Professor Juanee Cilliers is a doyenne of town planning. She has spent her professional life producing data that has helped cities, town and other residential areas to be built on an environmentally sustainable basis. Cilliers is respected throughout Africa and the world for her work on the use of urban spaces. Her work takes into consideration these communities to be urban-friendly and to accommodate all sectors of society such as children. She is the Chairperson of the subject group for Urban and Regional Planning at the North- West University (NWU), as well as a leader of the Research Programme for Sustainable Planning, Development and Implementation and professional Planner registered by the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN). Cilliers completed her PhD in Urban Planning in 2008, supported by the NRF, the Finnish government, the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Golden Key International Honour Society for outstanding academic achievements.
In 2008, Wageningen University, in the Netherlands, appointed her as an international researcher which was the start of a collaborative network spanning 11 years. In September 2009 she was appointed as a senior lecturer in Urban and Regional Planning at the NWU, and in 2010 she completed a second Master’s degree in Economics and Sustainable Communities course from the Aalto University (Finland).
Locally, she is the principal investigator for:
- The NRF THUTHUKA project (2013-2017)
- Two NRF Community Engagement projects (2015-2017 & 2019-2021)
- A DTI-NRF THRIP project (2015-2019)
- A water-research commission project (2016-2019)
She also collaborates with the South African Cities Network and the SA Day Organisation. Cilliers is an editorial associate of the accredited Journal for Town and Regional Planning and also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Green Economics and the Journal of the International Society for City and Regional Planners. To date, Cilliers has supervised 10 Ph.D. students (five successfully completed, 35 MSc students (26 successfully completed), and three Post-Doctoral Fellows. She has published 42 refereed journal papers, 66 conference papers, eight chapters in books and eight books. Her research has also enjoyed extensive media coverage, including appearances on national television, news and radio programmes. Since December 2017 she is the host of a weekly environmental talk on national radio (RSG) and has presented various public lectures across the country in this capacity. In 2019 she received the Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award from the NWU.