Investigating young men’s experiences of walking to the ‘bus’ in low income neighbourhoods of Cape Town and London: a comparative study built round a community peer research methodology 

Project leader: Gina Porter
Dept of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK


• Prof. Bradley Rink, Assoc. Prof. / Head of Dept of Geography, Environmental Studies & Tourism, U. of Western Cape, STH AFRICA
• Bulelani Maskiti, Independent Researcher/UCT, STH AFRICA
• Sam Clark, Transaid Head of Programmes, National Institute of Transport, Mabibo Road, Dar es Salaam, TANZANIA
• Shadi Ambrosini, Project Officer at Transaid, UK


Understanding how young men navigate their walking journeys is important in the context of improving safe mobility for all in city neighbourhoods with high rates of crime and poverty. Over this decade knowledge has been gradually accumulating regarding the challenges faced by young women as they travel around urban areas of the Global South and North [including some data regarding their walking experiences] but young men’s mobility experiences [including walking experiences] have been largely ignored. This represents a major research gap. There often seems to be an [unwritten] assumption that they are invulnerable – free to walk wherever and whenever they choose – but we lack specific knowledge of realities on the ground. Building from our previous research we hypothesise that many young men resident in low-income areas, in both the Global South and North, walk the streets between home and their local transport stops/hubs with trepidation: while their perceptions of potential danger do not necessarily stop them walking, they may engage with a diversity of tactics to try to ensure a safe journey. The key objective of this project is to investigate this hypothesis in low-income neighbourhoods of two cities, Cape Town and London, and thus build a comparative study of young men’s walking experiences as they travel to join public transport [abbreviated as ‘the bus’]. We also test the applicability of a qualitative participatory Peer Research methodology we developed in African urban mobility contexts for use with young men and in cities in the Global North. There are thus 3 unique features to the project – its focus on young men’s mobility walking to ‘the bus’; the comparative mobilities research in Global South and North low-income urban contexts; and the testing of a mobilities research methodology developed in the Global South in a Northern context.