expert advisors

International Advisory Board

The International Advisory Board is intended to provide guidance for the implementation of CAPS.

Mr. Khululekile Mase

Khululekile is currently the Deputy Director-General: Urban Planning, in the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. He is mainly responsible for Integrated Spatial Planning, Long-Term Planning, Infrastructure Planning and Policy Research. Khululekile has a long experience in the public service – focusing on development planning, policy, research, planning, monitoring and evaluation. Prior to current position, he spent 8 years in Gauteng Office of the Premier, tasked with policy research, spatial and infrastructure planning. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Birmingham (UK).

Mr. José Chong

José is leading the Global Public Space Programme at the Planning, Finance and Economy Section of UN-Habitat. He guides the development of new tools for public space assessments/city-wide strategies and applies innovative methodologies for community participation/collaborative urban design. He is the Section focal point for Latin American countries and Arab States. He has over 20 years of working experience with the private sector, non-profit organizations and local/national governments. He was also lecturer on Architecture & Urban Design, Human Settlements and Bioclimatic Urbanism. He is trained as an urban planner and licentiate architect (Ricardo Palma University) with master studies in Renewal Energies, Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism (Universidad Internacional de Andalucía), and International Cooperation and Urban Development (Technical University of Darmstadt) with specialization on Sustainable Emergency Architecture (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya).

Mr. Terence Smith

Terence has worked for the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) since 2008, where he is currently the programme manager of the Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention (VCP) Programme, a joint South African-German technical cooperation project, co-funded by the Canadian government, that promotes preventative approaches to address the root causes of violence, including gender-based violence. Terence has over 20 years’ experience in the urban development and local governance sectors, having held positions as a researcher and learning network coordinator in various civil society organisations as well as a freelance consultant prior to joining GIZ. Terence has a deep commitment to co-creating solutions to urban development challenges, with an enduring special interest in the role of public spaces in contributing to more just, inclusive and socially cohesive human settlements. He holds an undergraduate Social Science degree specializing in human geography and economics, and a Masters in Development Studies, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

Prof Amira Osman

Amira Osman is a Sudanese/South African architect, researcher, academic, activist, public speaker, and author. She is a Professor of Architecture at the Tshwane University of Technology and holds the position of SARChI: DST/NRF/SACN Research Chair in Spatial Transformation (Positive Change in the Built Environment). Amira is currently a joint coordinator for the international CIB W104 Open Building Implementation network and the Vice-President of the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and will be hosting the conference: A City is [Not] a Tree: the Urban Ecologies of Divided Cities in 2022. She is the director of the organisation PLATFORM100 which is a thinktank and a collaborative vehicle for promoting change in conversations and practice around architecture, space and cities. Amira is a registered Professional Architect (SACAP 7267) and the editor of The Built Environment in Emerging Economies (BEinEE) Book Series. Amira has extensive experience curating international events, coordinating complex programmes and exhibitions in terms of design, conceptualising content and managing diverse teams.

Prof Peter Gotsch

Peter Gotsch is a researcher and senior urban expert on international urban development. He teaches at NTNU in Norway. Key in his current work are issues such as the urban ecological dimension, new methods of communicative planning and citizen engagement, planning in times of rapid change, and innovative learning methods. In this context he authored many publications, policy reports and project evaluations and he was a regular key-note speaker, guest lecturer and host of multiple conferences and events. He continuously strives to link research, teaching and practice towards synergies. As a trained Architect, Urban Designer and Planner Peter is an enthusiast on Public Space. He believes in its integrative, cohesive and liberating character and on public space as a key ingredient of successful urban development. Having worked on public space in Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Chile, Argentina, Brasil, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa, mutual inspiration and learning processes are central for him. He collaborated intensely with UN-Habitat´s Global Program on Public Space and the City of Johannesburg Department of Parks and the Zoo where he initiated a series of debates join public space and where he contributed to the inner city safety strategy.

Dr Tolullah Oni

Tolullah Oni is the Programme Lead of the Global Diet and Physical Activity Group and Network at the University of Cambridge MRC Epidemiology Unit and an Extraordinary Professor & Chair at Innovation Africa@UP, University of Pretoria, South Africa where she leads the Urban Better Satellite Studio. She is also an Honorary Associate Professor and Lead of the Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE) group at the University of Cape Town. 

Born in Lagos, she completed her medical training at University College London, a Masters degree in Public Health at the University of Cape Town and a doctorate in Epidemiology from Imperial College London, UK.

Profiled in the Lancet journal, Science magazine, and the British Medical Journal, she is a 2019 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, past co-chair of the Global Young Academy and the South African Young Academy of Science, 2015 Next Einstein Forum Fellow and a 2020 Next Generation Foresight Practitioner Fellow.

Her global practice is grounded in a science-informed, Africa-led, health foresight approach to generating new knowledge that supports partnership between science, policy and societal role players. She is passionate about identifying creative strategies to address complex urban population health challenges in rapidly growing cities globally.

Prof Claire Bénit-Gbaffou

Claire Bénit-Gbaffou, PHD Urban Geography, is an Associate Professor in Planning, at the School of Geography, Planning and the Environnment, Aix Marseille Université (France). She is a researcher at MESOPOLHIS (Mediterranean Center of Sociology, Political Studies and History), Aix-en-Provence (France), and an associate researcher at CUBES (Center for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies), Johannesburg (South Africa). She has taught and published on issues of community participation, urban politics, urban governance, and management of public space, with a specific focus on urban parks and street trading in Johannesburg. Interested in mixed uses, social diversity, ecological transition and justice in cities, she is currently developing research projects on the governance of public spaces in Marseille, in partnership with community organisations and the municipality of Marseille.

Dr. Finzi Saidi

I am head of Department of Architecture and Unit 15(X) research leader in Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) at the University of Johannesburg. I hold a PhD in Architecture from the University of Pretoria, Master of Landscape Design degree from the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Copperbelt University in Zambia. I have taught in four Africa universities – Copperbelt University; University of Pretoria; University of Cape Town; and University of Johannesburg. 

My recent teaching/ research activity has been with the honours and masters’ students in Unit 15X in following research themes: Resilient landscapes; Radical Landscapes, Emergent Landscapes; Remembering Landscapes; Toxic Landscape; and Landscapes of Memory in 2022.  

My students and I have collaborated with students and academics from Makerere and ARDHI University on research in public spaces in Kampala in Uganda (2018) and Dar es Salaam (2019-2020) in Tanzania. The projects explored urban design and landscape design potential of public spaces.

My future interest is to build research interests in the theme of public spaces in Africa in the landscape and architecture curricula. Such studies will initiate transformation of curriculum of built environment schools and professions on the African continent!  

I have been recently appointed chairperson of the Heads of Schools of Architecture Committee by the South African Council for the Architectural Professions. 

Prof Siphamandla Zondi

Siphamandla Zondi, who holds a PhD in African Studies from the University of Cambridge, is the Director of the Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg. He also leads the joint Institute for Global African Affairs (IGAA), a partnership with the University of the West Indies. Prior to this, he headed the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria. He has been a learning facilitator at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute since 2010. Prof Zondi was appointed by South African president, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, into the National Planning Commission, where he leads work on international dimensions of development planning. He also serves as the Chair to the South African BRICS Think Tank. He has various editorial appointments with 11 international journals and serves on the executive committee of the International Political Science Association. He has over 80 publications to his name, 6 edited books and 3 single-authored books. Prof Zondi has successfully supervised 16 MA and 12 PhD scholars in the past five years. His research addresses the decolonisation of power, knowledge and being, as well as BRICS studies.

Dr Ilaria Boniburini

Ilaria Boniburini is an urban designer, an educator and independent scholar with research and teaching experience in Europe and Africa. She has practiced in the field of restoration and reuse of historical buildings and conservation areas; contextually responsive and climate sensitive urban design, including public spaces; participatory design and self-construction. Her research focuses on public spaces, the right to the city, urban policy for rapidly urbanizing countries and more recently on ecological transition and circular economy. Ilaria is the author of a number of publications on urban topics. She currently works on a European funded project, A Just transition to Circular Economy, and on knowledge dissemination related to the Proecco project for the Great lakes region. Ilaria is engaged in advocacy for improving living conditions, promoting environmental justice and the right to the city. She is the co-founder of two Italian no-profit organisations and the co-director of, an award-winning Italian website on urban politics and planning.

Ms Olamide Udoma-Ejorh

Olamide is the Director at the Lagos Urban Development Initiative, an urban activist, researcher, filmmaker, and writer. She is currently involved in governance and social issues within the urban environment of Lagos and is an advocate for sustainable transportation and social engagement within urban spaces with a particular focus on gender. She focuses on transport management, slum upgrading, and housing rights in urbanising African cities. She consulted with UN-Habitat on the Nigerian projects for the Global Future Cities Programme. In the last 10 years she has managed and coordinated projects in the UK, South Africa, and Nigeria, working with a variety of clients to ensure that urban planning is participatory from inception to maintenance. Her strengths lie in Urban Infrastructure Management, Project Management, and Communications.

Dr Michael Mehaffy

Michael W. Mehaffy is an educator, researcher, author, planner, designer, builder, and project manager, who has held appointments in architecture, planning and philosophy at seven graduate institutions in six countries. He is on the editorial boards of three international journals of urban design, and he is author or contributing author of over thirty scientific papers and over twenty books. He was a student and long-time colleague of architect and mathematician Christopher Alexander, author of A Pattern Language and “A City is Not a Tree.” His own books include A New Pattern Language for Growing Regions: Places, Networks, Processes; Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance; and Design for a Living Planet (with Nikos Salingaros). He is also editor and contributor to A City is Not a Tree: 50th Anniversary Edition (featuring Christopher Alexander’s seminal paper as well as contemporary commentaries by prominent urban scholars). He is Executive Director of Sustasis Foundation, a small urban think tank, and he also manages the International Making Cities Livable conference series. He has over four decades of experience designing, planning, developing, managing and building homes, commercial buildings and neighborhoods.  He holds a Ph.D. in architecture and urban design from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. 

Mr Rasmus Bering

Rasmus Bering is an international development expert from Copenhagen, Denmark. Rasmus has for the last 10 years worked on sustainable urban development across Africa with several international and local NGOs and has for any years lived in Sierra Leone and South Africa. Rasmus has a strong passion for direct collaboration with cool urban youth, from low-income neighbourhoods, around the design of innovative ideas for community transformation. Rasmus is the Co-founder and CEO of Dreamtown which is a Danish NGO that works for the wellbeing of young people in Cities across East, West and Southern Africa. Dreamtown has a core focus on public space interventions co-designed with urban youth. Rasmus holds a bachelor’s degree in International Development studies from Roskilde University, and a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Oslo.

Mr Robinson Esialimba

Robinson, a keen sports and outdoor enthusiast, has been working on promoting green spaces in Nairobi since 2014. Starting with a group of three young people in Dandora, the movement to reclaim and create green spaces in the area grew to more than 5000 young people comprising more than 400 youth groups. Following the success in Dandora and massive media coverage both locally and internationally, the movement spread to other areas in Nairobi. Robinson is also the brainchild of the Changing Faces Competition, a competition based initiative that sees youth across Nairobi competing to see which team will create the cleanest, greenest and safest space in Nairobi. This annual competition has been running since 2014 with more than 100 teams participating each year. Both PSN and the Changing Faces Competition have been the recipient of several awards and recognition both locally and internationally. Other initiatives founded by Robinson include Artstorm which uses art to promote creation of green spaces in cities and Greenstock, which is an innovative, market-based initiative for incentivizing the proliferation of green spaces in cities. Robinson has management experience spanning over 20 years working and leading teams in Kenya, in several countries in Africa and most recently in Switzerland where he worked as a senior manager at the UN and also with an international non-profit supporting tech innovations in Africa.