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Data, other data, and SAPRIN

It is worth noting that the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), which was founded and led for the first 8 years of its existence by the lead applicant, has generated fascinating insights into the province – now taken as synonymous with the city-region. Moreover, the ‘Quality of Life’ survey series – also initiated and managed by the lead applicant until 2015 – has created an invaluable longitudinal dataset, which includes important data on health, including mental health (alienation, anomie and a ‘marginalisation’ index), poverty, social attitudes (social capital, xenophobia, attitudes to gender-based violence and so on). However, while the GCRO continues to provide an invaluable picture of Gauteng at a macro level, this SAPRIN intervention is a critical complementary activity, by drilling down deep and frequently into the same spaces, over many years.

It may be worth noting that while Director of GCRO, the lead applicant assessed the possibility of GCRO running both the ‘Quality of Life’ survey – which ranged from a 6 000 to a 30 000 ward-representative sample survey, impressive in breadth but lacking in depth – with a surveillance site. We were aware of the gap in our knowledge – exactly the gap that SAPRIN now plans to fill – but lacked the budget and skills to undertake the work.  This intervention by SAPRIN should be working with GCRO, so that the nodal team is aware of how the entire urban space looks and moves and functions, while drilling down deep into longitudinal node-specific data. This team would engage fully with GCRO datasets and with the organisation, itself a Wits/UJ partnership – and one that includes both the Gauteng Provincial Government and South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

That said, we would want to elaborate the HDSS data with other data sources in or about Gauteng. On the one hand, there are the official and administrative datasets, and given that the lead applicant is also Chairperson of the South African Statistics Council, engaging and working with Stats SA should be easily achieved. The GCRO data has always been freely available for academic purposes, and we would use it wherever it helps elaborate the complexities of our three proposed sites. The same would go for the South African Cities Network, many other social, economic and other research and policy entities, and of course the substantial academic power that exists in the three partner universities. The Gauteng Research Triangle collectively delivers an enormous weight of academic and research excellence, across every field, and the team would assume to create multidisciplinary working groups and teams whenever appropriate, to analyse the SAPRIN nodal data from multiple angles. This tripartite University power is an important part of this proposal.