Rob McGaffin

Role/Position: Researcher: Mistra Urban Futures Space Economy Project

Rob McGaffin is a town planner and land economist. He has worked as town planner with the City of Cape Town and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development and has worked in property finance at several financial institutions. He was the coordinator for the markets theme at the Urban Land Markets Programme for Southern Africa. In this role he oversaw various research projects including an overview of the use of value capture in South Africa. He currently lectures in the Department of Construction Economics and Mangement at the University of Cape Town [UCT] and is a Mistra Urban Futures Researcher with the African Centre for Cities. He is the course director for the Housing Finance Couse for Sub-Saharan Africa run in partnership between UCT, The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance [Finmark Trust] and the Wharton School of Business [University of Pennsylvania].


Key Research Projects:


Past projects:
Investigation into the impact of shopping centres in townships
Investigation into “value capture” in and around transport interchanges
Development of a rapid assessment framework of land markets in Sub-Saharan Africa
Affordable Land and Housing Data Centre
Investigation into the Western Cape Land Release Programme


Current projects:
Investigation into township economies and related property markets
Investigation into Cape Town’s space economy as part of the City of Cape Town’s Economic Areas Management Programme
Investigation into Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa


Napier, M., Berrisford, S., Kihato, C., McGaffin, R. and Royston, L. 2013: Trading Places – Accessing Land in African Cities. African Minds. Johannesburg.
McGaffin R.,Napier, M., and Gavera, L. (2013) Value Capture in South Africa – Conditions for their successful use. Urban Forum (forthcoming).
McGaffin R. 2011: Expropriation: Key to more equitable land distribution, or expensive folly? SA Valuer (104), Pangram.
McGaffin R and V Watson 2008: “Les projets de développement intégré localisé. Le cas du corridor de Wetton Lansdowne Philippi” in A Dubresson and S Jaglin (eds) Le Cap après l’apartheid. Gouvernance, aménagement et gestion urbaine, Karthala Press. Pp 69-86.
Tyler, P., Baxter, C., Moore, B., Morrison, N., McGaffin, R and Otero-Garcia M 2007: ‘Enterprising places; sustaining competitive locations for knowledge–based business.’ CMI-MIT Research Series, Cambridge.
Tait, A., Gough, D, Ferreira, A., Hendricks, M., McGaffin, R. and Trumpelman, A. 1999: ‘Providing for integrated functional cities in South Africa: The Wetton-Lansdowne-Philippi Corridor Programme’, Urban Forum, 10, 2, pp.275-283.

  • Zarina Patel, Saskia Greyling, Rob McGaffin

    City officials exchange showing results

    City of Cape Town officials work with University of Cape Town counterparts to generate and write up new insights into public policy making, planning and service provision. A stimulating and engaging workshop took place on the 24th November where seven city officials presented their research on specific issues facing the City of Cape Town, which […]