Kerry BOBBINS (South Africa)

Through her research Kerry tackles issues related to equitable and sustainable resource provision, and aims to raise awareness around the benefits of incorporating ecosystem services and green infrastructure in urban areas.

PhD Student in Development Planning at University College London, United Kingdom

Research focus: sustainable development and green infrastructure

Kerry’s PhD project aims to describe the understanding and use of green infrastructure concepts in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kerry investigates how histories, actors and the local context shape the way policy concepts are translated and used in practice. This includes a framing of the use of green infrastructure concepts at the city and project level. Knowledge generated from her project will contribute toward understanding the way environmental concepts gain meaning in cities through planning and management processes. As mentioned above, the findings of her PhD research will contribute knowledge on urban policy for supporting the development of sustainable urban infrastructure in future.

2018            Royal Geographical Society Dudley Stamp Memorial  Award
2017/2018 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation
2016            Commonwealth PhD Scholarship
2015            Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans
2015            International Social Science Council World Social Science Fellow

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2014):

Sustainability Knowledge, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, South Africa

Research focus: use of green infrastructure for sustainable policy-making in the fields of environmental management and resource planning

As a researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), Kerry Bobbins is investigating ways of integrating Green Infrastructure and the principles of social sustainability into the city-region’s resource planning.

Tackling the issue of equitable and sustainable resource provision in South Africa’s Gauteng City-Region (GCR) is a huge challenge for scientists, politicians and administrators alike. As a co-leading researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), Kerry’s mid-term goal is to develop a Guideline Green Infrastructure Plan for the GCR by 2016. The Guideline Plan will look at ways to address the current difficulties in relating scientific research and the sustainability knowledge base to concrete decision-making by the relevant administrative stakeholders in the region.

Kerry’s work at the GCRO involves building a case study for the provision of Green Infrastructure (GI) to solve storm water challenges of the GCR. The results of this study will be scaled up and used to illustrate the kinds of quantifiable benefits that GI and ecosystem services can provide for the region. In the current project phase, Kerry is also involved in dynamic seminars with local, regional and national policy-makers in order to sensitise them to GI and sustainability issues. Kerry hopes to build a body of research upon which to base her PhD studies after the completion of her current project in 2016. In the long term, Kerry would like to play a role in the governance of environmental resources and infrastructural reform in South Africa.

The jury was particularly impressed by the breadth of Kerry’s practical experience and believes that her aim of benefiting from the experience of established practices at the interface between science and policy in Germany during her stay will serve her well in the future.