King's College London

Research portal

Dr Deborah Potts

Research interests

Dr Potts works in the broad research field of urbanisation and migration in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly southern Africa. She also works on land and environmental issues in the region in the context of political ecology. Her research on rural-urban migration in sub-Saharan Africa examines migration rates and motivations, rural-urban linkages, urban-rural movements, migrants' land rights and analytical approaches to urban migrancy and migrants within the Africanist literature. In terms of urbanization she is interested in the nature of urban growth, evaluating the ways in which changing economic patterns in most African countries have had profound effects on contemporary urbanization and rates of net in-migration.

An important research interest focuses on how structural adjustment policies in most sub-Saharan African countries have affected the livelihoods of the urban poor, as their real incomes have fallen and informalization of the economy has progressed. These two strands of her research have been followed through since 1985 with an ongoing longitudinal research project on rural-urban migrants in Harare, Zimbabwe. She also has a longstanding interest in the nature and provision of low-income housing in African cities. She has published two co-edited volumes on development challenges in East and southern Africa, and on African urban economies and in 2010  published a new book on circular migration in sub-Saharan Africa which brings together her work both on general trends there in urbanization and internal migration and her longitudinal work on these issues in Zimbabwe. The linkage between land and migration has drawn her research also towards issues of land tenure and land reform in southern Africa, and the tensions between the approaches and policies towards environmental and agricultural issues designed by policy makers and economists, and the experience and perceptions of poor, rural people. Dr Potts also has a research interest in human fertility in Africa.

Participation in workshop, seminar, course

Urban Informality Workshop: Global Urban Research Centre, Cities@manchester

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

13 Apr 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Centre of African Studies Seminars, Cambridge University

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

18 Jan 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Tanzania-Britain Society Seminar

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

16 Jun 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Tanzania: Population Growth, Internal Migration and Urbanisation – Update Using the 2012 Population Census

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

16 Jun 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Water equity in the new development era; UK Water Forum

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

15 May 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Water equity in the new development era; UK Water Forum

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

15 May 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Leading Universities in an Age of Urbanization

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

4 Mar 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Debating Planetary Urbanisation, London Urban Salon

Deborah Potts (Participant)

13 Dec 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

De-centering global urban studies: learning from small cities in the South

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

21 Nov 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Population Growth and Demographic Trends: Implications for African States and Regions

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

26 Sep 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Politics of the Urban Poor: Class, Protest and Survival in African Cities

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

22 Mar 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Editorial activity

CANADIAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN STUDIES (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

2011 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

2011 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

2010 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

2009 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Journal of Southern African Studies (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Journal of Southern African Studies (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

19941999

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Journal of Southern African Studies (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

1990 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Participation in conference

Rurban Conference

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

27 Jan 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

The Future of the Rural World? Africa and Asia

Deborah Potts (Participant)

30 Oct 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

SOUTHERN AFRICA BEYOND THE WEST Political, economic and cultural relationships with the BRICS countries and the global South

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

9 Aug 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Journal of Southern African Studies/Review of African Political Economy Biennial Conference

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

9 Aug 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

102nd Annual Meeting of the Association-of-American-Geographers

Deborah Potts (Speaker)

25 Apr 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

African Studies Association UK biennial conference

Deborah Potts (Speaker)

10 Sep 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference

Deborah Potts (Speaker)

29 Aug 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

First International Conference on Urbanisation and Rural to Urban Migration in Sub Saharan Africa

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

26 Nov 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

African Studies Association (UK) biennial conference 2012

Deborah Potts (Invited speaker)

8 Sep 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

African Studies Association (UK) biennial conference 2012

Deborah Potts (Speaker)

7 Sep 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

African Studies Association (UK) biennial conference 2012

Deborah Potts (Member of programme committee)

7 Sep 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

World Urban Forum 6

Deborah Potts (Member of programme committee)

3 Sep 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

CAS @ 50, Centre for African Studies Conference

Deborah Potts (Speaker)

7 Jun 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Africa Seminar Series, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

2006 → …

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Department of Architecture and Planning, Univ. Witwatersrand

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

2005 → …

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

LSE Conference on ‘Zambia: Independence and After: towards a historiography’, Lusaka, Zambia

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

2005 → …

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

University of Oxford, School of Geography, Southern Africa seminars

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

2003 → …

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Afrika-studiecentrum, Univ. Leiden

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

2001 → …

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

University of Leiden

Deborah Potts (Keynote/plenary speaker)

2001 → …

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Types of External academic engagement - Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

Types of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Broken Cities: the Housing Crisis in Focus

Deborah Potts (Reviewer) & Phil Hubbard (Interviewee)

4 Nov 2020

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Radio interview with Deborah Potts about her book, Global Cities: Inside the Global Housing Crisis, Zed Press; Chicago University Press, 2020

Deborah Potts (Reviewer)

16 Oct 2020

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

How unravelling housing standards have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in 'rich' countries

Deborah Potts (Reviewer)

19 May 2020

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Peak youth seizing the moment

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

25 Nov 2014

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Nigeria' s-Eko-Atlantic-open-to-first-residents-in-2016

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

10 Mar 2014

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Nigeria's Eko-Atlantic opens to first residents in 2016

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

10 Mar 2014

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Africa's demographics are driving population growth

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

11 Sep 2013

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Africa's demographics are driving global population growth

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

11 Sep 2013

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

African urbanisation: slower than you think

Deborah Potts (Contributor)

28 Feb 2013

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

African urbanisation slower than you think

Deborah Potts (Contributor)

8 Feb 2013

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Africa's economic development has not been accelerated by urbanisation

Deborah Potts (Contributor)

4 Oct 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

I'm a Geographer

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

1 Oct 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Whatever happened Africa's urbanization?

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

24 Jun 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Urbanization rates slowing

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

22 Mar 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Urban Myths and Rural Futures for Africa’s Young People

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

24 Feb 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Is Africa really urbanising rapidly? Not according to recent data

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

21 Feb 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Whatever happened to Africa's urbanization?

Deborah Potts (Interviewee)

11 Feb 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Publication peer-review

Global Environmental Change (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Peer reviewer)

1 Apr 2015

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

CANADIAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN STUDIES (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editorial board member)

2011 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

URBAN STUDIES (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Third World/International Planning Review (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

STUDIES IN COMPARATIVE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

South African Geog Jnl (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Review of African Political Economy (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Population, Space and Place (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

LAND USE POLICY (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

LAND DEGRADATION AND DEVELOPMENT (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

JOURNAL OF MODERN AFRICAN STUDIES (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

International Planning Studies (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

International Jnl of Urban Research (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

GEOGRAPHY (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

GEOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Geografiska Annaler (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

GEOFORUM (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Area (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

APPLIED GEOGRAPHY (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

AFRICAN AFFAIRS (Journal)

Deborah Potts (Editor)

2001 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Types of External academic engagement - Membership of external research organisation

African Studies Association UK

Deborah Potts (Member)

2001 → …

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of external research organisation

Types of External academic engagement - Invited talk

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