School of Built Environment & Development Studies

Glen Robbins

Glen Robbins

Last Updated 6 years ago

Mr Glen Robbins

Position Honorary Professors and Research Fellows
Phone 031 260 3033
Campus Howard College
Office Address A724 7th Floor, Denis Shepstone Building


  • Glen Robbins is a part time lecturer, researcher and consultant specialising in regional and local economic development . Previously he headed up the Economic Development and City Enterprises functions in the eThekwini Municipality (Durban). In 2003 he joined the School of Development Studies has subsequently been involved, in a part-time basis, in teaching and research contributing journal articles and book chapters on subjects ranging from urban development to industrial policy and local economic development. He has also authored and co-authored reports for the Cities Alliance, UNCTAD, ILO and other multi-lateral bodies. During 2005 and 2006 he worked with the core writing team appointed by the South African Cities Network to contribute to the 2006 State of the South African Cities Report and has recently be on the advisory structure of the State of African Cities Report project at the African Centre for Cities (UCT). He has served on the KwaZulu-Natal Planning Commission since 2011 and the eThekwini City Planning Commission since 2014 and serves on the boards or advisory structures of a number of NGOs. At present he is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Development Studies discipline of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies.


  • Glen specialises in regional and local economic development with a focus on regional and city economic development strategies, infrastructure planning and financing and trade and industrial policy. Most recently he has been involved in the EU FP& funded Chance 2 Sustain research project ( and the Durban Medium and Large Manufacturing Firm Survey.


  • Glen teaches Economics of Development 2 on the Masters Programme in Development Studies.


Book Chapters

  • Scott, D. Sutherland, C. Sim, V. and Robbins, G. (2015) Pro-growth challenges to sustainability in South Africa. In Hansen, A. and Wethal, U. (eds) Emerging economies and challenges to sustainability: theories, strategies, local realities
  • Velia, M., Robbins, G.and M.Tsedu. (2013). Transnational corporations and national systems of innovation: the case of South Africa. In:Cassiolato, Jose E. Zucoloto, Graziela, Abrol,Dinesh and Liu, Xielin(eds), Transnational corporations and local innovation: BRICS national systems of innovation, Taylor and Francis.
  • Robbins, G. and Velia, M. (2012) From time definite to time critical?:challenges facing airfreight and port growth in Durban. In Hall, P. and Hesse, M. (eds) Cities, Regions and Flows, London:Routledge.
  • Lorentzen, J., Robbins, G. and Barnes J. (2007) Government support and enabling environment for inter-firm cluster cooperation: policy lessons from South Africa. In: Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, B. and McCormick, D. (eds) Industrial Clusters and Innovation Systems in Africa, United Nations University Press. p. 243-268.
  • Robbins G (2007) Which link, in which chain? Inserting Durban into global automotive supply chains. In: Ports, Cities, and Global Supply Chains, Wang J, Olivier D, Notteboom T and Slack B (eds), Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Lorentzen, J., Robbins, G. and Barnes J. (2007) The Durban auto cluster: global competition, collective efficiency and local development. In: Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, B. and McCormick, D. (eds) Industrial Clusters and Innovation Systems in Africa, United Nations University Press, p. 189-210.
  • Morris, M., Robbins, G. and Barnes, J. (2006). The role of government in fostering clusters: the South African automotive sector. In: Padayachee, V. (ed) The Development decade: Economic and social change in South Africa 1994-2004, Cape Town: HSRC Press, p. 201-223.


  • Robbins, G. (2013) Mining FDI and urban economies in sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring the possible linkages. Local Economy 28(2), March, p.158-169.
  • Robbins, G. and Perkins, D. (2012). Mining FDI and infrastructure development on Africa’s east coast: examining the recent experience of Tanzania and Mozambique. Journal of International Development, 24 (2),p. 220-236
  • Robbins, G. (2010).Beyond local economic development? Exploring municipality-supported job creation in a South Africa city. Development Southern Africa, 27(4), 531-546.
  • Robbins, G.(2005)eThekwini Municipality’s economic development-related capital programmes: improving the prospects of the urban poor? Africa Insight, 35(4), 63-71.


  • Perkins, D. and Robbins, G. (2011) The contribution to local enterprise development of infrastructure for commodity extraction projects: Tanzanias central corridor and Mozambiques Zambezi Valley. MMCP Discussion Paper No 9, University of Cape Town and Open University.
  • Kennedy, L., Robbins, G., Scott, D., Sutherland,C.,Denis, E., Andrade, J., Miranda,L.,Varrel, A., Dupont, V. and Bon,B. (2011). The Politics of large-scale economic and infrastructure projects in fast-growing cities of the south.
    Chance2Sustain Literature Review No.3.
  • Robbins, G. Lebani, L. and Rogan, M. (2009). TNC FDI Firms and Domestic SME Linkages: Reflecting on Three SADC Case Studies. School of Development Studies Research Report, 82.
  • Robbins, G. (2006) Strategies and Policies on TNC-SME Linkages Country Case Studies: South Africa, prepared by Glen Robbins for UNCTAD. Research Report, No. 70.
  • Hall, P.V. and Robbins, G. (2006) Which link, in which chain? Inserting Durban into global automotive supply chains. Working Paper No 46.
  • Robbins, G.and Aiello, A. with C. Goodenough, T. Hadingham and N. Klug (2006) Study on employment aspects of slum upgrading: practices and opportunities identified in two South African case studies. (Research Report, 69). Originally prepared for the International Labour Office.
  • Robbins, G. Valodia, I.Velia, M. and Lebani, L. (2006).An Assessment of theOpportunities to Increase the Value-add in KwaZulu-Natal’s Dominant Export Industries. Research Report 68.
  • Robbins, G. (2005). A Water Sector Public-Private Partnership Case Study:Ilembe District Municipality (formerly Dolphin Coast) –Siza Water Company. Prepared as part of a contract research exercise commissioned through Palmer Development Group by the National Business Initiative in partnership with Inwent.February 2004, Research Report No. 63 (2005)
  • Lorentzen, J. Robbins, G. and Barnes, J. The Durban Auto Cluster: Global Competition, Collective Efficiency and Local Development. Working Paper No. 41.
  • Robbins, G., Todes, A. and Velia, M. (2004)Firms at the Crossroads: The Newcastle-Madadeni Clothing Sector and Recommendations on Policy Responses. Research ReportNo. 61.


  • Kennedy, L. and Robbins, G. (2014) Traveling concepts in megaproject building:
    Links between local and global scales. Chance2Sustain Opinion, July.
  • Robbins, G. (2014) Prospects for spatial knowledge tools in municipal budget systems with a focus on property tax issues. Chance2Sustain Policy Brief, October.
  • Robbins, Glen (2012) Major international events and the working poor: selected lessons for social actors stemming from the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa. WIEGO Technical Brief (Urban Policies) No 5.