Dr Siân Butcher

Turning land into stand: transforming land in developer-driven ‘affordable’ suburbanisation, Gauteng, South Africa

Funding period: 1 December 2018 – 31 March 2019
Type of funding: International Fellowship

Siân Butcher is a human geographer in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She will conduct her International Fellowship under the mentorship of Professors Eric Sheppard and Helga Leitner at the University of California Los Angeles. Her research examines the production of developer-driven ‘affordable’ housing on the edges of Johannesburg, and the Gauteng city-region for an aspirant but vulnerable middle class. Following ‘affordable’ developers across a number of municipalities, she investigates the negotiated and uneven relations between locally-embedded developers and developmental local government around suburban land development long before houses appear on the horizon. Contradictory imperatives of land value uplift, reducing socio-spatial inequality, and financialisation of land and housing shape local dynamics and politics of who accumulates, who is subsidized, and who is dispossessed or displaced in the process of turning land into serviced ‘stand’.

Email: sian.butcher@wits.ac.za