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Tony Binns

ProfessorTony Binns Staff photo
Ron Lister Lister Professor of Geography

BA(Shef)
DipEd(Shef)
MA(Birm)
PhD(Birm)

Richardson Building, room 4C19
Office Hours: email to make an appointment
Tel +64 3 479 5356
Email tony.binns@otago.ac.nz

Teaching

  • GEOG 102 Human Geography
  • GEOG 212 Transformations in Developing Countries
  • GEOG 280 Research Methodology in Human Geography
  • GEOG 376 Geographies of Action, Contestation and Change
  • GEOG 380 Field Research Studies (Arts)
  • GEOG 382 Transformations in Developing Countries
  • GEOG 402 Development Planning and Practice
  • GEOG 475 Sustaining Rural Livelihoods in Developing Countries

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Research interests

Tony's doctoral research in 1974 was on the relationships between rural development and diamond mining in Sierra Leone, since when he has travelled and researched extensively throughout Africa. His research is mainly concerned with resource development and poverty alleviation, with particular reference to the dynamics of indigenous farming, pastoral and fishing food production systems. His recent work has focused on community-based development initiatives in South Africa, post-war community reconstruction in Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka and urban agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and Vietnam. His work in the Pacific region is concerned with the role of the church in development in Samoa and community-based adaptation to climate change.

View Research Grants

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Current research

Urban and peri-urban food production
The growing of food crops in urban and peri-urban areas of poor countries makes a valuable contribution to both food security and poverty alleviation. With initial funding from the Natural Resources Institute (UK), and in close collaboration with the Department of Geography at Bayero University, Kano (Nigeria), a detailed field survey was undertaken of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Kano city.

A workshop was held in Kano in 1999, to bring together a number of other empirical studies on urban agriculture. Papers have been published subsequently with colleagues in both Kano and the University of Gloucestershire (UK). Doctoral student, Roy Maconachie, completed his thesis on the question of land degradation at the rural-urban interface in the Kano close-settled zone. Four other doctoral students have studied aspects of urban agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa; Samuel Boakye evaluated the significance of urban agriculture in Tema, Ghana, Danny Simatele worked on urban agriculture in Lusaka, Zambia, whilst Alec Thornton investigated urban agriculture as a poverty alleviation strategy in post-apartheid South Africa. Emaediong Uko investigated planning policies towards urban agriculture in two southern Nigerian cities (Benin and Uyo).

In January 2005, Tony conducted field-based research on urban agriculture in Hanoi, Vietnam with Otago Masters in Planning student, Brody Lee, and Alan Dixon (Otago), and in 2007 undertook preliminary field-based research in Samoa with post-doctoral fellow Alec Thornton (Otago). Otago PhD student, Jessie Smart, has worked on urban agriculture in the Zambian Copperbelt towns of Kitwe and Ndola.

In July 2004, Tony was invited to become a member of the Advisory Committee of AGROPOLIS, International Research Awards in Urban Agriculture, based at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada. From 2010, Tony was involved with Etienne Nel (Otago) and collaborators at the Universities of Zambia and the Copperbelt, in a project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on, The significance of urban agriculture in food security and sustainable livelihoods in response to economic restructuring in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province.

See more on Tony's Further research interests page

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Current research students (PhD)

  • Daniel Basubas: The ‘green economy’ and development on the Agulhas Plain, Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Rachel Fleener: Community involvement in the ‘Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative’ in Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Sargam Goundar: Climate change and migration in Fiji.
  • Kim Kessler: Community-based adaptation to climate change in Fiji.
  • Emaediong Uko: Policy and planning for urban and peri-urban agriculture in southern Nigeria.
  • Geethika Waniganeththi Vidanaralalage: Post-conflict reconstruction and development in northern Sri Lanka.

Completed Doctoral Theses supervised by Tony

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Publications

Binns, T., & Nel, E. (2020). Reconceptualizing urban agriculture in Africa: Issues of scale, class and institutional support in Zambian copperbelt towns. In A. Thornton (Ed.), Urban food democracy and governance in North and South. (pp. 213-229). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-17187-2_13

Lynch, K., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2020). ‘Transforming Freetown’: Dilemmas of planning and development in a West African City. Cities, 101, 102694. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2020.102694

Latai-Niusulu, A., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2020). Positionality and protocol in field research: Undertaking community-based investigations in Samoa. Asia Pacific Viewpoint. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/apv.12252

Latai-Niusulu, A., Binns, T., & Nel, E. (2019). Climate change and community resilience in Samoa. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/sjtg.12299

Privett, S., Bek, D., Bailey, R., Binns, T., Raimondo, D., Kirkwood, D., & Euston-Brown, D. (2019). Conservation in the context of wildflower harvesting: The development and implementation of a Vulnerability Index on the Agulhas Plain of South Africa. Journal of Environmental Planning & Management. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2019.1687428

Authored Book - Research

Potter, R., Binns, T., Elliott, J. A., Nel, E., & Smith, D. W. (2018). Geographies of development: An introduction to development studies (4th ed.). Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 636p.

Binns, T., Dixon, A., & Nel, E. (2012). Africa: Diversity and development. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 414p.

Potter, R. B., Binns, T., Elliott, J. A., & Smith, D. (2008). Geographies of development: An introduction to development studies (3rd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education, 545p.

Binns, T., Dixon, A., & Spellman, G. (2007). Sustainable development. Deddington, UK: Philip Allan Updates, 221p.

Potter, R. B., Binns, T., Elliott, J. A., & Smith, D. (2004). Geographies of development: An introduction to development studies (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education, 509p.

Lester, A., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2000). South Africa, past, present and future: Gold at the end of the rainbow? Harlow, England: Pearson Education, 374p.

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Authored Book - Other

Bowden, R., & Binns, T. (2001). The changing face of South Africa, 88. Lewes, England: White-Thomson.

Binns, T., Clark, D., & Matthews, H. (2000). Regional development and change, 88. Deddington, England: Philip Allan Updates.

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Edited Book - Research

Binns, T., Lynch, K., & Nel, E. (Eds.). (2018). The Routledge handbook of African development. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 700p.

Fisher, C., & Binns, T. (Eds.). (2000). Issues in geography teaching, 88. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Binns, T., & Nel, E. (2020). Reconceptualizing urban agriculture in Africa: Issues of scale, class and institutional support in Zambian copperbelt towns. In A. Thornton (Ed.), Urban food democracy and governance in North and South. (pp. 213-229). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-17187-2_13

Binns, T., Nel, E., & Lynch, K. (2018). Conclusion: Looking forward. In T. Binns, K. Lynch & E. Nel (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of African development. (pp. 665-669). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Binns, T., & Nel, E. (2018). African development: 'Hopeless Africa', 'Africa rising', or somewhere in between? In T. Binns, K. Lynch & E. Nel (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of African development. (pp. 273-285). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Binns, T., Nel, E., & Lynch, K. (2018). Introduction. In T. Binns, K. Lynch & E. Nel (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of African development. (pp. 3-9). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Binns, T. (2017). Participatory development. In D. Richardson (Ed.), The international encyclopedia of geography: People, the earth, environment and technology. Wiley-Blackwell. [Encyclopaedia/Dictionary Entry].

Bateman, J., Binns, T., & Nel, E. (2017). Flirting with food security: Resilience in the face of conflict, climate change and communicable disease in rural Sierra Leone. In E. T. H. Hope (Ed.), Climate change and food security: Africa and the Caribbean. (pp. 128-142). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Binns, T. (2014). Dualistic and unilinear concepts of development. In V. Desai & R. B. Potter (Eds.), The companion to development studies. (3rd ed.) (pp. 100-105). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Nel, E., Binns, T., & Bek, D. (2013). Fair trade and alternative food networks in the internationalization of small-scale rural entrepreneurs in South Africa. In H. Etemad (Ed.), The process of internationalization in emerging SMEs and emerging economies. (pp. 234-259). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Bek, D., McEwan, C., & Binns, T. (2012). The South African wine industry: Meeting the challenges of structural and ethical transformation. In P. H. Dougherty (Ed.), The geography of wine: Regions, terroir and techniques. (pp. 137-157). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Nel, E., & Binns, J. A. (2008). Evolving economic marginality and local economic development responses in selected South African gold and coal mining areas. In M. M. Valenca, E. Nel & W. Leimgruber (Eds.), The global challenge and marginalization. (pp. 197-208). New York: Nova Science.

Binns, T. (2008). Dualistic and unilinear concepts of development. In V. Desai & R. B. Potter (Eds.), The companion to development studies. (2nd ed.) (pp. 81-85). London: Hodder Education.

Binns, T., Bek, D., Nel, E., & Ellison, B. (2007). Sidestepping the mainstream: Fairtrade Rooibos tea production in Wupperthal, South Africa. In D. Maye, L. Holloway & M. Kneafsey (Eds.), Alternative food geographies: Representation and practice. (pp. 331-350). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Binns, T., & Maconachie, R. (2006). Re-evaluating people-environment relationships at the rural-urban interface: How sustainable is the peri-urban zone in Kano, Northern Nigeria? In D. McGregor, D. Simon & D. Thompson (Eds.), The peri-urban interface: Approaches to sustainable natural and human resource use. (pp. 211-228). London, UK: Earthscan.

Binns, T. (2006). E.F. (Fritz) Schumacher (1911-77). In D. Simon (Ed.), Fifty key thinkers on development. (pp. 218-223). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Binns, T. (2006). Doing fieldwork in developing countries: Planning and logistics. In V. Desai & R. B. Potter (Eds.), Doing development research. (pp. 13-24). London, UK: SAGE Publications.

Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2005). Putting ¨developmental local government¨ into practice: The experience of South Africa's towns and cities. In E. Nel & C. M. Rogerson (Eds.), The experience of Southern Africa: Local economic development in the developing world. (pp. 37-56). New Brunswick, USA: Transaction.

Binns, T., & Maconachie, R. A. (2005). Reconstructing rural livelihoods in post-conflict Sierra Leone. In K. Jackson, N. Lewis, S. Adams & M. Morten (Eds.), Development on the edge. (pp. 100-106). Auckland, New Zealand: University of Auckland.

Binns, T. (2002). Dualistic and unilinear concepts of development. In V. Desai & R. B. Potter (Eds.), The companion to development studies. (pp. 75-79). London: Arnold.

Binns, T. (2000). Learning about development: An 'entitlement' for all. In C. Fisher & T. Binns (Eds.), Issues in geography teaching. (pp. 190-204). London: RoutledgeFalmer.

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Journal - Research Article

Lynch, K., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2020). ‘Transforming Freetown’: Dilemmas of planning and development in a West African City. Cities, 101, 102694. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2020.102694

Latai-Niusulu, A., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2020). Positionality and protocol in field research: Undertaking community-based investigations in Samoa. Asia Pacific Viewpoint. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/apv.12252

Latai-Niusulu, A., Binns, T., & Nel, E. (2019). Climate change and community resilience in Samoa. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/sjtg.12299

Privett, S., Bek, D., Bailey, R., Binns, T., Raimondo, D., Kirkwood, D., & Euston-Brown, D. (2019). Conservation in the context of wildflower harvesting: The development and implementation of a Vulnerability Index on the Agulhas Plain of South Africa. Journal of Environmental Planning & Management. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2019.1687428

McLachlan, S., & Binns, T. (2018). Exploring host perspectives towards younger international development volunteers. Development in Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09614524.2018.1524850

Bek, D., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2017). Jobs, water or conservation? Deconstructing the green economy in South Africa’s working for water programme. Environmental Development. doi: 10.1016/j.envdev.2017.07.002

Binns, T., & Bateman, J. (2017). Rural livelihoods and food security: Long-term insights from Sierra Leone's Eastern Province. Geographical Research, 55(2), 156-165. doi: 10.1111/1745-5871.12204

Bek, D., Binns, T., Blokker, T., McEwan, C., & Hughes, A. (2017). A high road to sustainability? Wildflower harvesting, ethical trade and social upgrading in South Africa's Western Cape. Journal of Agrarian Change, 17(3), 459-479. doi: 10.1111/joac.12149

Nel, E., Smart, J., & Binns, T. (2017). Resilience to economic shocks: Reflections from Zambia's copperbelt. Growth & Change, 48(2), 201-213. doi: 10.1111/grow.12181

Bowden, G., & Binns, T. (2016). Youth employment and post-war development in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka. Conflict, Security & Development, 16(3), 197-218. doi: 10.1080/14678802.2016.1179448

Cadzow, H., & Binns, T. (2016). Empowering Freetown’s women farmers. Applied Geography, 74, 1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.06.010

Cadzow, H., & Binns, T. (2016). Are groups a good thing? Evaluating group associations among vegetable farmers in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Development in Practice, 26(4), 406-419. doi: 10.1080/09614524.2016.1159662

Smart, J., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2015). Economic crisis and food security in Africa: Exploring the significance of urban agriculture in Zambia’s Copperbelt province. Geoforum, 65, 37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.07.009

Blokker, T., Bek, D., & Binns, T. (2015). Wildflower harvesting on the Agulhas Plain, South Africa: Challenges in a fragmented industry. South African Journal of Science, 111(11-12), 2014-0160. doi: 10.17159/sajs.2015/20140160

Bateman, J., & Binns, T. (2014). More than just a game?: Grass roots cricket and development in Mumbai, India. Progress in Development Studies, 14(2), 147-161. doi: 10.1177/1464993413517788

McLachlan, S., & Binns, T. (2014). Tourism, development and corporate social responsibility in Livingstone, Zambia. Local Economy, 29(1-2), 98-112. doi: 10.1177/0269094214520624

Nel, E., Binns, T., & Gibb, M. (2014). Community development at the coal face: Networks and sustainability among artisanal mining communities in Indwe, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Geographical Journal, 180(2), 175-184. doi: 10.1111/geoj.12022

Bek, D., Binns, T., & Nel, E. (2013). Wild flower harvesting on South Africa's Agulhas Plain: A mechanism for achieving sustainable local economic development? Sustainable Development, 21(5), 281-293. doi: 10.1002/sd.499

Thornton, A., Binns, T., & Kerslake, M. T. (2013). Hard times in Apia? Urban landlessness and the church in Samoa. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 34(3), 357-372. doi: 10.1111/sjtg.12040

Bangura, K. S., Lynch, K., & Binns, J. A. (2013). Coping with the impacts of weather changes in rural Sierra Leone. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 20(1), 20-31. doi: 10.1080/13504509.2012.740511

Vista, B. M., Nel, E., & Binns, T. (2012). Land, landlords and sustainable livelihoods: The impact of agrarian reform on a coconut hacienda in the Philippines. Land Use Policy, 29(1), 154-164. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.06.002

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