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Alexandra Parker

Researcher of urban & cultural studies, Gauteng City-Region Observatory

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.

Alexandra Parker joined the GCRO in late 2016 after a long and fruitful association with the University of the Witwatersrand as an undergraduate and postgraduate student and as a postdoctoral research fellow. She completed her PhD in town and regional planning in 2014 (Thesis Title: Images and Influence: The Role of Film in Representing Johannesburg and Shaping Everyday Practice in the City) published as the monograph Urban Film and Everyday Practice: Bridging Divisions in Johannesburg (2016, Palgrave Macmillan). Her doctoral and postdoctoral research explored the influence of urban films on everyday practice in the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. Alexandra began in the field of architecture for her undergraduate and masters degrees. She has a passion for teaching and engaging with students and has taught courses in planning and architecture at the Wits School of Architecture and Planning; the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg; and a Masters course at the Università Iuav di Venezia, Italy.


  • –present
    Researcher of urban & cultural studies, Gauteng City-Region Observatory


  • 2014 
    University of the Witwatersrand, PhD in Town and regional planning

Grants and Contracts

  • 2020
    Researcher of urban & cultural studies
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation