Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Margot Rubin

Dr Margot Rubin

Lecturer in Spatial Planning

Ysgol Daearyddiaeth a Chynllunio

+44 29225 12054
Adeilad Morgannwg, Ystafell 1.81, Rhodfa’r Brenin Edward VII, Caerdydd, CF10 3WA


I am an urban geographer and planner who is interested in working across and between spatial and political disciplines. My work is comparative, largely focused on the Global South, and draws on embedded and well-established research networks that span multiple countries. My research explores key questions of urban sustainability through various lenses, such as housing provision and mobility, framed by broader theoretical analyses of governance and gender. My research projects have ranged in focus from urban housing, land use management, transit-oriented development, to urban governance, questions of mobility and accessibility, and work on gender and the Geographies of Care. This has given me the scope to engage with broad conceptual themes of socio-economic rights, urban sustainability, spatial change and identity politics and their relationship to the City through comparative studies. These have included comparisons between Delhi, India and Johannesburg; Johannesburg and Cairo, Egypt; and I am currently involved in a comparative mobility study with colleagues in Maputo, Mozambique, and study of the housing/employment nexus of the urban youth in Hawassa, Ethiopia and Ekangala, South Africa.






2019–2022:  Co-investigator: Off-Grid Cities: South African National Research Foundation funded

2019–2022: Co-Investigator: Youth and the work/housing nexus in Ethiopia and South Africa, British Academy Funded

2019–2020: Co-Investigator: Micro-dynamics and Macroprocesses: a Maputo-Johannesburg comparative study of intra-household decision-making and stateinvestment in transit, Volvo Research and Education Foundation

2019–2021: Primary Investigator: Just Urban Imaginaries, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies

2018–2019: Primary Investigator: Families in the City: Gauteng City Region Observatory

2016–2017: Primary Investigator: Comparison between Inequality in Cairo and Johannesburg with Takween Integrated Community Development, African Universities Research Initiative

2017–2018: Primary Investigator: Infrastructures of Inequality, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies

2016–2018: Team Member: Governing the Future City: A comparative analysis of governance innovations in large scale urban developments in Shanghai, London, Johannesburg, ESRC Funded

2016–2017: Off-the-Grid Case study: Parkhurst, Gauteng City Region Observatory


I am currently teaching the undergraduate module on Society, Diversity and Planning and the post-graduate course on Sustainability in Planning. I have previously taught under-graduates modules in the history of human settlements, urban sustainability, urban politics and housing and given guest inputs on transit-oriented development, mobility and gender.



Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Planning and Political Studies, 2013, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Courting Change: the role of the apex courts and court cases in urban governance: a Delhi-Johannesburg comparison.

Master’s Degree in Urban Geography, 2004, University of Pretoria. Landscapes of reality and imagination: the Jewish Community of Johannesburg, 1886–1939.

Honours in Geography and Environmental Studies, 1999, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Bachelor of Arts, 1998, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.


Journal articles 
1. Rubin, M. (2020). Doing Boundary Work: Suburban Residents’ Associations in Johannesburg. Journal of Asian and African Studies,p.0021909620970567.

2. Rubin, M.W. (2020). Paralleling auto-construction: the danger of misconceptualising density, Urban Geography, pp.1–7.

3. Harrison, P., Rubin, M., Appelbaum, A., and Dittgen,R. (2019). Corridors of freedom: Analyzing Johannesburg’s ambitious inclusionary transitoriented development, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 39(4), pp 456–468.

4. Huchzermeyer, M., Harrison, P., Todes, A., Rubin, M., and Klug, N. (2019). Urban land reform in South Africa: pointers for urban policy and implications for planning practice, Town and Regional Planning, 75, pp.91–103

5. Rubin, M., (2018) At the borderlands of informal practices of the state: negotiability, porosity, and exceptionality: Special Issue: Exploring Informal Practices of the State in Urban Governance: Crossing Indian and Southern African Perspectives, Journal of Development Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2018.1460466 

6. Ballard, R. and Rubin, M. (2017) A 'Marshall Plan' for human settlements: how megaprojects became South Africa's housing policy. Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, 95(1), pp.1–31.

7. Harrison, P., and M. Rubin (2016) South African cities in an urban world, South African Geographical Journal, 98(3), pp. 483–494

8. Rubin, M. (2013) Exclusion and exceptionalism: the site of the courts in urban governance, Geocarrefour: Special Issue: For a Geography of law: an urban project, 88, pp. 207–216.

9. Todes, A., Rubin, M., and Klug, N. (2013) Inclusionary Housing Policy In Johannesburg: A Tool for Re-shaping South Africa’s Spatial Legacy?, Journal of Housing and Built Environment, Special Issue: South African Housing, 19, pp. 233–254.

10. Rubin, M. (2012) Insiders and Outsiders: what difference does it really make, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Special Issue: South African Geographers: a view from the South. 33, pp. 303–307.

11. Rubin, M. (2011) Perceptions of Corruption in the South African Housing Allocation and delivery programme: what it may mean for accessing the state, Journal of African and Asian Studies: Special Issue: Accessing the State, 46, pp. 479–490.

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

Professional Standing

2021: Reference Committee Member, Department of Cooperative Governance, Small Town Regeneration Strategy

2020: Advisor to the City Support Programme, South African National Treasury, Gender Mainstreaming for National Metro Level Indicators

2020–Current: Team member on National Upgrading Support Programme for the National Department of Human Settlements Informal Settlement Upgrading Capacity Building Programme

2020: Member of the organising committee. Southern Africa City Studies Conference, 2020,

2019–Current: Editorial Board member for the Journal: Third World Quarterly

2019–Current: Editor for Journal: African Studies

2019–Current: Co-convener for the national Gender Urban Research Network

2019–Current: Convener National Inclusionary Housing Network

2019: Advisory member to Kaplan Centre, University of Cape Town regarding publication on Jews of Johannesburg publication

2019: Member of the team to review and advise on the Built Environment Performance Plans, National Treasury’s City Support Programme

2019: Selected for British-Academy, Academy of Science of South Africa Early Career Research Symposium entitled Urban Lives

2019: Selected for British-Academy, Academy of Science of South Africa Early Career Research Symposium entitled Governing Future Inclusion

2018: Invited panellist on Inclusionary Housing and accommodation, Nelson Mandela Foundation Dialogue

2018: Invited panellist and contributor, inclusionary housing, City of Johannesburg and South African Property Owners Association joint event

2017–2018: Invited presenter North Eastern University, South African fieldtrip

2016–2018: Invited presenter and reviewer of Washington University in St Louis Urban Studio, Johannesburg

2016: Invited to review proposal to the NRF/Swedish Foundation for International Co-Operation in Research and higher education (STINT) Science and Technology Research Collaboration 2016

2016–Current: Been invited to review articles for: Antipode, Agrarian Studies; African Studies; Cities; Social Dynamics; Urban Studies; Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography; Progress in Planning; Urban Geography

2014: Invited to be a Research Associate with Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand

2014: Facilitator for the pilot training for Informal Settlement Upgrading, National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP), an initiative of the Department of Human Settlements

2014:  Member of the team developing material for Informal Settlement Upgrading training material for councillors, officials, and community members, for the National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP), an initiative of the Department of Human Settlements. Contributor to modules for the training programme.

2013: Member of team developing a response to backyard housing in South Africa, South African Local Government Association

2013: Reviewer of Socio-Economic Rights Institute publication on South African Housing Policy

Safleoedd academaidd blaenorol

January 2019-December 2021: Associate Professor and Reader, South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning (NRF SA&CP) University of the Witwatersrand

January 2015-December 2018: Senior Researcher, South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning (NRF SA&CP) University of the Witwatersrand

January 2009-December 2014: Independent Development Consultant and Policy Researcher

2006-2008: Research manager, Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies (CUBES) University of the Witwatersrand