Prof. Mark Swilling

Co-Director, Distinguished Professor

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Field of research

  • Sustainability transitions;
  • Sustainable cities;
  • Material flow analysis;
  • Transdisciplinary research methodologies
  • New economic theory


Mark is the Programme Coordinator of the Sustainable Development Programme in the School of Public Leadership; the Academic Director of the Sustainability Institute; and the Co-Director of the Stellenbosch Centre for Complex Systems in Transition. The primary research focus of his career can be defined as ‘societal transitions’ within the wider discipline of sustainability science and governance, with a particular contextual focus on urban sustainability. His published research was coupled to major institution-building collaborations – an achievement that was recognized in 2010 when he was awarded the Aspen Faculty Pioneer Award for success in introducing sustainability into leadership education. In addition to over 60 academic articles/book chapters, he has published several books including (with Eve Annecke) Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World (2012) – runner-up Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for best environmental governance book; Untamed Urbanisms (2015); and Greening the South African Economy (2016).

CST Projects:

  • Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization in collaboration with the International Resource Panel;
  • Greening the South African Developmental State with special reference to the developmental impacts of the renewable energy plants on local communities;
  • Enkanini transdisciplinary research project;
  • Governance of urban transitions.