Susan Parnell is the Deputy Principal Investigator with PEAK Urban. Sue is an urban geographer and holds a Chair in Human Geography at the University of Bristol. Her research is focused on contemporary urban policy research, including local government, poverty reduction and urban environmental justice.
Her early academic research was in the area of urban historical geography and focused on the rise of racial residential segregation and the impact of colonialism on urbanisation and town planning in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1994 and democracy in South Africa her work has shifted to contemporary urban policy research (local government, poverty reduction and urban environmental justice). By its nature this research has not been purely academic but has involved liaising with local and national government and international donors.
Sue is also on the boards of several local NGOs concerned with poverty alleviation, sustainability and gender equity in post- apartheid South Africa. She serves on a number of national and international advisory research panels relating to urban reconstruction.