Zubeida Lowton is a doctoral researcher at the University of Westminster, and a member of the International Eco-Cities Initiative.
She is researching sustainability, liveability and resilience in the City of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her project focuses on the social sustainability aspects of higher density living in developing cities and the implications of spatial transformation. The aim of the research is to provide a social sustainability and liveability framework that can address spatial fragmentation and promote denser city living. Two questions are key to this: (1) how social sustainability might be achieved through addressing spatial fragmentation; and (2) whether or not denser cities are liveable and achievable in the Global South.
In order to explore these questions, the project investigates the impact of planning and the spatial transformation that Johannesburg has undergone in the past 90 or so years. The case study highlights the challenges in implementing sustainable development in a developing country. Sustainable development is a fairly recent concept in the South African context, however; it has been largely influenced by international initiatives. This presents an opportunity to discuss the challenges around sustainable development experienced on the African continent, on a global platform.
Zubeida obtained her National Diploma and Bachelor of Technology in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Johannesburg in 2012 and 2013 respectively. She obtained a Master of Arts in International Planning and Sustainable Development (Urban Resilience Pathway) from the University of Westminster in 2014, for which she was awarded a Chevening Scholarship. She is a registered Professional Planner with the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN) and has over 5 years of experience in town planning, research, development planning, spatial planning and project management.
Zubeida is the recipient of a full Commonwealth Scholarship Award (funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development) in support of this doctoral research project.