Vanessa Watson

Clarkson Chair in Planning/ Professor, School of Architecture, Planning, and Geomatics

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Proposed Vision for Kigali, Capital of Rwanda (2008)

"African Urban Fantasies: Dreams or Nightmares?"

Vanessa Watson, a professor of urban planning at Cape Town University in South Africa, comes to UB as the 2019 Will and Nan Clarkson Chair in Planning. Her public lecture will focus on the disconnect between the realities of rapidly growing and mostly poor African cities and the new Dubai-like visions of shiny, glass-box skyscrapers for proposed African cities. The lecture will also address the future of urban fantasy cities of Africa.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
6 pm - 7:30 pm
Hayes 403


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Vanessa Watson is Professor of City Planning in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, and founding member of the African Centre for Cities, both at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She holds degrees from the Universities of Natal, Cape Town and the Architectural Association of London, and a PhD from the University of Witwatersrand. She is a Fellow of the University of Cape Town.

Her research and publications have been on southern perspectives on planning theory, African cities and urbanisation, urban food security, and currently on planning and corruption in Africa. More recently she has followed the new economic forces re-shaping African cities, in particular the private-sector driven property development initiatives. Watson is Global South Editor of Urban Studies and an editor of Planning Theory. She was the lead consultant for UN Habitat’s 2009 Global Report on Planning Sustainable Cities, was chair and co-chair of the Global Planning Education Association Network, and a founder of the Association of African Planning Schools.

The Will and Nan Clarkson Visiting Chair program invites distinguished scholars and professionals to campus for lectures and seminars that engage students, faculty and members of the public in knowledge-sharing and debate on critical issues in architecture, planning and design. The program was founded by Will and Nan Clarkson in 1991.