‘Summer’ being already over, it is time for a short update about our activities since June.
The UK team has been working closely with the SA team towards the data collection. 212 questionnaires were collected amongst South African planners. Main areas of queries included the education level and formation, the relevance of training and relationship to professional performance and the professional stage, degree and careers’ expectations and accomplishment. Both teams have since been working on analysing the rich and fascinating data we received.
Lauren and Lorena presented at the 2017 RGS-IBG Conference in London in the special session “The ’battle of the maps’ – (re)imagining geographies of knowledge production” organized by Prof. Ashley Gunter (University of South Africa) and Prof. Parvati Raghuram (Open University). Their paper dealt with (re)considering and (re)imagining urban planning curriculum in South African Higher Education.
Key points of the paper included questioning the geographies of South African urban planning knowledge and how this involves rethinking how the object of study is constituted, address the issue of gained and missing skills and hence rethink education systems. It also involved looking at the decolonization of the urban planning knowledge looking at the decolonization of individual’s positioning and the gaps in international education. Issue of race in the profession resting on the perception of race bias in the field, specially from the white population was also noted as a significant area of query. Finally, as to go beyond knowledge production, the issues of the education versus the reality and the everyday of the planning profession and the future of the urban planning discipline in relation to the importance of politics and power relationships were highlighted.
Next key steps include pursuing our data analysis and collection, working on papers while starting to plan ahead Lorena’s forthcoming 4 months of data collection in South Africa and the visit of the South African team in October.