I am a lecturer and student affairs coordinator for the MA in Critical Urbanisms, University of Basel as well as a senior researcher on the Dfid-funded Cities of Integrity project. I am a human geographer by training with a passion for postcolonial urban theory, African urbanism, new pedagogies of the city and public culture. My research has focused on urban governance transformation, the construction of local political agency through international accolades, on urban experimentation and interurban knowledge networks, the nexus of cultural production and urban change, as well as the role of professional integrity in the urban development sector.
In pursuits of my diverse research interests I have collaborated with colleagues and organisations inside and beyond academia, including Transparency International, Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrade (VPUU), the City of Cape Town’s Department of Arts and Culture, UNESCO and Global Integrity. I am equally committed to emancipatory teaching and engaged scholarship, always looking for ways to ‘flip the classroom’ and encourage synergies between the two.
I received my PhD in Geography from the University of Münster/Germany (summa cum laude), where I also completed a degree in Human Geography, Communication Studies and Political Science (with distinction). Prior to joining ACC in January 2018, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Pôle de recherche pour l’organisation et la diffusion de l’information géographique (Prodig) in Paris, funded by the Laboratory of Excellence “Territorial and Spatial Dynamics” (Labex DynamiTe).
My research has been published in Environment and Planning A: Economy & Space, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Cultural Trends, Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, as well as in several edited collections. I am also a regular contributor to sub\urban, a multilingual journal for critical urban research published in Germany. I have acted as a reviewer for the following journals: CITY, Urban Forum, Urban Studies, Geographica Helvetica, Planning Practice & Research, and sub\urban.
At ACC, I am part of developing the Urban Humanities Hub and involved in supervising Master and PhD students. In 2019, I was also selected to be part of the University of Cape Town’s New Academic Professionals Programme (NAPP).
- Nkula-Wenz (forthcoming) Altes neu gelesen – Gedanken zu “Toward a Theory of Gentrification A Back to the City Movement by Capital, not People” von Neil Smith (1979), ”, Sub/urban Zeitschrift für Kritische Stadtforschung
- Nkula-Wenz, L. & Z. Minty (accepted): Effecting Cultural Change from Below? A Comparison of Cape Town and Bandung’s Pathways to Urban Cultural Governance, Cultural Trends (in print)
- Nkula-Wenz, L. (2018) Worlding Cape Town by design: Encounters with creative cityness. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 51(3), 581–597.
- Nkula-Wenz, L. (2018) Of ‘godziners’ and ‘designer citizens’: The emergence of designers as political subjects in Cape Town, Journal of Urban Cultural Geography, 5 (2), 165–185
- Nkula-Wenz, Laura (2015) Worlding – Zwischen theoretischer Annährung, kritischer Intervention und gelebter (Forschungs-)praxis. Kommentar zu Stephan Lanzs “Über (Un-)Möglichkeiten, hiesige Stadtforschung zu postkolonialisieren”, Sub/urban Zeitschrift für Kritische Stadtforschung, 3 (1), 97-102
- Wenz, Laura (2013) Changing Tune in Woodstock: Creative industries and local urban development in Cape Town/ South Africa. In: Gateways – International Journal of Community Research & Engagement, 5, 16-34
- Nkula-Wenz, Laura (2018) A closer look at the role of international accolades in worlding Cape Town’s urban politics. In: Bassens, D., Beekman, L. & B. Derudder (eds.) The City as Global Political Actor, Routledge, 207-226
- Wenz, Laura (2015) “The local institutional dynamics of international accolades: Cape Town’s designation as World Design Capital 2014”. In: Haferburg, C. & Huchzermeyer, M. (eds.): Urban Governance in Postapartheid Cities. Stuttgart: Schweizerbart; Durban: UKZN Press, 251-270
- Nkula-Wenz, Laura (2017) „Dekolonisieren wir unsere Köpfe“…und unsere Städte! Rezension zu Zwischenraum Kollektiv (eds.) Decolonize the city. Zur Kolonialität der Stadt. Münster: Unrast Verlag. Sub/urban Zeitschrift für Kritische Stadtforschung, 5 (3), 172-175
- Nkula-Wenz, Laura (2016) Christine Hentschel 2015: Security in the Bubble: Navigating Crime in Urban South Africa. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40 (3), 714-16
- Nkula-Wenz, L & S. Oldfield (2018) Urban Immersions. Preparing for Our Global Urban Future. European Association for International Education Winter Forum: Unexpected Internationalisation, 36-38, https://www.eaie.org/our-resources/library/publication/Forum-Magazine/2018-winter-forum.html
- UNESCO (2016) Culture: Urban Future. Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development. [Contributor to Study Area 1] https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246291
- Wenz, Laura (2013) Woodstock’s urban renewal: Much more at stake than the loss of parking. Daily Maverick, 15. March 2013. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-03-15-woodstocksurban-renewal-much-more-at-stake-than-the-loss-of-parking/
- Wenz, Laura (2013) Demokratie ist lustig. LUKS Magazin, 2, 40f
Sophie Oldfield, Laura Nkula-Wenz January 7, 2019
Laura Nkula-Wenz’s and Sophie Oldfield reflect on the cutting-edge urban studies teaching in the innovative collaboration between the University of Basel’s Masters in Critical Urbanisms and the African Centre for Cities’s University of Cape Town-based Masters in Southern Urbanism, in ‘Urban Immersions’ published in the European Association of International Education’s winter issue of Forum, focused […]
Laura Nkula-Wenz September 3, 2018
ABSTRACT Considering the ongoing global proliferation of the urban ‘creativity fix’ and its inclination to further push local governments towards entrepreneurial governance logics and market-led development imperatives, there is a sustained need to understand how the creative city paradigm is being grounded, renegotiated and put into practice in so-called ‘Southern’ cities. To analyse Cape Town’s […]