Alicia Fortuin is a PhD candidate and researcher at the African Centre for Cities. Her PhD research, funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Pan-African College on Sustainable Cities programme, critically analyses how spatial inequality impacts educated young people’s ability to navigate pathways to higher education, employment and housing in the city of Cape Town. And in turn how their responses shape the c/City, if at all. This work brings together my interests in youth, culture, identity, employment and potential for social and spatial transformation. Here I interrogate taken for granted concepts of access and agency, showing the intersectionality of these concepts in post colonial cities in the global South.

Broadly her research interests ​​come together at the intersection of mobility, society, technology, culture, heritage and urban justice. Currently this is evidenced in her work on the following projects:

Platform Politics and Silicon Savannahs: Fortuin leads the case study on digital mobility platforms in Cape Town and how it intersect with fintech innovations.

African Cities Lab MOOCs – Urbanisation in African cities: Fortuin is the coordinator and a contributor to the Urbanisation in Africa MOOC a course that synthesis African Centre for Cities’ research on urbanisation in Africa, informality and the everyday, spatial inequality, responses to climate crises and the art of the possible: how to enable systems change in African cities.

Realising Just Cities – Fortuin was involved in a research project that explored and mapped understanding women’s perceptions and use of public space in Mitchells Plain. A low income, dormitory settlement created for Coloured population under apartheid in the 1970s.

In 2023 she was awarded the Zeit Fellowship with the University of Hamburg and the City Science Lab. The four-month fellowship sees her exploring  digital tools for storytelling and data collection for democratic decision making and citizenship, city partners in Hamburg, Leipzig and Munich.

She obtained my Masters in City and Regional Planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, which explored the spaces of and for participation in the restitution and redevelopment of District Six. Prior to this she completed and Honours in City Planning and Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Geographical Science and Sociology.

Fortuin thinks, writes and theorises about Southern cities and hope to contribute to planning theory and southern urban theory, as well as teach in the disciplines of sociology, geography and planning in the coming years.


Journal Articles

  • Pádraig Carmody & Alicia Fortuin (2019) “Ride-sharing”, virtual capital and impacts on labor in Cape Town, South Africa, African Geographical Review, DOI: 10.1080/19376812.2019.1607149