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PhD Candidate in Urban Planning
Columbia University
New York, NY

I study how communities contest and repurpose planning schemes and the resultant composition of planned spaces. Focusing on a case study of Mahikeng, South Africa, I find that residents have repurposed top-down technocratic planning premises with an array of multi-actor amalgams, creative assemblages, and heterogeneous spatial forms. Residents respond to public architecture and planning with amalgams that remain subject to contestation, disruption, repurposing, and innovation. I believe that repurposing is a glimpse into grassroots popular democracy. From my research, a general lesson applicable to the field of urban planning and processes of urbanization emerges: planning does not end with the plan; it merely begins with the plan.


I am a PhD Candidate in Urban Planning at Columbia University (Degree Expected: 2024). My interests include planning history and theory; local government and planning law; political economy and world systems; urban governance and democracy; and African urbanism with a focus on South Africa.

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