across the commonwealth (https://www.commonwealth-planners.org/good-practice-platform). We have also organised with them and in partnership with the RTPI a special event on 'Think Planning -Think Global: Planning Challenges in the Commonwealth' (22 March 2018, University of Birmingham). The SAPER project was invited to attend their annual business meeting in Cape Town, on 14 October 2018 (Andres and Denoon Stevens attended). The team has been meeting with the CAP members regularly (Secretary General, Women in Planning, President, Young Planner Network) to connect the activities of CAP with the activities of the team, both in South Africa and in the UK. Most recently discussions have been resonating with the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth has been launched on 2 February 2021 to ask for greater priority to be given within the Commonwealth on sustainable urbanisation.
Collaborator Contribution CAP is contributing to the project through a range of means 1/ sitting on the steering committee and providing feedback on the project2/ connecting SAPER members to key planning stakeholders across the commonwealth 3/ reflecting on wider possible follow up activities that can be run across the Commonwealth in the future.
Impact 1/ event organised on 22 March 2018 'Think Planning -Think Global: Planning Challenges in the Commonwealth' (discipline: planning). 2/ best-practice platform on CAP website (see https://www.commonwealth-planners.org/good-practice-platform) (discipline: planning).
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with SACPLAN 
Organisation South African Council for Planners
Country South Africa 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution SAPER is feeding into SACPLAN's ambition to understand better the needs of planners in term of training and skills. As such, SAPER is informing the work undertaken by SACPLAN who is reviewing planning programmes and accreditation process in South African Planning Schools. SAPER has been collaborating with the Head and Director of SACPLAN from the start of the project and collaborations are still ongoing. One of the earlier outcomes of the SAPER Project was the analysis of the SACPLAN Registration Data. The evaluation and interpretation of the SACPLAN Registration data provided the evidence regarding the rapid growth over the past 10 year in the number of registrations as well as a clear change in the demographic composition of planners in the South Africa. This also clearly demonstrated the transformations undergone by the profession with specific reference to race as well as gender, typically an increase of non-white planners and more women entering the profession. SAPER and its results presented in the two briefing notes on 'Bridging the gap: the candidacy phase', and on 'Matching needs: planner in local government' have been used in the discussions of SACPLAN with the DALRRD, COGTA and SALGA. This is informing the future directions of planning and the planning profession in South Africa. As part of the SAPER project, an online collaboration forum has been created as to foster further online support amongst urban planners in South Africa (and in Sub-Saharan Africa).
Collaborator Contribution SACPLAN is sitting on the project's advisory committee (in South Africa). Additionally SACPLAN has been providing support in data collection by 1) having circulated the survey which we conducted among South African planning practitioners and 2) getting access to database (e.g. numbers of accredited planners) and 3) providing contacts for the interviews. We have co-organised a seminar with them (along with SCIR) on "Planning capacity: bridging the gap for young planners and local government". SACPLAN has a dedicated SAPER page on their website and hence is used as a platform to communicate the results of the project. SACPLAN is also communicating widely the SAPER results in various high-level committees (within DALRRD, COGTA and SALGA).
Impact Data gained out of this collaboration (amongst other research means) led a range of conference presentations: 1/ "(Re)considering and (re)imagining urban planning curriculum in South African Higher Education", presented by Lauren Andres and Lorena Melgaço at the 2017 IBG-RGS Conference, London (disciplines : urban planning and urban geography); 2/ "The resilience, adaptability and transformation of the South African Planning Profession" presented by Verna Nel and Martin Lewis at the II 2017 International Conference on African Urban Planning, Lisbon and 3/ "Setting standards for planners: the South African Council for Planners' standards and competencies process", presented by Martin Lewis and Verna Nel at the II 2017 International Conference on African Urban Planning, Lisbon - both 2 and 3 only relate to the planning discipline. 4/ "SDGs, Planning education & planning practice,  Planning Africa" presentation within the plenary Session on "Africa and the Commonwealth: the achievement of the New Urban Agenda", Cape Town (Andres, Denoon-Stevens, Lewis). It also led to publications, beyond the briefing notes, including: Nel V & Lewis, M. 2020. The resilience, adaptability and transformation of the South African planning profession. Chapter in Silva, Carlos Nunes (ed.) (2020). Routledge Handbook of Urban Planning in Africa. London/New York: Routledge. (ISBN Hardback: 978-1-138-57543-1 ; ISBN eBook: 978-1-351-27184-4) pp 141-161 Lewis, M & Nel V. 2020. Setting standards and competencies for planners. Chapter in Silva, Carlos Nunes (ed.) (2020). Routledge Handbook of Urban Planning in Africa. London/New York: Routledge (ISBN Hardback: 978-1-138-57543-1; ISBN eBook: 978-1-351-27184-4) pp 162-176
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with the RTPI 
Organisation Royal Town Planning Institute RTPI
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution This project is directly contributing to the RTPI discussions and agenda on 1/ curriculum and 2/internationalisation. One of the objectives of the SAPER project was to identify the context-specific realities of planners in South Africa and the wider Global South and as such inform the need to enhance the quality of international planning education, in the UK. To do so, we conducted thirteen interviews with academics in both "Russell Group" universities (7), former university colleges (3), and "new" universities (3). Participants were deliberately selected with a range of teaching experience across undergraduate and postgraduate planning programmes. An online survey was also conducted to capture the views of current practicing UK planners. The RTPI distributed the survey in its February 2018 "Members' Bulletin". Survey respondents (72) were asked to provide fulsome responses to open-ended questions about their time working in planning, their thoughts regarding the value of international planning education, whether they have worked in international contexts, and their perspective on the kind of experience needed to work in different international contexts. Drawing upon the results of the data collection, we suggested that there should be greater emphasis in planning education on how to negotiate and work within the structures of power, everyday temporalities and find ways to gain additional training once in the field. These findings also emphasise the need for planning educators to teach planning students to be creative, so as to enable planners to be able to think beyond tried and tested methods and approaches to planning, and identify and embrace alternative practices to planning and regulation that are better suited to the South African context. The heart of this is recognizing that planning is a profession with a balance of hard and soft skills, and that competence in both is required in order to be successful as a planner.
Collaborator Contribution The RTPI (Andrew Close) is sitting on the project's advisory committee. Additionally the RTPI has been assisting in circulating through his network of accredited members a survey, produced by SAPER, looking at the relation between urban planning, skills and training and internationalisation. The RTPI also supported us with data collection by circulating our online survey.
Impact ADAMS, D., ANDRES, L., DENOON STEVENS., S. & MELGACO, L., 2020, Challenges, opportunities and legacies: experiencing the internationalising of UK planning curricula across space and time, Town Planning Review, 91(5), 515-534, https://doi.org/10.3828/tpr.2020.29 ADAMS, D., ANDRES, L., DENOON STEVENS., S., JONES, P. & MELGACO, L., 2020, Challenges, opportunities and legacies: experiencing the internationalising of UK planning curricula, SAPER Briefing note, Available from: http://www.saperproject.com/uploads/9/5/8/2/95827424/saper_briefing_note-_internationalisation_of_planning_education.pdf
Start Year 2017
 
Description Engagement with Planners 4 Climate Action / UN Habitat 
Organisation United Nations (UN)
Department United Nations Environment Programme
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We have engaged with the Planners 4 Climate Action Initiative in line with the SAPER results as this network is keen to draw lesson from the issues faced by planning education in order to better address the challenges of climate change. We are at the stage of initial discussions especially for further impact and research activities - currently activities have slowed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Collaborator Contribution Planners 4 Climate Action initiative is convened by UN-Habitat, and comprises of associations of planning practitioners and planning educators, as well as individual urban planners, collectively representing tens of thousands of planners worldwide, as well as other partners active in this area. Planners for Climate Action's mission is to catalyse and accelerate climate action through responsible and transformative urban and territorial planning practice, education and research, in the areas of planning practice, capacity building and research. At this stage contribution rests upon initial discussions.
Impact not yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description Engagement with the Association of Commonwealth Universities 
Organisation Association of Commonwealth Universities
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution SAPER has engaged in ACU in line with the results we have generated with regard to planning capacity and education in South Africa.
Collaborator Contribution ACU is interested in exploring further collaborations with us in line with the work they are aiming to develop on cities, education, sustainability and climate. Discussions has been paused currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Impact Ongoing. Any collaborations that will arise will be interdisciplinary and include architects and engineers.
Start Year 2019
 
Title Best-practice platform (with CAP) 
Description Developing the teaching app has been a technological testbed for the SAPER team. Based on this work, the Commonwealth Association of Planners agreed to work with SAPER to develop a best-practice platform embedded within the CAP website. This focussed initially on the newly inaugurated CAP Awards programme as well as the CAP Young Planners' essay competition. This platform went live in 2018 and was well received by CAP as a means of showcasing this content as well as showing the geographic reach of the organisation through a series of interactive maps. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Ongoing 
 
Title Project Website (incl. Blog) & Twitter Account 
Description The SAPER project benefits from its own website available via http://www.saperproject.com with a dedicated blog page. Additionally we have a twitter account @SAPER_ESRC_NRF dedicated to the project 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Both tools maximise SAPER's visibility towards a range of audiences; On average the website is visited by 100 persons per week (data provided by weebly) 
URL http://www.saperproject.com
 
Title SACPLAN Discussion Forum 
Description Discussion Forum created on the SACPLAN website. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Too early to report. 
 
Title Teaching App 
Description The teaching app is an interactive platform allowing the exchange of best practice in planning across the Global North and South. Operating across the desktop and mobile web, the teaching app allows students to collect data in the field and automatically upload this to a shared map. Photographs and text comments uploaded by individual students can then be seen by the wider group and serve as a prompt for discussion. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Initial testing was undertaken in the autumn of 2017 with students undertaking the planning masters courses run by University of the Free State and University of Birmingham. Students found both the desktop and mobile versions of the mapping app simple to use and gathered a range of information about their local areas, focussing on the theme of sustainability. South African students highlighted topics around water use, informality and solid waste management. UK students highlighted topics around mixed use development, sustainable transport, and nature conservation. This testing phase had some limitations in terms of student buy-in for non-assessed work and difficulties with timing meant that online discussions between the South African and UK students could not take place. A second phase of work with the app was undertaken with different cohorts of students in spring and autumn 2018. The autumn cohort included students working in the UK on technology and urban space and South African planning students collaborating on the theme of mapping the informal economy. Overall 33 images and comments were collected by Birmingham students and 68 by South African students. These revealed very interesting contrasts in the understanding of informality between the two student cohorts. Nonetheless, as with the earlier attempts, there were significant problems coordinating activity between the two groups of students and fitting this exercise into established teaching structures. While the app successfully demonstrated the potential for this kind of approach to be adopted, curricula would need to be developed around this potential rather than attempting to bolt it into established modules. 
 
Description 2021 AAG Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact We are presenting two papers at the 2021 Online AAG Conference:
Melgaço, L., Andres, L., Denoon-Stevens, S. Spatial injustice and socio-spatial divides in South Africa: what can planning and planners do?, The American Association of Geographers' annual meeting April 7-11 2021 (online)
Denoon-Stevens, S., Andres, L., Moawad, P. Bricolage and improvisation in the process of everyday 'place-shaping': learning from informal settlements in South Africa and Lebanon, The American Association of Geographers' annual meeting April 7-11 2021 (online)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description 6th World Curriculum Studies Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Mischka Jacobus attended on behalf of SAPER the 6th World Curriculum Studies Conference in Victoria (Australia). She presented a paper on " Change has come: the preparedness of academic staff in Urban and Regional Planning to develop and implement a decolonised curriculum". The presentation was well-received and led to follow up questions and requests.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://isocarp.org/app/uploads/2018/03/53rd_ISOCARP-OAPA_Congress_Portland_US_2017-PROCEEDINGS_V24_...
 
Description AESOP 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Lorena Melgaço attended the pre-AESOP conference seminar 'Transformative Knowledge for an era of Planetary Urbanization? '10th July 2017 and participated to the debates assessing transfers of knowledge and ideas across context. This was an opportunity to present the SAPER project and connect with other planning academics and practitioners attending the event. It brought new elements to the debate which we fed into the data collection and analysis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference Paper presentation: "Understanding the interface between geography and urban planning in South Africa" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation given by Stuart Denoon Stevens at the Society of South African Geographer's biennial Academic and annual Student Conference. Over 200 persons attended the conferences and the presentation allowed raising wider questions about the cross-overs between urban planning and geography in South Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference session and presentation - AAG 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The team attended the Association of American Geographers annual conference, 2-7 April 2019. It organised a session on 'Planning in theory, theory in planning' Panel Session convened by Phil Jones with Charles Corwin, University of Illinois-Chicago and Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, University of Buffalo. A paper was also presented:
Jones P, Andres L, Marques L, Denoon-Stevens S 'When strategies collide: de Certeau and South African planning' Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, Washington DC 2-7 April 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Critical reflections on the reform fields - Wits-TU Berlin Urban Lab workshop October 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lorena Melgaço was invited to participate to the "Wits-TU Berlin Urban lab workshop (05-06 October 2020) aiming to prepare and deliver a detailed feedback document on pedagogical approaches and curriculum reform suggestions developed throughout the Wits-TUB Urban Lab project,

Lorena presented a paper on 'Critical reflections on the reform fields " which drew some recommendations based out of the SAPER results. She also discussed some of the concrete solutions they were proposing in the framework of "pedagogical approaches and curriculum reform suggestions".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.wits.ac.za/wits-tub-urban-lab/
 
Description Dialogue with planning practitioners in Bloemfuntein 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting with circa 10 planning practitioners in Bloemfontein in April 2017 allowed presenting the project and raising its awareness. Ongoing fieldwork (February - May 2018) in the Free State is currently taking place as to pursue those discussions further while gathering additional data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Engagement with Planning Practitioners in Cape Town - April 2017 and Febrary 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The UK team met in Cape Town (South Africa) with 13 planning practitioners in April 2017 and February 2018. The goal was dual: present the project to practitioners & raise the profile of SAPER and collect data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description IBG RGS 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 2 members of the UK team attended the 2017 IBG_RGS conference which included a presentation of the preliminary results of SAPER (out of the first stage of data collection - survey among South African practitioners) entitled (Re) considering and (re) imagining urban planning curriculum in South African Higher Education and the attendance to the event to 'Beyond the talk': Decolonising Teaching and Research in Geography - A RACE alternative event. On both occasion, the SAPER project was presented and opportunities occurred for engagement with debates and networking.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description International Geographical Union Commission Geography of Governance Annual Conference - Lisbon 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The South African team attended the IGU conference in Lisbon.
Ruth Massey; Stuart Denoon-Stevens & Verna Nel presented at the International Geographical Union Commission Geography of Governance Annual Conference 'Fifty years of local governance' a paper looking at "planning practice at local government level in South Africa: challenges, implications and new approaches". Rouve Bingle, Mischka Jacobus and Verna Nel also presented a paper on 'Taking the moral high ground - exploring the impact of local government on ethical planning practices'.
Over 100 attendees were participating to the event and this allowed engaging further with related debates and colleagues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description LOCAL AND URBAN GOVERNANCE: TRENDS, CHALLENGES AND INNOVATIONS IN A GLOBALIZING WORLD - University of Cape Verde 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The team (Verna Nel & Stuart Denoon-Stevens) presented a paper on "Decolonising land use management in South Africa) at the conference "Local and urban governance: trends, challenges and innovations in a globalizing world"- University of Cape Verde, Cidade da Praia, 4 - 7 September 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://sites.google.com/site/igugeogovprogfull2019/
 
Description Meeting with Planning Practitioner from HTA Design LLP (September 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact UK team met with a South African practitioner from HTA Design LLP (Riette Oosthuizen) as to explore the preliminary results from SAPER and explore its relevancy with regard to her experience in South Africa (as student, academic and practitioner) and in the UK (as practitioner). This led to further thoughts on the areas for queries as well as possible collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Representative from World Bank (Febrary 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The UK PI met with a representative from the World Bank and former South African practitioner (Larry English) as to discuss the SAPER project, its ambition, preliminary results and discuss possible collaborations and follow-up projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with SALGA - South Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On 14 May 2018, Stuart Denoon-Stevens, Lorena Melgaço, Elsona van Huysteen met with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) which is the constitutionally mandated organisation responsible for local government oversight. This was an opportunity to engage with them as per the work conducted by SAPER and start to raise awareness about the intermediary findings of the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Meeting with UK academics - Oxford (September 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact UK team met with two UK academics (Dr Jo Waters, University of Oxford and Dr Lucy Natarajan, UCL) with expertise in international planning (incl. at the RTPI) and international education (geography background) as to discuss further the connection of SAPER with the wider decolonisation and internationalisation debate. This led to a range of thoughts and suggestions which are currently explored further in data collection and paper writing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Online End of Project Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Due to the COVID-19 situation we were not able to host a standard end-of-project event. We organised an online end of project event which allowed gathering both South African and UK colleagues along with members of the advisory groups, project partners and other individuals (academics and practitioners) interested in the outcome of this research project. We used this platform to communicate and discuss the results of the SAPER project and identify further possible areas of collaboration, particularly with SACPLAN, the RTPI and the Commonwealth Association of Planners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.saperproject.com/end-of-project-event.html
 
Description Planning Africa 2018, Cape Town 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The UK and SA team attended the Planning Africa 2018 Conference, Cape Town. This is a major event organised by the South African Planning Institute and attended by a range of practitioners, politicians and academics.
Activities included: participation to the CAP business meetings (Andres and Denoon Stevens); presentation of paper (Training planners to create Sustainable and Resilient Cities - Denoon Stevens); keynote presentation SDGs, Planning education & planning practice, Planning Africa - Plenary Session on "Africa and the Commonwealth: the achievement of the New Urban Agenda (Andres, Denoon Stevens and Lewis). The event led to a range of networking activities with SACPLAN, SALGA and CAP.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Planning Regional Futures, Regional Studies Association Winter Conference, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lauren Andres attended the Regional Studies Winter Conference "New Horizons for Cities and Regions in a Changing World" on November 15&16 in London. Lauren was invited to sit on a panel session discussing "Planning Regional Futures" along with Prof. Mark Tewdwr-Jones and Prof. Simin Davoudi from Newcastle University as well as Prof. Vanessa Watson from the University of Cape Town (South Africa). Lauren also presented two papers. First, with John Bryson (CityREDI), a paper on "Planning for Regional Futures in the Global South: Shifting Siloed Approach to Place-based integrated Planning in Africa"; the latest has been written with Hakeem Bakare (ASAP RF) as well as Winnie Khaemba and George Mwaniki, from the African Center for Technology Studies (Nairobi - Kenya). The paper drawing upon the results of the ASAP-East Africa Project (PI Francis Pope) as well as SAPER and building upon John and Lauren's book " A Research Agenda for Regeneration Economies Reading City Regions" (Elgar) argued for a need to advocate for a new form of planning, which will be both responsible and able to drive inclusive prosperity. Second, Lauren through her presentation on "Idealism and Resistance in Spatial Planning: Questioning the New Horizons of Planning Education" discussed some of the insights from the SAPER project and argued that planning educators and mentors need to challenge presenting ideas of ideal planning as means to tactically resist the messy realities of planning practice. The paper was written with Phil Jones, Lorena Melgaço and Stuart Denoon Stevens (University of the Free State - South Africa). In addition to networking, the event allowed sharing more widely SAPER results and engaging with further debates about planning in the Global South.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Production of Briefing Notes targeting key national organisation and professional planners 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Through out the project we published 6 briefing notes targeting planning organisations (SACPLAN/RTPI), local government representatives (e.g. SALGA) and the relevant national government departments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
URL http://www.saperproject.com/resources.html
 
Description SA Conference 28 Nov 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference focused on practise conversations, intended to lead to popular guide, "Hitchhikers guide to Urban and Regional Planning in SA" - short publication which provides guidance on how to cope with, and thrive, in the SA planning environment. Aim is also to generate a paper on this, either methods or substantive, with the event providing a practitioners a chance to respond to other practitioners views, and thus providing a second level of verification to data, effectively giving practitioners the voice to tell us what is important to them from the data we gathered.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description SAPER & CSIR & SACPLAN seminar: "Planning Capacity _ Bridging the gap for young planners & local government" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On, 21/11/2018, Stuart Denoon-Stevens, Verna Nel, Martin Lewis, Mischka Jacobus, Emmie Smit, Elsona van Huysteen organised the first impact workshop in partnership with CSIR & SACPLAN looking at "Planning Capacity _ Bridging the gap for young planners & local government". This was an opportunity to engage with practitioners and policy-makers further as to highlight the key results from SAPER (displayed in the briefing notes published on our website). The event was attended by over 20 key stakeholders and led to further interest towards addressing skills gaps and needs for young planning graduates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar: Think Planning - Think Global Planning Challenges in the Commonwealth. RTPI / CAP Seminar organised in partnership with the SAPER project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SAPER partnered with the RTPI and CAP to organise a seminar looking at the challenges faced by planning in the Commonwealth context. The seminar was introduced by the RTPI president, John Acres and included presentations from Clive Harridge, Hector Pearson, Philip Clarke, Riette Oosthuizen, Louise Brook-Smith, Cliff Hague and Lauren Andres. Over 60 participants attended the event which allowed questioning the role of planning across the Commonwealth and stressing the importance of SAPER work and results in tackling practitioners' needs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description South African Steerring Group Comitee (October 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The South African team met with the seven steering group members of the project. After an introduction to the project, of its main aims and objectives, and the progress made to date, the Advisory Group debated the strengths and weaknesses of South African planning education in South Africa's higher education institutions, and discusses how the SAPER project might address these and other concerns that have been raised. The Advisory Group also provided useful contacts and links to resources that will assist the SAPER project's delivery.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.saperproject.com/blog
 
Description UK 2nd Steering Group Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On November 27th, the SAPER project held its second steering committee meeting. External attendees included: Dr Riette Oosthuizen, partner in planning at HTA Design LLP, Prof. Cliff Hague, emeritus professor of planning and spatial development at Heriot-Watt University and freelance researcher and author, Paul Watson, independent planning consultant and former strategic director for regeneration and development at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Clive Harridge, secretary-general of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP), Rebecca Farr, principal development planning officer at Birmingham City Council, Jacob Bonehill, strategic delivery advisor at West Midlands Combined Authorities, Andrew Close, head of careers, education and professional development at the RTPI and Dr Patricia Noxolo, senior lecturer in cultural geography in GEES.

It was a very productive day, which started with Lauren Andres (PI) and Lorena Melgaço (RF) presenting the results and analysis of the 2017 survey and the interviews conducted in the first semester of 2018 in South Africa. During the morning session, the steering group highlighted the positive outcomes of the survey and interviews and discussed possible crossovers with British planning education for example in regards to the level of satisfaction of professionals with their education and the profession. Wider debates also occurred in line with the competencies of the planners versus the challenges to address, the wider questions behind decolonising knowledge throughout North/South, South/South learning and the issue of race and racialisation.
In the afternoon, the internationalisation of UK planning education was discussed, with Lorena presenting some of the preliminary data collected through interviews and a short survey with British planners. Phil Jones (Co-I) also presented the teaching app pilot conducted between the University of Birmingham and University of the Free State students and the steering group commented on its potential for duplication in core MSc degrees.
The group spent the final part of the session discussing impact and outreach activities carried out in South Africa and internationally. This was an opportunity to present the 'Good Practice Platform' developed by SAPER (Phil Jones) for the Commonwealth Association of Planners (https://www.commonwealth-planners.org/good-practice-platform) as well as the prototype discussion board currently designed with SACPLAN (South African Planning Association) to support planners on the ground. Those activities are complementing the range of other impact events and outputs (incl. range of briefing notes - http://www.saperproject.com/resources.html) the team has been attending and producing in the last six months linking up with the relevant institutions in South Africa such as SAPI (South African Planning Institute), DRDLR (Department for rural development and land reform), COGTA (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), SALGA (South African Local Government Association), DPSA (Department of Public Service and Administration), and also worldwide such as CAP, World Economic Forum and UN Habitat. Suggestions towards supplementary engagement pathways in the UK were sketched by the steering group members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UK Ireland Planning Research conference, Sheffield 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lauren Andres, Lorena Melgaço, Phil Jones, Stuart Denoon-Stevens presented a paper at the 2018 UK Ireland Planning Research conference looking at Responsibility and resistance: planning for (and with) entrenched inequality. This was an opportunity to engage with the academic community about SAPER results.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UK Steering Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 9 planning practitioners and academics were invited to the first steering group meeting of the project. In addition to providing wider feedback , the discussion led to a range of questions and debate about informality, inequalities and planning education, formats of planning Higher Education, international education and the wider concept of decolonisation. This raised the profile of the SAPER project towards wider institutions and led to a increased interest towards the project and its key research questions while opening new possible areas for collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.saperproject.com/blog
 
Description UN Habitat and World Economic Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We have started engaging with UN Habitat (Nairobi) and the World Economic Forum (Geneva) as to present the work SAPER is doing and exploring possible impact activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description iCities Conference: Grounded Planning 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Elsona van Huyssteen, Mark Oranje, Stuart-Denoon Stevens, and Lauren Andres presented a paper on "Grounded learning as heroic planning education practice: Promises and Pathways" at the iCities Conference: Grounded Planning: University Social Responsibility and Reflections on Planning Education and Practices, in Taiwan (October 26-28, 2018 at National Cheng Kung University). Over 80 attended participated to the event. The paper was well received and led to a range of follow-up questions on planning education in South Africa and the Global South.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018