“Living the urban periphery: investment, infrastructure and economic change in African city-regions” is an exciting new collaborative research project between the UK, South Africa and Ethiopia.

The project, funded under the ESRC Urban Transformations programme in collaboration with South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), will be led by academics Dr Paula Meth and Dr Tom Goodfellow from the University of Sheffield and Prof Alison Todes, Dr Sarah Charlton, Dr Margo Rubin and Prof Phil Harrison from the University of Witswatersrand, South Africa. Colleagues from the  Ethiopian Development Research Institute and the Institute of Urban Development Studies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be invited to join the team once the project gets underway in February 2016.

The project aims to understand processes of Urban Transformation on the peripheries of three African city-regions: Gauteng, Ethekwini (Durban) and Addis Ababa, through a focus on the lived experiences of infrastructural changes. Based on the team’s previous research expertise, it is envisaged that the project will have a particular focus on housing and transportation, examining wider processes of change alongside small-scale lived experiences of both poor and middle income residents using seven different case studies. The poverty implications of these processes of transformation will then be fed back into governance decisions in these city-regions.

Dr Paula Meth said: “I am so excited to work with academic partners at Wits in Johannesburg, who bring so much expertise to this project. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to extend myself intellectually beyond my regular focus on residents’ experiences of urban processes, to incorporate wider economic and infrastructural concerns. It will be an exciting and challenging 3 years but I’ll be working with Tom who will bring youthful energy and intelligence!”

Dr Tom Goodfellow said: “I’m delighted to be working on this project with Paula and our partners in Johannesburg, as well as researchers in Ethiopia. Too often, research on South Africa tends to stand apart from research on the rest of the continent. This project presents a really exciting opportunity to explore urban change in very different African contexts, and to share learning between countries about how to make sure that transformations of urban infrastructure and housing actually benefit people living on the periphery. I’m also especially excited to learn from Paula’s experience of innovative methodologies in urban settlements.”

If you would like more information about this new project , please contact Paula Meth on p.j.meth@sheffield.ac.uk or Tom Goodfellow on t.goodfellow@sheffield.ac.uk.