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Alexandra Parker

Alexandra Parker
Gauteng City-Region Observatory · Gauteng City-Region Observatory

PhD in town and regional planning

About

22
Publications
2,298
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Citations
Introduction
Alexandra Parker’s research explores the intersections of people, their cultures and identities, and urban and suburban environments. Her current research is diverse and examines the roles of motherhood identity, graffiti, streets as public spaces and school feeder zones in shaping the Gauteng city-region. Exploring personal identities, cultural practices and social experiences offers alternative insights into the functions and dysfunctions of city spaces. Alexandra has a growing enthusiasm in the work of visually disseminating research findings through exhibitions, data visualisations, explainer videos and exploiting social media platforms.

Publications

Publications (22)
Technical Report
Full-text available
A report released at the launch of QoL 2020/21 contains a summary of the key findings from the COVID-19 questions that were asked. This Data Brief examines the responses to COVID-19-specific questions in more detail and looks at some of the broader impacts on households, society, the economy and governance. The survey results show the ways in which...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) launched the sixth iteration of the Quality of Life Survey (QoL 2020/21) on 09 September 2021. This overview report provides a brief overview of survey context and methodology, followed by key findings across a range of thematic areas. The results of the QoL 2020/21 survey reflect the mood of a city-region...
Chapter
This chapter assesses the lives of elderly residents in the Gauteng city-region in South Africa, where the HIV/AIDS pandemic has already placed a disproportionate financial and caregiving burden on the elderly. It uses data from the Gauteng City-Region Observatory's Quality of Life Survey to better understand the challenges for the elderly during t...
Article
Since the repeal of the Group Areas Act three decades ago, South Africa’s once-divided spaces have merged, and race-based restrictions on political participation have been eliminated. The result is that the territories to which people belong have transformed, and in many cases have increased in scale. This editorial introduces a special issue on th...
Article
In May 2016, the South African Constitutional Court ruled unconstitutional the long-term use of default school feeder zones (with a 5 km radius) to govern school admissions in Gauteng province. The ruling drew on an amicus curiae application which argued that the default feeder zones were constitutionally invalid: in the context of a profoundly une...
Book
Full-text available
Graffiti is a controversial subject and fraught with ambiguities and contradictions. However, the recent global success of artists such as Banksy, Melbourne’s booming graffiti tourism, and the rise of the ‘creative city’ discourse, have blurred the lines between what some regard as vandalism and some as public art. As such, graffiti has increasingl...
Article
The ghetto as a metaphor is strongly present in the hood film and offers both utopian and dystopian representations of the city for African Americans. The ghetto or hood film has influenced the gangster genre in South Africa, where racial and socioeconomic segregation is a legacy of colonial and apartheid planning in cities. This article focuses on...
Book
Full-text available
In many parts of Gauteng, streets are congested with cars, trucks, minibus taxis, pedestrians, and informal traders. In other parts, streets are quiet, underutilised and frequently underserviced. The surface quality of the city-region’s streets varies widely – from the engineering marvel of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project to those (relative...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The urban landscape of post-apartheid Johannesburg is fragmented, highly unequal and carries the scars of the spatial injustices of the apartheid regime. South African cities were designed and legislated to enforce spatial marginalisation of black Africans and other ‘non-white’ groups 1 to the cities’ peripheries, townships and informal settlements...
Article
Stereotypes are people or things categorised by general characteristics of the group based on a truth that is widely recognised and function to reduce ideas to a simpler form (Dyer, 1993). Not all stereotypes are pejorative but can be a form of othering of people (Bhabha, 1996) and come about through a friction with difference (Jameson, 1995). In J...
Chapter
Film is an urban phenomenon. From its inception, film has depicted the burgeoning city and screened these images to an urban audience (Bruno, 2007). Since the birth of cinema, urban landscapes have inspired filmmakers and storytellers. Even in the early soundless films, made in studios, the city was integral to film and was often constructed in new...
Chapter
Screen images and narratives, including those of films and documentaries, contribute to a collective knowledge and memory of spaces and places in the city. Knowledge of the city is provided in a simplified and shortened form, often through the use of stereotypes. The book shows how Johannesburg is represented in film, and how these images contribut...
Chapter
When describing the city divided by class, Friedmann and Wolff (1982) use the terms ‘citadel’ and ‘ghetto’ to provide a spatial dimension to the inequalities. The ‘citadel’ represents the middle-class suburbs and gated estates, which are increasingly fortified and securitised against perceived and real threats to safety. The ‘ghetto’ is then the sp...
Chapter
Movement in and around the city, in the streets and on public transport, is an everyday practice that is embedded in the urban environment and the city’s materiality. The paths (Lynch, 1960) or the ‘armatures’ (Jansen van vuuren 2009) provide the spaces of chance encounters with strangers and interaction with the elements of the city between home a...
Chapter
Johannesburg today is a large, sprawling, cosmopolitan city that functions as the economic hub for South Africa and for the southern African region. Johannesburg has far-reaching tentacles that have extended in all directions, but particularly east and west along the gold reef and north towards the city of Pretoria. In 2011, the population for the...
Chapter
As the starting point for exploring the representation of Johannesburg in films, this chapter examines the representation of the physical city of Johannesburg on the screen. The first section explores the edges, landmarks and paths that make up the urban landscape of Johannesburg, drawing on the work of Kevin Lynch’s Image of the City (Lynch, 1960)...
Chapter
Identity is a site of multiplicity or hybridity and is not fixed. Identities shift and evolve with varying contexts and relationships and are socially constructed largely from without, through social, historical, political and cultural structures (Abes, Jones & McEwen, 2007). To illustrate this construction of identity Jones and McEwen have generat...
Book
This book explores the ways in which films of Johannesburg assist residents of the city to bridge the divisions and inequalities of contemporary urban space through the four lenses of materiality, identity, mobility, and crime. Films influence the everyday practices of urban residents and contribute to their knowledge of the city. Urban Film and Ev...

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Projects

Projects (9)
Project
This project examines the geography of education in Gauteng to gain a better understanding of the complexity of accessing quality education and better understand the policy directions that would make universal access to equitable education a closer reality than it is today. The complexity of the problem is influenced by the inherent complexity in choosing a school, but also by factors such as urban form and transport accessibility, the governance of education in Gauteng, school capacity, affordability, perceived and actual differences in the quality of education between schools, competition among schools for learners, the interaction between school and community cultures, and languages of instruction in schools (and the perceived benefits to these). With a broad objective of understanding the different dimensions of inequality within and between schools in the GCR, and the implications of this for both residents, and the nature and form of the city itself, this project provides the opportunity to engage with a range of related questions, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.