POPULATION/REGIONAL STUDIESDemographic changes locally, regionally, nationally and internationally are the result of population redistribution patterns. In this field of research the Department focuses on 'mobility' and 'migration' and their impact on the composition and levels of development of urban and rural communities in South Africa but also in Africa and elsewhere.
URBAN AND REGIONAL ANALYSIS AND PLANNINGResearch in this field contributes towards the theories and approaches of urban planning and management practiced locally and internationally with a specific focus on integrated development, spatial, and economic planning. The research is informed by analysis and modelling of urbanisation and migration trends, economic processes within urban and regional space, the efficiency of urban form, and local and global urban systems.
URBAN STUDIESAs a problem solving approach, Urban Studies provide scholars the opportunity to improve our living spaces through understanding and applying knowledge of the spatial, political, social, and economic conditions of cities and of cities' relationship to their regions and beyond. We aim to understand people and place at different spatial scales and investigate how policy affects how people and resources are distributed in space and how this action defines what kinds of places result.
TOURISMResearch focuses on the geographies of tourism in national parks (flow of visitors, social and physical carrying capacities, life cycle of destinations), hotel development in event cities, MICE tourism in small towns and waterfront developments; the role of tourism in regional development; critical issues such as destination image and crime, the role of tourism in poverty alleviation and the role of international students as change agents in their host destination.
ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSISEnvironmental Analysis focuses on research problems related to the physical environment with its attribute resource functions, capacities, impact sensitivities and its vulnerabilities and on the other hand the human environment with its interactive human development demands, problems and impacts as well as the management and methodological requirements generated by this interaction.
GIS, MAPPING/REMOTE SENSING AND LAND/ENVIRONMENTGeographic information technology (GIT) includes geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing (earth observation) and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). GIT provides integrated spatial and statistical tools for solving environmental questions and is routinely used for environmental mapping, management, monitoring and policy formulation.
DISASTER AND RISK MITIGATIONDisaster risk studies (or DRS) systematically investigate disaster risks, their determinants and effects in order to improve disaster risk management as well as advance sustainable development. Robust disaster risk research also underpins effective risk reduction policy and practice and is viewed as an essential element of contemporary climate change adaptation.
The Department's of Geography and Environmental Studies'vision is to be the recognised training and research centre for Africa in the field of spatial information management in order to understand and manage geographical phenomena and processes to the advantage of the Southern African community.
The discipline of Geography and Environmental Studies, studies the relationship between humans and their environment as it manifests in earth's space and places. The Department's mission is therefore to provide training and do research on the phenomena and problems emanating from this interaction through three relevant thematic focuses, namely environmental studies, urban studies and development studies; a methodological focus on geographical analysis skills and practical application of computer information technology and a regional focus on Africa and South Africa.