Academic Staff

Dr Suraya Scheba

     Dr Suraya Scheba

     Room 4. 11





 PhD Human Geography, University of Manchester (2015)

Academic Profile

In my work, I aim to understand the dynamics and processes that shape urban environments, with a focus on cities of the south. As my theoretical entry point I use urban political ecology, which argues for the necessity to examine power relations and politics in making sense of urban forms, infrastructure development and socio-economic inequalities in contemporary society. Drawing on this lens allows me to explore the contested political processes underlying urban challenges, with a focus on questions of access, as well as the possibilities that support more just, sustainable and equitable futures.

In examining these themes, I have thus far conducted research on the politics of water provision in the City of Cape Town – more recently in the context of crisis; decision-making processes around desalination technology adoption in the Western Cape; and modes of everyday life in Delft, a peripheral neighbourhood, in Cape Town.

I would welcome research projects that speak to these specific interests- on the politics of urban water provision, infrastructural development, and city-making and access – and/or those with a wider concern to explore the drivers of unequal access to the city and related struggles for more equitable societies.




Journal Contributions:

Scheba, S. and Millington, N. Forthcoming. Crisis temporalities: Intersections between infrastructure

and inequality in Cape Town water crises. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, ‘Spotlight On’ Series.

Cirolia, L.R and Scheba, S. 2018. Towards a Multi-Scalar reading of informality in Delft South Africa: Weaving the ‘everyday’ with wider structural tracings. Urban Studies DOI: 10.1177/0042098017753326 [online first, since April 2018]

Scheba, A. and Scheba, S. 2017. REDD+ as ‘inclusive’ neoliberal conservation: the case of Lindi, Tanzania. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 11(3), pp.526-548.


Book Chapters:

Scheba, S. and Scheba, A. 2018. Forthcoming. Desalination as emergency fix: Tracing the drought–desalination assemblage in South Africa. In Swngedouw, E. and Williams J. (eds), Tapping the Oceans: Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water.



Millington, N. and Scheba, S. 2018. Temporalities of Crisis: On Cape Town’s Day Zero. Online Commentary for the Situated Urban Political Ecology Collective.


Harrison, P; Pieterse, E; Rubin, M; & Scheba, S. 2018. Daily Practices of Informality Amidst Urban Poverty, Report. Contribution to Mandela Initiative on Poverty & Inequality.


Harrison, P; Pieterse, E; Rubin, M; & Scheba, S. 2018. Urbanisation, Informality & Spatial Inequality Policy Brief, Contribution to Mandela Initiative Synthesis Report on Poverty & Inequality.


Scheba, S. 2017. How will we achieve universal access to ecosystem services and urban nature?. Blog Contribution to The Nature of Cities Roundtable.