UCL Urban Laboratory


Romain Dittgen

Researcher, Making Africa Urban

r dittgen
Romain Dittgen is trained as a Human Geographer and has been exploring forms of societal change in various contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa, looking at oil and mining activities, entrepreneurial migrants and urban transformations. Holding a PhD from the University of Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), he is an associate researcher at ACMS (African Centre for Migration and Society) at the University of the Witwatersrand, and a recent recipient of CODESRIAs (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa) 2018/19 Meaning-making Research Initiatives grant. While his research interests are framed around questions of governance, as well as the interplay between shifts in the built environment and ways of living, his main empirical attention has centred on Africa-China engagements, predominantly in urban settings.


Previously, Romain was a member of the ESRC-funded research project on ‘Governing the future City: A comparative analysis of governance innovations in large scale urban developments in Shanghai, London, Johannesburg’, with a particular focus on the Corridors of Freedom Initiative in Johannesburg. Together with architect Dr. Gerald Chungu and photographer Mark Lewis, he is currently working on the following book manuscript: “(Un)scripting urban geographies — Chinese influence and spatial dynamics in Southern Africa”.

Role in the Making Africa Urban Project

As a researcher, Romain is focusing on the sovereign circuits, Chinese in particular, across all three cities. This work is conducted alongside project collaborator Professor Philip Harrison.

Related publications

Further Links

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Romain-Dittgen

Academia: https://wits.academia.edu/RomainDittgen