Prof Ivan Turok

DEPARTMENT: Economic Perfomance and Development (EPD)
TELEPHONE: +27 (0)21 466 7866
EMAIL: iturok@hsrc.ac.za

Professor Ivan Turok is the Executive Director in the Economic Performance and Development Unit of the HSRC. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Regional Studies, and Chairman of the City Planning Commission for Durban. He is also Honorary Professor at the Universities of Cape Town and Glasgow, and has a PhD in Economics, MSc in Planning and BSc in Geography. Before returning to South Africa and joining the HSRC in 2010 he was Professor and Research Director of the Department of Urban Studies at Glasgow University.

Professor Turok's fields of expertise include the spatial economy (regions, cities and neighbourhoods), economic development and local labour markets. His research on unemployment, regional development, city competitiveness, urban regeneration and spatial inequalities is highly cited internationally. He has been an expert adviser to the United Nations, OECD, European Commission, SA Government, UK Government and African Development Bank. He is a board member of the Regional Studies Association and is on the editorial board of four international journals.

He has published over 120 academic papers, chapters and books and has a B1 rating from the National Research Foundation. He was the principal author of the 2011 State of South African Cities Report. Other books include the State of English Cities (2006), Changing Cities: Rethinking Urban Competitiveness, Cohesion and Governance (2005), Twin Track Cities (2005), The Jobs Gap in Britain's Cities (1999) and The Coherence of EU Regional Policy (1997).

Professor Turok has 30 years teaching experience in urban and regional economics, policy analysis and evaluation, local labour markets, economic development, urban regeneration and spatial planning. He has supervised 12 PhDs to successful completion and many more Masters students.

Recent

Towards sustainable cities: extending resilience with insights from vulnerability and transition theory

This paper discusses some of the basic requirements for cities in different circumstances to respond effectively to both sudden and slower-moving dist....

Are South African cities becoming ungovernable again?

This chapter explores the paradox of strong metros and popular disaffection by examining some of the underlying governance challenges facing South Afr....

Beyond growth: the productive transformation of cities in Africa: Cape Town and Nairobi

The purpose of this report is to illustrate the process of productive transformation in Cape Town and Nairobi. The cities were selected to provide a....

What will housing megaprojects do to our cities?

The building of large numbers of housing units in isolated greenfield locations has had detrimental side effects on our cities over the last two decad....

Informal settlements: poverty traps or ladders to work?

Informal urban settlements have a poor reputation as hotspots of social unrest, squalor and crime. Yet there is another side to them: as communities t....

Turning the tide?: the emergence of national urban policies in Africa

It is widely believed that national urban policies in Africa are rare. This is a concern bearing in mind the formidable challenges posed by urbanisati....

Housing and the urban premium

Housing policy is experiencing a revival in many countries of the South after a period of neglect. There is a risk that mass housing projects may prod....

South Africa's new urban agenda: transformation or compensation?

One of the dilemmas at the heart of the new urban agenda globally is whether population growth should be accommodated by extensive or intensive urban ....

Redundant and marginalized spaces

The purpose of this chapter is to delve beneath the surface of disused spaces in order to understand more about why they occur and what might be done ....

Early childhood development forums: telling the good story: networking to successfully enhance outcomes for young children

The relevance of this study must be located in a principle espoused in the National Development Plan Vision 2030 (NPC, 2012, Chapter 15) of enabling a....

Myths and realities of informal settlements: poverty traps or ladders?

Swelling informal settlements are among the country's greatest social challenges. Shack dwellers are exposed to squalor and insecurity from living on ....

The dual economy and spatial inequalities in South Africa

As an economist and planner with considerable experience in urban and regional development, the author is interested in spatial issues and the geograp....

Green-sighted but city-blind: developer attitudes to sustainable urban transformation

South Africa's sprawling, fragmented urban form remains essentially intact, despite the inequitable consequences and resource inefficiencies. Governme....

Backyard shacks and the urban housing crisis: stopgap or prototype solution

The number of households living in backyard dwellings increased by 55% during the previous decade, while the number living in free-standing shacks dec....

National urban policy: a global analysis

South Africa is one of a growing number of countries around the world that has begun to take the process of urbanisation more seriously. It recognises....

Urbanization

South Africa is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with nearly two-thirds of the population living in cities and towns. The consequences ....

The evolution of national urban policies: a global overview

This publication provides an overview of urban policies and how they have been developed in selected countries from different regions. Specific proble....

Unleashing the economic potential of agglomeration in African cities

This book seeks to explore what local and national governments can do to harness the economic possibilities of Africa's expanding cities and to maximi....

Is urbanisation in South Africa on a sustainable trajectory?

Urbanisation is an important but contested process because of its far-reaching social, economic and environmental implications. The paper explores the....

Lessons from Medellin: from a violent city to one of innovation and social cohesion

A city that has cut its murder rate ten-fold over the last 20 years and was lauded as the most innovative in the world in 2013 is worth taking serious....

The urbanization-development nexus in the BRICS

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the contribution of urbanisation and associated policies to inclusive economic development in leading nation....

Could a more positive approach to urbanisation in the BRICS have facilitated both economic growth and social inclusion?

This chapter reflects on the BRICS' experience to determine whether a more positive approach to urbanisation, more mindful of economic fundamentals an....

South Africa's tortured urbanisation and the complications of reconstruction

The purpose of this chapter is to review the historical trajectory of urbanisation and its implications for contemporary South African society. There....

Cities as drivers of development

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the contribution of cities and towns to the development of African economies and the reduction of poverty. T....

The resilience of South African cities a decade after local democracy

South Africa emerged from a cataclysm two decades ago to experience a stable democratic transition during which the local government system was transf....

Averting a downward spiral: building resilience in informal urban settlements through adaptive governance

The growth of informal settlements can intensify the risks of social and ecological harm to their communities and to the wider urban area. The unplann....

Linking urbanisation and development in Africa's economic revival

In this chapter the author seeks to explore the unfolding relationship between urbanisation and economic development in Africa. The main proposition p....

Urbanization and economic growth: the arguments and evidence for Africa and Asia

The relationship between urbanization and development is a vital policy concern, especially in Africa and Asia. This paper reviews the arguments and e....

Releasing the transformative power of urbanisation

The relationship between urbanisation and development points to a crucial issue of our time. The urban population of low- and middle-income countries ....

The green economy: progress and prospects

The concept of the green economy provides a potential framework to address some of South Africa's major socioeconomic and environmental challenges by ....

Continuity, change and conflict in South African cities

Twenty years after domocracy, there is evidence of both continuity and change in the way South African cities have developed. The bold mandate of the....

Promises and pitfalls of the green economy

The green economy is an important feature of policy discussions around the world. It is portrayed as part of the solution to the global economic crisi....

The impact of the green economy on jobs in South Africa

The objective of this article is to make a preliminary assessment of the potential impact of the green economy on job growth in South Africa. We exami....

The green economy: incremental change or transformation?

The concept of the green economy presented in three reports from leading global organizations is examined in this paper. These include the United Nati....

The green economy accord: launchpad for a green transition?

The purpose of this chapter is to make an assessment of the Green Economy Accord in terms of its stated objectives, and the wider perspectives of the ....

Transforming South Africa's divided cities: can devolution help?

Little progress has been made since 1994 to alter the fragmented structure of South African cities and to create more liveable, functional and sustain....

Census 2011 reveals boom in backyard shacks

The 2011 Census revealed some unexpected patterns and trends. One of the striking findings was the sharp growth in backyard shacks in the major cities....

Towards sustainable cities: extending resilience with insights from vulnerability and transition theory

Cities at all stages of development need to provide jobs, food and services for their people. There is no formula that can unilaterally be applied in ....

Transforming excluded communities into inclusive cities

Across the country we face painful dilemmas of social transformation that threaten to draw communities into a downward spiral. The predicament is wors....

Urbanisation and development in South Africa: economic imperatives, spatial distortions and strategic responses

This paper outlines the experience of urbanisation in South Africa, which is now one of the most populous and urbanised countries in Africa. For over ....

Editorial: resurgent African cities?

There is a welcome new narrative about Africa as a continent on the move and verging on economic take-off. The old assumptions of political mismanage....

Securing the resurgence of African cities

After two decades of stagnation and decline, there has been a turnaround in the fortunes of many African economies. The implications of this for the b....

People-based versus place-based policies: the 2009 world development report

The World Development Report 'Reshaping Economic Geography' is a bold attempt to set the agenda for spatial economic policy throughout the world. It p....

The changing spatial economy of cities: an exploratory analysis of Cape Town

The spatial economy of South African cities is generally believed to be experiencing selective deconcentration, which may exacerbate social inequality....

The politics of urban growth and decline

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the literature and arguments that have emerged over the last two decades about the politics of urban policy ....

Linking growing African economies and mushrooming cities

Government decisions over the next few years on where and what types of infrastructure are pursued will lock in particular growth paths for decades to....

Limits to the mega-city region: conflicting local and regional needs

This chapter analyses the tension within large or mega-city reguins between local needs and regional interests, using the United Kingdom's Thames Gate....

The built environment

This chapter examines the current state of the built environment of the main cities in South Africa and reviews progress over the last decade. The bu....

Mother city, mother lode?: Cape Town's global competitiveness under the gun

A team of researchers scrutinised a host of statistics and interviewed 88 companies employing over 40 000 workers for a Cape Town City Council study t....

City governance

The chapter assesses the progress made since the restructuring of city government in 2000/01. The 1996 Constitution established local government as an....

Urban and rural areas: allies not rivals

South African cities perform a vital role inn underpinning all-round national development, despite their internal problems. Stronger economic growth ....

An eventful city by design

Six lessons to ensure that the beneficial effects of an event like the WDC bid is not outweighed by the costs and other drawbacks.....

The state of South African cities 2011

A decade ago, South Africa put into practice a bold vision for metropolitan government, recognising that cities are integral to solving some of our bi....

The state of South African cities

A decade ago, South Africa put into practice a bold vision for metropolitan government, recognising that cities are integral to solving some of our bi....

Reshaping cities: transforming life chances

Reshaping the form of any city is a complex challenge because of the durability of fixed investment and the slow process of property redevelopment in ....

Inclusive growth: meaningful goal or mirage?

The purpose of this chapter is to review some of the main arguments surrounding the challenges of poverty, inequality and economic development. I con....

Deconstructing density: strategic dilemmas confronting the post-apartheid city

Public authorities in many countries around the world are seeking to raise urban densities. Residential densification is particularly important in Sou....

Towards a multi-level developmental state

The developmental state must harness the power of government at every level to ensure that each part of the country builds on its strengths and develo....

The world cup and urban revitalisation

During the World Cup, many South Africans made an important discovery that could help us to transform our cities for the better - the value of dense ....

Towards a developmental state?: provincial economic policy in South Africa

This paper explores the meaning of the developmental state for spatial economic policy in South Africa. Two main questions are addressed: do provincia....

South Africa's challenge of shared prosperity

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the remarkable process of change in South Africa, launched by Nelson Mandela's release from prison. In winning....

The economy of cities

The chapter examines the extent and nature of economic changes since the creation of metropolitan government a decade ago. After examining the economi....

Getting urbanization to work in Africa: the role of the urban land-infrastructure-finance nexus

The serious social and environmental problems and risks associated with large-scale urbanization in Africa are widely recognized. However, the potenti....

Mass housing or better cities?

The government's RDP/BNG housing model is fast running out of steam, evident in declining rates of completion, fewer transfers of title deeds, escalat....

The theory and reality of urban slums: pathways-out-of-poverty or cul-de-sacs?

This article explores two contrasting perspectives on the role of informal settlements in urban labour markets. One proposes that they help to lift ho....