Laura Nkula-Wenz is a lecturer and student affairs coordinator for the MA in Critical Urbanisms, University of Basel, as well as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the SNSF-funded ‘Governing Through Design’ project, where she co-leads the South Designs initiative together with Prof. Kenny Cupers. She is a human geographer by training with a passion for postcolonial urban theory, African urbanism, new pedagogies of the city and public culture. Her research has focused on local urban governance transformation, the impact of international events and urban 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 her diverse research interests, she has 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. Laura is equally committed to emancipatory pedagogy and engaged scholarship. She convenes the postgraduate course Urban Everyday at the Department of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics and is part of the editorial committee at Gateways – International Journal for Community Research and Engagement, an open access refereed journal that responds to an emerging global movement of collaborative, critical and change-oriented community-university research initiatives.

Nkula-Wenz received her PhD in Geography from the University of Münster/Germany (summa cum laude), where she also completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in Human Geography, Communication Studies and Political Science. Prior to joining ACC in January 2018, Laura was a postdoctoral fellow 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).

Nkula-Wenz’s work has been published in Environment and Planning A: Economy & Space, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Habitat International, Cultural Trends, Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, as well as in several edited collections. She is also a regular contributor to sub\urban, a multilingual, open access journal for critical urban research, published in Germany. She has also been invited to review for a range of journals, such as CITY, Habitat International, Planning Theory & Practice, IJURR etc.

See Nkula-Wenz’s academic publications on ORCID or Google Scholar. She has also written for The Conversation Africa and developed a series of animated videos on urban planning and integrity. She is also part of the Quote This Woman+ database of experts.



  • 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,
  • UNESCO (2016) Culture: Urban Future. Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development. [Contributor to Study Area 1]
  • Wenz, Laura (2013) Woodstock’s urban renewal: Much more at stake than the loss of parking. Daily Maverick, 15. March 2013.
  • Wenz, Laura (2013) Demokratie ist lustig. LUKS Magazin, 2, 40f