Current Project

Centre for Development and Enterprise

In collaboration with the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), we are facilitating new research into urban economics in South Africa. By using economic tools to analyse urban issues such as crime, education, public infrastructure and local government efforts to enhance economic performance, in both metros and "township economies", this research will be able to contribute to the debate around urban policy in South Africa.

By bringing together and applying insights from both international and local experts in urban economics, this research project will inspire and encourage both academics and policy makers with an interest in the subject of cities, growth and household inequality, to reflect and pull together research on critical topics:


  • What does international literature say about the relationship between high levels of crime; the mix between various forms of criminality and violence; and the urban economy?
  • What data currently exists on South African cities? What are the limits thereof?
  • What are place-based growth policies and what is their impact on cities in the developing world? Do these policies generate, or fail to generate, net growth or alter distributional outcomes, especially in cities in the developing world?
  • What can luminosity data reveal and not reveal about South Africa's urban economies? Has this changed over the past three decades?
  • What is the real growth potential of South Africa’s cities? What economic benefits have been generated by the rapid urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa, and how does this compare to other parts of the world?

As the project unfolds, we will share information on the policy papers and associated workshops, which will be of relevance to policy reform in South Africa.

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