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Ruth Joan Nelson

PhD. Researcher and Spatial Data Scientist, Delft University of Technology

Education #

MRes. Space Syntax: Architecture and Cities (2018-2019)
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Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, United Kingdom

Space Syntax is a theory as well as a set of methods for understanding and analyzing the built environment from macro urban design to building scale. This program has enhanced my abilities in the fields of evidence-based architectural and urban design, strategic planning and design, urban regeneration, architectural and urban morphology, spatial and network analysis, future and smart cities. transport planning and data analysis. My masters dissertation looked at the relation between racial heterogeneity and the spatial configuration of the City of Cape Town in South Africa and resulted in two published papers.

Masters in Architecture (2013-2015)
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Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

My Masters Treatise entitled “A Magistrates Law Court in Korsten, Port Elizabeth; a post-colonial exploration of hybridity and place-making” investigates how public architecture can be utilized to support the construction of a multi-cultural identity, from a postcolonial perspective in the democratic landscape of South Africa. The principle argument of this treatise is that through the hybridity of cultural signifiers, public architecture can provide a counter-narrative to the segregation imposed by colonialist regimes such as Apartheid, as a means to integrate historically divided subject positions, of black/ white, white/black; both, neither and in-between

Bachelors in Architecture (2011-2013)
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Nelson Mandela Univerity, South Africa

Employment history #

PhD Researcher (2021 - Present)
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TU Delft, Netherlands

Consultancy Data Analysis and Research (2020 - 2021)
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Quadricular, Mexico

Adjunct Professor (2020 - 2021)
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Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico

Architect with an emphasis on BIM coordination (2019)
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Alfred Hall Monaghan Morris, United Kingdom

Architect (2016 – 2018)
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SAOTA, South Africa

Architect (2016 - 2018)
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Makeka Design Lab, South Africa

Technical skills #

  • Data analytics and visualisation
  • Statistical analysis and machine learning
  • Space syntax analytical techniques
  • Network science
  • Design thinking and strategy
  • Urban planning
  • Policy analysis
  • Representation techniques
  • Consultant Co-ordination
  • Project Management
  • Public Speaking
  • Time Management Skills
  • Transport Planning
  • Writing and communication

Software/programming #

  • Python
  • R
  • SQL
  • PostGIS
  • geo-pandas
  • MongoDB
  • Mapbox
  • Javascript
  • QGIS
  • SPSS
  • Depthmap
  • Revit
  • Autocad
  • Sketchup
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrater
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Latex
  • Notion
  • Airtable
  • Ms Excel

Publications #

  1. Nelson, RJ., Warnier, M. and Verma, T. (2024). Ethically informed Urban Planning: measuring distributive spatial justice for neighbourhood acessibility. (forthcoming)
  2. Nelson, RJ., Warnier, M. and Verma, T. (2024). Housing Inequalities: The Space-time Geography of Housing Policies. [link]
  3. Nelson, RJ., Min Naing, K. and Beroche, H. (2023). Generative AI for Urban Governance.
  4. Nelson, RJ., Warnier, M. and Verma, T. (2023). Conceptualising urban inequalities as a complex socio-technical phenomenon. [link]
  5. Nelson, RJ. (2022). Social inclusion through the urban lens: a comparative analysis of neighbourhoods of residential racial homogeneity and heterogeneity in Cape Town, South Africa. [link to conference paper]
  6. Nelson, RJ.(2021). The spatial and social logic of the Minibus Taxi network: how access may support social inclusion in Cape Town, South Africa. Applied Mobilities, 8:1, 1-25, DOI: 10.1080/23800127.2021.1926054
  7. Nelson, RJ.(2019). The Conservative City: An analysis of the urban morphological development of Cape Town, South Africa with a specific focus on emergent spatial and mobility systems that generate the opportunity for multi-racial co-presence. [link]

Awards and Funding Grants #

The Prize for Best Paper on Spatial Analysis at GISRUK 2024
Granted By: The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London

Staff exchange funding, 2024
Granted By:
TU Delft Global

Early career fee waiver, 2024
Granted By:
GISRUK organising committee, University of Leeds, UK

Funding to attend TLQS Workshop on Inequality Across Scales, Space, Time and Domains, 2023
Granted By:
The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics

Masters Scholarship for UCL, 2018
Granted By:
Chevening

Masters Bursary, 2013
Granted By:
Ernst and Ethel Erikson Trust

Invited webinars #

Benchmarking Spatial Justice, 2024
Hosted By:
GDSL Brown Bag, University of Liverpool, UK

Housing Inequalities, 2024
Hosted By:
Space Syntax Laboratory, University College London, UK

Insights into Emerging Technologies and Urban Inequalities, 2023
Hosted By:
UNESCO Chair in Urban Landscape

Urban social inequalities: How can cities include people?, 2023
Hosted By:
IE University and All things Urban

Getting Density Right, 2022
Hosted By:
Young Urbanists in partnership with the Mayor of Cape Town

Social inclusion through the urban lens, 2022)
Hosted By:
South African Centre for Cities

Conferences #

Reinventing the City, 2024
Hosted By:
AMS Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands

African Transport Research Conference, 2024
Hosted By:
University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

GISRUK, 2024
Hosted By:
University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Benchmarking Spatial Justice in Policymaking, Planning and Design, 2023
Hosted By:
TU Delft, Delft, Netherlands

Annual Meeting for the American Association of Geographers, 2023
Hosted By:
American Association of Geographers, Denver, United States

13th International Space Syntax Symposium, 2022
Hosted By:
Western Norway University, Norway

GISRUK, 2022
Hosted By:
University of Liverpool, UK

Fifth South African Cities Conference
CONFERENCE, 2020 Hosted By:
University of the Witwaterstrand, SA

Ocho Semana Conferencía, 2020
Hosted By:
Universidad Auntonoma de Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Masters in Research Conference, 2019
Hosted By:
Bartlett School of Architecture, UK

Workshops and Summer Schools #

Workshop in Inequalities across Scales of Space, Time and Domains, 2023
Hosted By:
Institute of Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy

Oxford School in Economic Networks, 2023
Hosted By:
Oxford University, UK

Organised events #

Workshop on Envisioning the future of Cape Town, 2024
In collaboration with:
Young Urbanists and TU Delft Global

Generative AI for Urban Governance Symposium, 2023
In collaboration with:
Urban AI

Urban AI for Regenerative Cities, 2022
In collaboration with:
Urban AI, TU Delft, the MIT Senseable Cities Lab, AMS Institute

Associations & affiliations #

  • South African Associate for the Local Government Information Unit [LGIU]
  • Member of Young Urbanists South Africa [Young Urbanists]
  • TU Delft Global Fellow [TU Global]
  • Member of Urban AI [Urbanai]