Stephen Berrisford

Role/Position: Adjunct Professor Email: [email protected]

Stephen Berrisford is an independent consultant working in the field of urban planning law and policy in Southern Africa. He holds BA LLB and MCRP degrees from UCT and an MPhil in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge. Prior to establishing Stephen Berrisford Consulting in 2000 he held the post of Director: Land Development Facilitation at the national Department of Land Affairs and before that worked in the planning departments of the Cape Town and Johannesburg municipalities. During 2010 he was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield. His clients include the major international development agencies as well as all three spheres of government in South Africa. Stephen’s work focuses on the identification of practical and just legal solutions to the challenges of rapid urban growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has regularly published academic articles and book chapters since 1996 and has presented papers at a wide range of international conferences.



Journal articles:

Berrisford, S (2011) Why It Is Difficult to Change Urban Planning Laws in African Countries, Urban Forum: Vol. 22, Issue 3 (2011), Page 209-228.

Berrisford, S (2011) Unraveling Apartheid Spatial Planning Legislation in South Africa: A Case Study, Urban Forum: Vol. 22, Issue 3 (2011), Page 247-263.

Berrisford, S (2011) Revising Spatial Planning Legislation in Zambia: A Case Study, Urban Forum: Vol. 22, Issue 3 (2011), Page 229-245.

Berrisford, S and M Kihato (2006), The role of planning law in evictions in Sub-Saharan Africa, South African Review of Sociology, Vol. 37, no. 1.

Berrisford, S (1997) Implementation of the Development Facilitation Act, South African Planning Journal, Vol. 42.


Book chapters:

Glasser, M and S Berrisford (2015) ’Urban Law: A Key to Accountable Urban Government and Effective Urban Service Delivery’ in World Bank Legal Review, Vol. 6 (Washington DC: World Bank).

Berrisford, S (2014) ‘The challenge of urban planning law reform in African cities’ in Pieterse and Parnell, Africa’s Urban Revolution (London: Zed Books).

Berrisford, S (2013) ‘Getting land governance right in sub-Saharan cities: more than land administration’ in Napier, Berrisford, Kihato et al Trading Places: accessing land in African cities (Somerset West: African Minds).

Berrisford, S. and Oranje, M‚ (2012) ‘Planning law reform and change in post-apartheid South Africa’ in Hartmann, T and B. Needham (eds.) Planning By Law and Property Rights Reconsidered (London: Ashgate).

Berrisford, S. and Kihato, M‚  (2007) ‘Local government planning legal frameworks and regulatory tools: vital signs?’ in Parnell, S. Pieterse, E. Swilling, M. Wooldridge, D and van Donk, M. (eds). The Developmental Local State: Lessons from Theory and Practice (Cape Town: UCT Press).

Berrisford, S (1998) ‘Law and Urban Change in the New South Africa’ in Illegal Cities: Law and Urban Change in Developing Countries, edited by Fernandes, E and Varley, A (London: Zed Books).


Selected Reports:

Berrisford, S (2013) How to make planning law work for Africa, Africa Research Institute, London.

Berrisford, S (2009) Reform hasn’t quite landed, article in Mail & Guardian, September 2009.

Berrisford, S, D De Groot, M Kihato, N Marrengane, Z Mhlanga and R van der Brink (2008) In search of Land & Housing in the New South Africa: the case of Ethembalethu, World Bank Working Paper #130.

Todes, A, S Berrisford and M Kihato (2007) Relationship between environment and planning, for the Kwazulu-Natal Planning & Development Commission.

UN-Habitat (2005) Law, Land Tenure and Gender Review: Southern Africa with four case studies in Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia’ (principal author along with co-authors Kihato, M and Roux, T).

Charlton, S, M Silverman and S Berrisford (2003) Taking Stock: review of the Department of Housing’s Programme, Policies and Practice (1994-2003), for USAID and Department of Housing.

Berrisford, S, M Kihato and N Klug (2003) International shifts in shelter and settlement policy and their implications for South African praxis, for USAID and Department of Housing.

Berrisford, S (2002) Report to Minister of Provincial & Local Government, South Africa, Development Planning in the implementation of the National Urban Renewal Programme.

Minister of Agriculture & Land Affairs (2001) Wise Land Use: White Paper on Land Use Management and Spatial Planning, principal drafter.

Berrisford, S (2000), Integrated Development Plans and Land Use Management Linkages, report for GTZ-South Africa and the Department of Provincial & Local Government.


Conference presentations:

World Urban Forum 7, Medellin, Colombia, Making new urban law: a dialogue between Latin America and Africa, convenor of panel discussion, 2014.

World Urban Forum 6, Naples, Italy, Speaker on Plenary Dialogue on Urban Land Governance, 2012.

Planning Africa 2010, Why it’s difficult to change planning laws in Africa, plenary presentation, Durban 13-15 September 2010 (plenary).

World Bank Conference on Land Policy & Administration, Revising urban planning laws in South Africa and Zambia: Implementation and impacts, Washington DC, 26-27 April 2010 (sub-plenary).

Isandla National Conference on ‘The Developmental Local State: Lessons from Theory and Practice’, Tools & Regulatory instruments of developmental local government: planning legal frameworks and regulatory frameworks, Cape Town, November 2006 (plenary, co-presented with M Kihato).

Planning Africa 2006, Planning Implications of the Formation of Back-to-Back Municipal Boundaries: a case study of Mbombela, Cape Town, 2006 (sub-plenary).

International Conference on Planning Legislation, Housing & Environment, Is Planning Law in Africa Realizing its Potential? Lusaka, 7-11 November 2005 (plenary).

First Brazilian Conference on Urban Law, Urban Law Reform in South Africa, plenary presentation, Belo Horizonte, 13-15 December 2000 (plenary).

IRGLUS/CALS Conference International Workshop on ‘Redefining Property Rights in an era of liberalisation and privatisation’, Redistribution of Land Rights in South Africa: simply a rural question? University of the Witwatersrand, 29-30 July 1999 (plenary).

  • featured_FloodGovernance Ian Palmer, Stephen Berrisford

    African Urban Infrastructure Symposium

    Urban Infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa – Harnessing Land Values, Housing and Transport  Symposium on research findings – Cape Town, 20 & 21 July 2015 Powerpoint slide presentations from the ACC’s end-of-project symposium on urban infrastructure finance. The research was supported by the UK Department for International Development (DfID), July 2014 – July 2015.     […]