J. A. Binns

J. A. Binns
University of Otago · Department of Geography

BA, DipEd, MA, PhD

About

182
Publications
57,256
Reads
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Introduction
Tony Binns has spent over 40 years researching the relationships between people and environment, mainly, though not exclusively, in Africa. In recent years, he has focused on aspects of community-based development in Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zambia. He has published 21 books, some 42 book chapters and over 100 refereed articles in peer-reviewed international journals. He has been elected President of the Geographical Association (UK), the New Zealand Geographical Society, and the Commonwealth Geographical Bureau.
Additional affiliations
October 2004 - present
University of Otago
Position
  • Ron Lister Professor of Geography
October 2000 - August 2001
Rhodes University
Position
  • Visiting Lecturer
October 1975 - September 2004
University of Sussex
Position
  • Reader in Geography
Education
October 1973 - September 1975
University of Birmingham
Field of study
  • Geography & African Studies
October 1972 - July 1973
University of Birmingham
Field of study
  • African Studies
October 1970 - July 1971
The University of Sheffield
Field of study
  • Education

Publications

Publications (182)
Article
In the rapidly growing cities of the Global South, and Africa in particular, urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) is increasingly recognized as a survival strategy both by researchers and international development organizations. While UPA is well researched, direct links to economic crisis and class variations in participation have only received...
Article
Full-text available
The paper reports on a study which explored how a sense of love is experienced in diaspora tourist experiences. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with the Sierra Leonean community in London, England, accessing feelings and meanings of the tourists. Following thematic analysis, it was revealed that the emotion of love manifested its...
Article
This special issue of the New Zealand Geographer was conceptualised as a way to celebrate the academic and research contributions made by Otago Geographers over the last 75 years, as represented by the work they have published in the national flagship Geography journal. The 11 papers in this collection are a small but representative cameo of the ma...
Article
The urban development and planning challenges facing Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone are typical of the significant issues which face most cities in Africa, including rapid growth, resource constraints, burgeoning informal settlements and inadequate planning regimes. In parallel with many African cities, colonial neglect and racial bias in pl...
Article
Full-text available
This article considers the experiences of a Samoan female geographer undertaking community‐based field research in her home country, and identifies some lessons for researchers working in similar circumstances. The paper suggests that ethical behaviour in research is ‘place‐specific’, and there is therefore a need to employ culturally sensitive and...
Article
Full-text available
This paper focuses upon the role that science-based interventions allied to effective regulatory regimes can play in reducing the threat posed by inappropriate harvesting of wild flora. A Vulnerability Index (VI) has been developed for 150 natural fynbos species that exist on South Africa’s Agulhas Plain, where intensive wildflower harvesting occur...
Chapter
Urban agriculture (UA) plays an important role in terms of food security and livelihoods in the Global South. However, its overall significance is contested, and research has revealed considerable place-based variations in the practice. This chapter draws on evidence from field-based research in the Zambian Copperbelt to argue three defined points....
Article
Full-text available
Being resilient in the face of climate change seems especially important for island societies, which face the effects of rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall, changing wind patterns and sea level rise. To date, most studies of adaptation and resilience among Pacific island communities have used indicators and methods rooted in Western scienc...
Article
In the context of the current review of New Zealand's National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), the paper reflects on the nature and relevance of geography in education, life and work. The context of school geography programmes is critically examined, and a checklist of points for further consideration and action is presented.
Chapter
Urban agriculture (UA) involves the production of food crops and often the raising of livestock within and around urban areas on either private property or common land. It is a common practice in towns and cities in both the Global North and the Global South. In many African urban areas UA plays an important role in ensuring food security, generati...
Data
Sub-Saharan Africa is urbanizing more rapidly than any other part of the world and there is an escalating demand for fresh foodstuffs from the urban population. The growing of crops in and around towns and cities is frequently a widespread and long-established activity, yet a greater understanding is needed of the patterns and processes involved. F...
Article
Research on international development volunteering has increased significantly in recent decades, but there is a need for greater depth of understanding in relation to host communities. This article examines the impact of younger volunteers from the perspectives of host community members, evaluating the positive and negative aspects in working with...
Article
South Africa’s Working for Water (WfW) programme launched in 1995 has received national and international acclaim for its attention to clearing alien species and providing employment among historically disadvantaged communities. In recent years, the Green Economy narrative has pervaded the national policy agenda, with the WfW programme being showca...
Article
The Copperbelt region in Zambia experienced significant economic destabilization after the 1970s which led to massive job losses in the mining and manufacturing sectors, forcing the local population into a range of informal sector activities and food self-provisioning. Resilience thinking and the concepts of adaptation and adaptability in particula...
Chapter
Participatory development aims to engage local people in planning for development interventions which are normally intended to benefit them. Since World War II there has been a gradual move away from large-scale, dictatorial, “top-down” development projects to smaller, more democratic, “bottom-up,” community-based initiatives. A wide range of parti...
Article
Sierra Leone is one of the world's poorest countries, which in the last two decades has suffered from a devastating civil war and, more recently, an epidemic of the deadly Ebola disease. Both economy and livelihoods have suffered considerably, and the government and local communities are now working hard to re-build these. Food insecurity has been...
Article
In Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, rapid urbanisation combined with the lingering impacts of the devastating decade long civil war (1991–2002), has left large portions of the population without reliable work or income. One response to this has been an increase in urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) which provides participants with em...
Article
Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) is a widespread feature in sub-Saharan African cities, and has become particularly important in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Recent surveys have revealed the importance of UPA in Freetown as a method for generating food, income, and employment. Government and NGOs have encouraged urban farmers to group together int...
Article
Jaffna District in northern Sri Lanka has recently emerged from three decades of violence and isolation, leading to a diverse array of political, social and economic issues. This article critically analyses the links between youth employment and the post-war reconstruction and development of this region. Unemployment among youth is regarded as a po...
Article
This paper evaluates the outcomes from an ambitious wildflower harvesting programme in South Africa's Western Cape, which has sought to achieve positive outcomes in terms of socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation. Indigenous wildflowers, harvested according to conservation principles, are processed into ‘Cape Flora’ bouquets and s...
Article
Full-text available
South Africa’s Agulhas Plain is home to the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), one of the richest floras in the world and the smallest of earth’s six plant kingdoms. The indigenous fynbos flora is harvested from the wild and is both exported and sold locally. The conservation value of the CFR, and the need to address deeply entrenched socio-economic disp...
Article
Urban agriculture is gaining increasing recognition as a key urban survival strategy in the rapidly growing, but food insecure, cities of the South, and in Africa in particular. The overall significance of the activity has been the subject of considerable academic debate. This paper contributes to this debate through the presentation of the finding...
Article
Increased attention has been given to the concept of 'development through sport' in international development literature over the past decade. Within this literature, however, there has been little discussion of the implementation of 'development through sport' initiatives in India, and less still on the use of cricket. With the immense wealth, pow...
Article
Full-text available
The city of Livingstone has experienced rapid tourism growth over the past 20 years, as Zambia has attempted to diversify its economy that has been traditionally driven by copper and natural resource extraction. As tourism has grown in Livingstone, the importance of the industry in providing more than just economic progress and growth has been deba...
Chapter
Development practice should be centred on human relations governed by a spirit of cooperation, kindness and compassion, rather than on purely economic concerns. The Sarvódaya Shramadána movement, a grassroots Buddhist-based development movement in Sri Lanka, emphasises that development practices should be more closely aligned with religious resourc...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents findings from a study about the relationships between social change and settlement change in Samoa, where a form of landlessness is emerging in low income areas of the main town, Apia. It examines changing reciprocal kinship arrangements with respect to customary rural village plantation land and changes in both individual and h...
Article
Post‐apartheid South Africa is characterized by considerable spatial and social inequality and high levels of poverty and unemployment, particularly among historically disadvantaged groups. Since 1994, there has been much attention given to fostering local economic development (LED) to promote empowerment, job creation, economic growth and communit...
Article
Artisanal, or small-scale mining, is widely recognised as a key, but often controversial, survival strategy adopted by low-income communities in the global South. This paper examines how members of one community in South Africa, that of Indwe, in a desperate effort to create self-employment, have initiated micro-level coal-mining enterprises, which...
Article
Full-text available
Global changes in climate today present hostile weather conditions which pose considerable threats to the rich and poor alike. The capacity for developing countries to cope with these impacts is weak and a development concern. The post-conflict West African nation of Sierra Leone is no exception. In fact, rural areas are exposed to high degrees of...
Article
Full-text available
With rapidly deteriorating national and local economies, many urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are increasingly resorting to a wide range of informal sector activities to ameliorate food insecurity and generate household income. Among these activities is urban agriculture (UA), which is used both as a source of basic foodstuffs and income...
Chapter
Since 1994, the South African wine industry has been challenged to effect a complex transformation which has involved re-engaging with international markets whilst tackling an array of social, environmental and political challenges. The multiple dimensions of this transformation are reviewed within this chapter. The first section provides a geograp...
Conference Paper
Sierra Leone is emerging from a long period of political instability and is ranked among the world's poorest countries. During the civil war of the 1990s, widespread forced outmigration left much of the countryside abandoned, as residents fled to the safety of the capital city, Freetown. Consequently, food production became severely dislocated and...
Article
As skyrocketing global food and energy prices have recently triggered a stream of riots in urban centres across sub-Saharan Africa, underscoring the desperation of urban residents as food becomes unobtainable, cities in the West African country of Sierra Leone face a series of new challenges as the country emerges from a decade of civil war during...
Article
In recent decades regional development around the world has adopted new operational foci. This article explores how Aspire, the Regional Economic Development Agency in the Amathole region of South Africa, is seeking to define a role and focus for itself through an explicit endeavour to promote regional development through a unique small town focus....
Article
Full-text available
With rapidly deteriorating national and local economies, many urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa are resorting to informal sector activities to ameliorate the current food insecurity that poor households face. Among these activities is urban agriculture, which is used both as a source of basic foodstuffs and also for income generation. In many ci...
Article
The global climate change literature suggests that at some point in the future it is possible that low-lying areas may be drowned due to rising sea levels, and a number of Pacific Ocean states could be particularly vulnerable. It is increasingly evident that the emerging scenario of environmental change has compounded more established push–pull fac...
Article
Agrarian reform has been a key theme on the development agenda of many countries in the Global South for decades. Whilst such interventions are often pursued for political goals and in the interests of empowerment, there is often a mismatch between these goals and the actual outcomes achieved. Within this context, this study investigates the impact...
Book
For many, Africa is regarded as a place of mystery and negative images, where reports of natural disasters and civil strife dominate media attention, with relatively little publicity given to any of the continent’s more positive attributes. Africa has at last begun to receive the depth of interest it has long deserved, in the shape of debates about...
Chapter
Since 1994, the South African wine industry has been challenged to effect a complex transformation which has involved re-engaging with international markets whilst tackling an array of social, environmental and political challenges. The multiple dimensions of this transformation are reviewed within this chapter. The first section provides a geograp...
Article
This paper discusses a secondary school education initiative focussing on environment and sustainability centred on a small urban stream. This initiative has passed through an engagement stage, involving the community and other schools, and is now being embedded in curriculum learning. A cross‐curricular learning programme has been trialled and poi...
Article
This paper builds upon field research in Ajegunle, Nigeria, which suggests that effective HIV/AIDS prevention requires a much higher degree of independent community participation. In exploring ways to achieve this, we suggest that assessing community strengths provides positive scope for understanding and utilising a much wider variety of HIV/AIDS...
Article
Geography seems to be in good hands in New Zealand's schools and universities, but we cannot afford to be complacent. What are the key priorities for further strengthening geography in New Zealand in the years ahead? The New Zealand Geographical Society has to play a crucial role by helping to bring together geographers in the different sectors, as...
Article
This study investigates the relationship between HIV/AIDS prevention programmes and the lived realities of people most ‘at risk’ in the poor community of Ajegunle in Nigeria’s Lagos State. While providers, international NGOs and their client NGOs, emphasize Western medical models for HIV/ AIDS intervention and prevention, ‘at-risk’ groups expressed...
Chapter
Full-text available
In many developing countries, urban agriculture makes a significant contribution to the livelihoods of urban populations, in providing food security and income generation. In Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city, urban agriculture is a longstanding feature, but rapid urban growth is leading to increased conflict over land use, such that this practice is b...
Article
Full-text available
This paper will explore social change in contemporary Samoan society with respect to the traditional expectations of the church and kinship conflicting with the modern needs of an urbanising population. In the Samoan way of life – the fa'aSamoa – religion, matai (chiefly system) and reciprocal ‘gift-giving’ kinship arrangements among the aiga (exte...
Article
Considerable attention has been directed recently towards the role of culture in sustainable community development. Individuals and communities have their own values, meanings, customs and knowledge systems that affirm identity and diversity and play a key role in sustaining livelihoods. However, such features have been frequently ignored in develo...
Article
In Africa, the world's poorest continent, community-based development has a key role to play in ensuring human survival and uplifting livelihoods. This article, presented in two parts, examines some of the key factors that can affect the success and failure of community-based development initiatives. Drawing upon 30 years of field-based research in...
Article
Semi-subsistence peasant farming in the forest regions of Sierra Leone does not lend itself to ready understanding by western-trained fieldworkers. But that understanding is essential if development objectives and procedures are to be successful. Some progress has been achieved through the application of systems-based modes of analysis of detailed...
Article
A hallmark of post-apartheid South Africa has been the introduction of bold and innovative policy in areas ranging from the national Constitution to resource management policy. In line with this approach, there has been a clear commitment to principles of decentralization and participatory development, with Local Economic Development (LED) featurin...
Article
In Africa, the world's poorest continent, community-based development has a key role to play in ensuring human survival and uplifting livelihoods. This article, presented in two parts, examines some of the key factors that can affect the success and failure of community-based development initiatives. Drawing upon 30 years of field-based research in...
Article
This paper discusses the recent and dramatic rationalization of key sectors of South Africa's once powerful mining industry and the effects on former mining towns. Whilst older coalfields have been replaced by new areas of production, the same is not true for gold. A key challenge for mine towns facing job loss and mine closure is how to respond th...
Article
Full-text available
Urban agriculture in Africa has been identified as an important income generation and survival strategy among poor and not so poor households. However, official attitudes to urban agriculture vary considerably between and within different African countries. Recent field-based research undertaken in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, reveals that urban...
Article
'Geographies of Development' (now in its 3rd Edition) provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of development. Key concepts are presented and explained with examples drawn from wide-ranging field-based research. The book has proved to be enduringly popular with geography and development studies students and academics since the first editi...
Article
A-level geography challenges you to think beyond the material world to spiritual, moral, ethical, social and cultural issues. This article addresses the ethical dimension of consumption, which affects your choices every day. Part 2, in a future issue of GEOGRAPHY REVIEW, is a case study of ethical production in South Africa.
Article
African countries with significant natural wealth have often reaped limited rewards and have experienced underdevelopment, corruption, political instability, and in some cases, violent conflict. As a result, the so-called ‘resource curse’ hypothesis has received much attention in recent years. It has been suggested that diamonds played a key role i...
Article
In recent years, the so-called ‘resource curse’ syndrome has gained increasing currency. Growing evidence suggests that many African countries with significant natural wealth have actually reaped limited rewards, instead experiencing underdevelopment, corruption, political instability, and in some cases, violent conflict. In the small West African...
Article
Sierra Leone is currently emerging from a brutal civil war that lasted most of the 1990s, and now has the dubious distinction of being ranked among the world's poorest countries. As thousands of displaced people move back to their villages, a large proportion of the predominantly farm-based rural population are growing food crops for the first time...
Article
This article explores the emergence and persistence of crisis narratives in the policy environment of twentieth century Nigeria. It finds that environmental crisis narratives have a well-established and traceable historical lineage, initially, as continuity between colonial and post-colonial policy discourse, but more recently with donor agencies g...
Article
Rooibos tee (red bush tea) (Aspalathus linearis, Fabaceae), which is indigenous only to the Cedarberg and neighbouring mountains of South Africa, has become popular internationally as a result of its apparent health-giving properties. Situated within the broader contexts of alternative food networks, alternate economic spaces and local/community-ba...
Article
Ten years after the demise of apartheid, South Africa still faces significant development challenges. Government policy has focused mainly upon the macro-economy, which has not necessarily helped address the plight of marginalized communities. One parallel mechanism designed to empower communities has been through the encouragement of Local Economi...
Article
The paper aims to evaluate progress made so far in the decentralisation process in Africa in the light of two case studies, one in a country where decentralisation is well established and government might be expected to be responding to deficiencies observed (Ghana), and the second in a country where decentralisation is relatively recent (South Afr...