City insight

About Us

City Insight was established by Ms. Sue Bannister and Dr. Michael Sutcliffe in September 2012.

Collectively, we have over 70 years’ experience in a variety of sectors including academia, civil society, non-governmental organizations and all spheres of government (local, provincial and national).

City Insight works in collaboration with consultants, government and the private sector in providing information and advice on development issues. We have a strong network of allied professionals with whom we have worked, in the built environment and across Africa.

Our aim is to provide fresh insight and creative solutions to development challenges.



Our research work involves the study of various aspects of development, in order to generate new knowledge and insights that can inform and guide policy-making, planning, and decision-making processes.

We cover a broad range of topics, including governance, transport, economic development, human settlements, service delivery, strategic planning and long-term sustainability. We have worked at all spatial scales, from neighbourhoods to municipalities, provinces, national governments, and finally at a global level. Our work involves the collection and analysis of quantitative data, such as census data, governmental data and economic-, social, infrastructural and environmental indicators, as well as qualitative data, such as interviews or focus groups with stakeholders. 

We use this research to identify emerging trends and challenges, evaluate the effectiveness of existing policies and interventions, and inform the development of new policies and strategies. It also helps in building a better understanding of the complex and interconnected systems that shape the built environment and the relationships between different public and private stakeholders.

Read more about our Systems and Data Collection

Planning & Strategy

Planning is the process of creating strategies and plans to guide the development of a sector, area, region or country.  The ultimate goal of development planning is to create a roadmap for sustainable and inclusive growth that benefits the community as a whole. This requires a collaborative approach that involves input from various stakeholders, including government officials, private sector representatives, civil society organizations, and community members.

In this focus area, our work involves identifying and prioritizing goals and objectives and determining the actions needed to achieve them. This typically involves a comprehensive analysis of existing factors, such as demographics, economic conditions, financial factors, natural resources, infrastructure, and social and environmental factors. Based on this analysis, we identify opportunities for intervention, determine the resources needed to support development initiatives, and outline the steps necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.

Our planning work takes many forms, depending on the scope and complexity of the project. It may involve the development of integrated plans for municipalities, the creation of strategic plans for specific sectors, or the formulation of policies to address specific issues, such as poverty reduction or spatial equality.

Support & Advisory

Our support and advisory work includes directly advising senior managers and politicians in improving the performance of government and in assisting the private sector in its partnerships with government.  It also includes advising on development trends and innovations from across the world.

Effective development support requires a deep understanding of the needs and priorities of our clients and target communities, as well as a commitment to working in partnership with local stakeholders. In this, City Insight emphasises sustainability, ensuring that development initiatives are designed to be self-sustaining over the long-term.

Policy & Legislation

Policies provide a clear and consistent framework for decision-making and action, ensuring that the organisation or government operates in a transparent and accountable manner. Policies can help to guide the allocation of resources, manage risks, and promote consistency and fairness in decision-making.

City Insight has been involved in the process of developing and revising a wide range of policies and legislation.  These have played an important role in guiding decision-making and actions within different spheres of government, or with non-government role players.

Our policy development work generally covers the following steps such as:

  1. Identifying issues that the policy should address, including understanding why the current policy is not meeting the organisations goals;
  2. Conducting research to gather information and data;
  3. Analysing data and identifying different policy options;
  4. Development of policy proposals, including identifying what the organisational, budgetary and other implications of the policy will be;
  5. Obtaining input and feedback from stakeholders; and finally
  6. The formal adoption and implementation of the policy, which may include communication and training to ensure that the policy is properly understood and followed.

Data & Analytics

A central component of City Insight’s work is the collection, processing and analysis of data related to development initiatives, government activities and programmes.  This includes identifying trends, patterns, and relationships in data, and deriving insights that can inform decision-making and improve the effectiveness of development interventions.

Given that effective data analysis requires a range of skills and expertise, including data management, data cleaning, statistical analysis, and programming, City Insight also works closely with specialists in database development, systems development and programming.

Much of our work involves the use of geospatial data (including land use, population density, infrastructure data, economic, governmental, etc.) to analyse and understand spatial patterns and relationships.  Geospatial analysis is a powerful tool for understanding and addressing complex spatial problems as well as to inform decision making and policy development.  For this, we use both GIS software and Tableau. Tableau is software which allows users to analyze, and share data in a highly interactive and visual way.

Site Links

Visit City Insight Home for more information

Read more about Our Services