Dr Paula Meth
Senior Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning
Room number: D24
Telephone (internal): 26912
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 6912
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 6912
I was awarded a Bachelor in Social Science in 1990, and went on to complete an Honours Degree in Geography in 1991 and a Masters in Town and Regional Planning between 1993 and 1994. These were all completed at the University of Natal, Durban in South Africa. In 1995 I began my PhD at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Geography under the supervision of Professor Linda McDowell, and completed this in 1998.
I am Senior Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning and Director of Undergraduate Programmes for Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield.
Gender and violence (men as well as women's experiences), informal housing, crime management, inequality and injustice, governance, local politics and everyday power relations, all focusing on the global South, particularly South Africa, and I also enjoy researching and writing about qualitative methodology. For further information click here.
I am interested in the contributions made by citizens both in challenging and managing social problems but is also in the broader impact of national and global trends towards neo-liberalism and their effect on local participation. My work is informed by ongoing debates within Feminism and Development Studies, as well as moves within Planning to broaden and re-examine the terms of reference of planners and their relationship with broader society. Also related to this work is an ongoing interest in developing qualitative methodology, in particular making use of diaries to inform the research process.
My PhD research (1995 - 1998 University of Cambridge) focused on forced removals and attachment to place, examining the case of Bilanyoni within South Africa. Here I re-examined residents' histories of movement, academic representations of their experiences and the relationship of these to local and regional policy.
I am committed to teaching and believe that it is indeed the most rewarding part of being a University lecturer! I also try to bring my own personal experiences of being a researcher (the process of gaining and sharing knowledge) to my teaching, and this is true for both my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. Exposing students to current and significant academic debate is key to my teaching philosophy and so too is an appreciation of the interdisciplinarity of planning as a subject. Finally, I am confident about presenting my own opinions in my teaching (some would say too confident…) and encouraging students to think about their own viewpoints and arguments on a subject, and I enjoy my classes being a place where students can discuss and debate issues openly. I consider this to be a key element of a social science education.
I teach the following modules:
I would welcome applications from students interested in PhD research in the following three areas (or other areas agreed in joint discussion):
Masculinities and planning, or masculinities and development (either a focus within the Global south such as India or Southern Africa etc, or a focus more locally).
The implications of civil and / or domestic violence for the planning and management of 'ordinary' cities.
Understanding the 'everyday lives' of marginalised residents: linking ethnography to policy, and other methodological concerns.
- Meth, P (2013): Committees, witch doctors and the 'mother-body': everyday politics in the township of Cato Manor, South Africa, Habitat International, Vol. 39, pp. 269- 277
Meth, P (2013):‘I Don’t Like My Children to Grow up in this Bad Area’: Parental Anxieties about Living in Informal Settlements, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 37(2) pp. 537-55
- Meth, P (2013): Viewpoint: Millenium development goals and urban informal settlements: unintended consequences, International Development Planning Review, Vol. 35(1), v- xiii
- Meth, P (2011): Crime management and urban governance: everyday experiences within urban South Africa, Environment and Planning A, Vol. 43 (3), pp 742 – 760.
- Meth, P (2010): Unsettling insurgency: reflections on women’s insurgent practices in South Africa
Planning Theory and Practice, Vol. 11 (2), pp 241-263.
I’m a trustee of the Foundation for Urban and Regional Research.