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Charlotte Lemanski BA, MSc, DPhil

Charlotte Lemanski BA, MSc, DPhil

University Senior Lecturer

Urban Geographer interested in the everyday and structural realities and constraints of inequality within the Southern city, focusing specifically on inequalities related to housing and infrastructure, as well as urban governance and citizenship. My primary empirical focus is contemporary South Africa, with a secondary interest in India.




  • 2017-present: Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2014-2017: Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2012-2014: Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University College London
  • 2007-2012: Lecturer, Department of Geography, University College London
  • 2005-2006: Leverhulme Trust Postdoctoral Fellow, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, University of Cape Town
  • 2001-2005: Research Assistant and Part-time lecturer, Development Planning Unit, University College London


  • 2007-2009: PG Cert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University College London
  • 2002-2005: DPhil, Department of Geography, University of Oxford
  • 2000-2001: MSc Development Management, London School of Economics
  • 1995-1998: BA Politics, St Aidan's College, University of Durham


As an overarching research theme, I am committed to conceptualising the global South as a valid site of knowledge production. Current research addresses:

  • Connecting infrastructure and citizenship. The under-theorisation of this relationship has allowed scholarship to implicitly frame infrastructure and citizenship as exclusively connected via radical and/or confrontational protest over access to services. I am currently developing the concept of infrastructural citizenship. This original approach explicitly connects the two concepts, focusing on the ways in which infrastructure influences citizenship identity and everyday practice (rather than protest per se). This is being explored through a number of connected research projects and outputs:
    • During the 2018-2019 academic year I will be based in South Africa, (funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship and an Isaac Newton Trust Research Grant) exploring 'Infrastructural Citizenship' and focused on a long-term writing project. During this period, fieldwork will empirically focus on : a) citizens access to, and use of, infrastructure as affecting and affected by citizenship identity and practice, and b) the role of the state (and the professionals it contracts) in allocating and delivering infrastructure as a demonstration of citizenship rights. This approach is important because it connects the material and civic nature of state-society relations without privileging the radical.
    • I am currently editing the Routledge book "Citizenships of Infrastructure", which brings together scholars working on urban infrastructure and citizenship around the world, to explicitly connect these two concepts and debates. This will be published in early 2019.
    • In 2016 I undertook pilot fieldwork in a state-subsidised housing settlement in South Africa (funded by the Cambridge Humanities Research Group), exploring low-income citizens' connection to housing and services. Research uncovered the ways in which state-subsidised housing beneficiaries in Cape Town physically alter their houses, and critically analyses how subsequent changes in access to infrastructure (sanitation, water, sewerage, solid waste management, electricity) relate to citizenship identity and practice. This pilot indicates that urban dwellers demonstrate citizenship via infrastructure, but in ways that challenge the state's normative assumptions of 'good citizenship'. Initial findings were disseminated to policymakers and community leaders in late-2016.
    • Policy impact of this research: in July 2017 I organised a workshop with City of Cape Town housing and planning officials to explore the ways in which policies and practices focused on meeting the housing and infrastructure needs of South Africa's rapidly urbanising population can learn from existing research knowledge (funded by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Award).
  • I am committed to an inter-disciplinary approach to urban scholarship, recognising that understanding contemporary urban infrastructure requires knowledge that spans the physical and social sciences, and I am involved in various activities that contribute to this commitment:
  • Previous research (funded by the British Academy, the Royal Geographical Society, and the British Council) explored the urban participatory governance strategies amongst what I label 'in the middle' urban citizens and households - ie. those who function in the social, economic, political and cultural 'gap' between the poor and the elite, and who consequently fall into the interstitial spaces of policy provision. This research has focused empirically on South Africa and India, using housing as a lens through which to explore the reality of life in the Southern city for those neither poor nor wealthy, with a particularly focus on governance strategies.
  • My book, co-edited with Colin Marx (UCL) is entitled The City in Urban Poverty, and was published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2015. This edited book addresses the absence of robust theories related to 'the city' within urban poverty causation, arguing that in contemporary scholarly and policy discussions of urban poverty, the physical space of the city (i.e. urban geography) has become noticeable by its absence. It brings together my interests in bridging the divides between both urban and development geography as well as theory and practice, and includes contributions from both academic and policy-makers addressing contexts in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Previous research has explored various aspects of the South African city as an example of a highly divided Southern city - e.g. segregation, fear of crime, gated communities, global cities, low-income housing.

Potential PhD students

I would be pleased to hear from students interested in pursuing doctoral studies that resonate with my research interests in urban infrastructure, housing, governance and citizenship in the Southern City, as well as those with empirical interests in urban South Africa and/or India.


  • Lemanski, C and Marx, C (Eds.), 2015, The City in Urban Poverty, Palgrave-Macmillan
  • Lemanski, C., 2014, 'Hybrid gentrification in South Africa: theorizing across southern and northern cities', Urban Studies 51(14), 2943-2960.
  • Lemanski, C. and Tawa Lama-Rewal, S., 2013, 'The "missing middle": Class and urban governance in Delhi's unauthorized colonies', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38(1), 91-105.
  • Lemanski, C., 2012, 'Cape Town' The Encyclopedia of Sustainability vol 9: Afro-Eurasia: Assessing Sustainability, Berkshire Publishing, 54-56.
  • Lemanski, C., 2012, 'Everyday human (in)security: re-scaling for the Southern city', Security Dialogue, 43(1), 62-79.
  • Lemanski, C., 2012, 'Housing and the State in South Africa', in Susan J. Smith, Marja Elsinga, Lorna Fox O'Mahony, Ong Seow Eng, Susan Wachter (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home, Vol 3, Oxford: Elsevier, pp337-339.
  • Lemanski, C., 2011, 'Access or assessment? Incentives for independent study', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(5), pp565-581.
  • Lemanski, C., 2011, 'Moving up the ladder or stuck at the bottom? Homeownership as a solution to poverty in South Africa', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35.1, pp57-77.
  • Lemanski, C. and Saff, G., 2010, 'The value(s) of space: the discourses and strategies of residential exclusion in Cape Town and Long Island', Urban Affairs Review, 45.4, 507-543
  • Lemanski, C., 2010, 'Gated Communities', in Hutchinson R. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Urban Studies, SAGE Publishing.
  • Lemanski, C., 2009, 'Augmented informality: South Africa's backyard dwellings as a by-product of formal housing policies', Habitat International, 33.4, pp472-484.
  • Lemanski, C. and Oldfield, S., 2009, 'The Parallel Claims of Gated Communities and Land Invasions in a Southern City: Polarised State Reponses', Environment and Planning A, 41(3), pp634–648.
  • Lemanski, C., 2008, 'Houses without Community: problems of community (in)capacity in a low-cost housing community in Cape Town, South Africa', Environment and Urbanization, 20(2), pp393-410.
  • Lemanski, C., Landman, K. and Durington, M., 2008, 'Divergent and similar experiences of 'gating' in South Africa: Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town', Urban Forum, 19(2), pp133-158.
  • Lemanski, C., 2007, 'Global Cities in the South: Deepening social and spatial polarisation in Cape Town', Cities, 24(6), pp448-461.
  • Lemanski, C., 2006, 'Desegregation and integration as linked or distinct? Evidence from a previously 'white' suburb in post-apartheid Cape Town', International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, 30(3), pp564-86.
  • Lemanski, C., 2006, 'Residential responses to fear (of crime plus) in two Cape Town suburbs: implications for the post-apartheid city', Journal of International Development, 18(6), pp787-802.
  • Lemanski, C., 2006, 'The impact of residential desegregation on social integration: Evidence from a South African neighbourhood', Geoforum, 37, pp417-435.
  • Lemanski, C., 2006, 'Spaces of Exclusivity or Connection: Linkages between a gated community and its poorer neighbour in a Cape Town master-plan development'', Urban Studies, 43(2), pp397-420.
  • Lemanski, C., 2004, 'A new apartheid? The spatial implications of fear of crime in Cape Town, South Africa'. Environment and Urbanization, 16(2), pp101-112.
  • Spinks, C., 2003, 'Panacea or Painkiller? The impact of Pentecostal Christianity on Women in Africa'. Critical Half, Vol. 1, Women for Women International: Washington DC.
  • Spinks, C., 2002, 'Pentecostal Christianity and Young Africans', chapter 9 in Argenti N & de Waal A (eds), Young Africans: Realising the Rights of Children and Youth, Africa World Press.


  • 1A Paper 1 Contemporary Urban Geographies
  • 1A Human Geography Skills and Methods
  • IB Paper 4 Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society
  • IB Research Ethics training
  • Part II Global Urbanism
  • Postgraduate: SSRMC Doing Qualitative Interviews
  • Robinson College Director of Studies (2014-2018)
  • Wolfson College Director of Studies (2017-18)
  • Newnham College Special Supervisor
  • OPdA Mentor for postdoctoral fellows across the University
  • Director of MPhil Geographical Research (ET 2018)


  • Chair of the Geography Department's Ethics Review Committee (2014-2018)
  • Member of the Geography Department's Equality and Diversity Athena-Swan team
  • Member of the University Social Science Research Committee
  • Member of the University Research Ethics Committee
  • Member of the School of Physical Sciences Ethics Committee
  • Member of the University of Cambridge Cities Steering Group
  • Member of the Board for Mary Euphrasia Mosley, Bartle Frere and Worts Funds

External activities

  • Co-Editor, European Journal of Development Research, (2011-2017)
  • Trustee, The IJURR Foundation (2017-)
  • Expert Panel Member, Digital Built Britain, Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS), UK Government (2017-2020)
  • Senior Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Johannesburg (2011-2015)
  • Committee member, RGS/IBG Developing Areas Research Group (DARG) (2007-2014)