Mark Swilling is Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development at the School of Public Leadership of Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
He is also Co-Director of the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) and Academic Director of the Sustainability Institute at Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom; Visiting Professor at Utrecht University, Netherlands; Bass Scholar at Yale University, USA; and Chair of the Board, Development Bank of Southern Africa.
His research is involved in sustainable urban planning, including large-scale community-based housing projects, policy analysis and trans-disciplinary research in South Africa.
He is Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel’s Working Group on Cities and in this capacity is the leader of a global research team that has been mandated to determine the material resource requirements for future urbanization to 2050, and how it will be possible to dematerialize the urban systems that will get built over the next four decades. He was co-lead author of reports for the International Resource Panel – The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization (2018), Decoupling Resource Use from Economic Growth (2011) and City-Level Decoupling (2013).
He co-authored Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World with wife Eve Annecke (United Nations Press, 2013); co-edited Untamed Urbanism with Adriana Allen and Andreas Lampis (Routledge, 2016); and co-edited Greening the South African Economy: Scoping the Issues, Challenges and Opportunities (University of Cape Town Press, 2016) with Josephine Musango and Jeremy Wakeford. He was lead author of the report Betrayal of the Promise: How South Africa is Being Stolen (Stellenbosch University & University of the Witwatersrand, 2017) and co-author of Shadow State: Politics of Betrayal with Ivor Chipkin (University of the Witwatersrand University Press, 2018).
He was previously Professor of Public & Development Management at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), co-founder of PLANACT urban development NGO, and received the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Pioneer award (2010) for his efforts to introduce sustainability into management education.
He presented “Can we double the extent of the global built environment without urban dematerialization? If not, how will dematerialization on scale be achieved?” at the inaugural Holcim Roundtable held at MIT Endicott House, Boston, MA, USA (2014) and also participated the 2nd Holcim Roundtable held in Einsiedeln, Switzerland (2015).
Mark Swilling was a workshop presenter at the 6th International LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction in Cairo, April 4-6, 2019.