Dr Christina (Ida) Breed

Staff Profile


BL(Pretoria)MDes(Mex) PhD(Pretoria)
Researcher & Senior Lecturer
Coordinator: Postgraduate Programmes in Landscape Architecture
Contact no: +27 (0)12 420 4536
Email: [email protected]
Office: 4-9, Boukunde, Building, Hatfield Campus



Dr Christina (Ida) Breed is a senior lecturer that joined the Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria (UP) after completing her masters' degree in Urban Studies at UAM, Mexico and serving full time in practice in South Africa for 7 years. She completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (dist)(UP) in 2009. 

Ida was awarded a doctoral degree in 2015 based on research which examines value systems inside the landscape design profession in South Africa and how to operationalise them. Her research unites concepts of ecosystem services with human values, and contributes to the limited body of work that focuses on landscape designers as actors in social-ecological systems through green infrastructure design. She received a C3 rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2016, making her one of two rated landscape architects in the country.  

Ida served as President for the Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa (ILASA 2016-2019) and on the National Executive Committee. She also served on the Council of the Built Environment (CBE) and their Built Environment Matters Committee (2014-2018). She has acted as a panelist for the South African Landscape Institute (SALI) Awards since 2011, the ILASA Merit Awards (2015, 2017) and SACLAP validation panelist (2012, 2017).

Course involvement and teaching philosophy 

Ida currently co-ordinates and lectures Research Methodology and Biodiversity/ Ecological Design focused design studios at Postgraduate level in the Landscape Architecture programme. Her teaching approach involves experiential and transformative learning. 

Research profile

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2185-8367

Department research focus areas: Designed Ecologies

Dr Breed's research is concerned with open space design and how it relates to natural and cultural contextual issues and local identity. Her research demonstrates the importance of landscape design as part of green infrastructure, urban ecology and social-ecological systems. She is trained in urban ethnography and makes use of qualitative research methods, but enjoys working cross disciplinary. The findings of her research are relevant to national health and urban biodiversity conservation, indicating the importance of quality open space criteria in the developing world. She is passionate about both biodiversity conservation and human ethnography, which has inspired her travels in the developing world.

Research Projects 

Integrative Green Infrastructure (GRIP)

GRIP aims to facilitate a strategic transformation of the social and urban landscape in City of Tshwane through guidelines that improve the planning and management of green infrastructure. The research project provides new in-depth knowledge on local ecological and social benefits of green infrastructure, and integrates governance and justice perspectives, with concrete landscape design proposals to improve green infrastructure access, functioning and socio-economic opportunities. The main research partners in Denmark (Aarhus University) and in South Africa (University of Pretoria) aim to co-create knowledge and strengthen capacities, together with urban planners from Aarhus and Tshwane, private partners and students.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem services for Tshwane (BEST) 

This project monitors the survival of native grassland plant assemblages in urban contexts, and explores to what degree these native plants contribute to biodiversity refugia and sense of place. The project has received funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the University of Pretoria (UP), Research and Capacity Development Programmes.

Recent publications (past three years)

Breed, C.A., Morelli, A., Pirk, C.W.W., Sole, C.L., Du Toit, M.J., Cilliers, S.S. (In press). Could purposefully engineered native grassland gardens enhance urban insect biodiversity? Land.

Breed, C. A. 2022. Value negotiation and professional self-regulation – environmental concern in the design of the built environment. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 74, 127626. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127626

Breed, C.; Mehrtens, H. 2021. Using “live” public sector projects in design teaching to transform urban green infrastructure in South Africa. Land,11, 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010045

Botes, K.; Breed, C. 2021. “Outdoor living wall systems in a developing economy: A prospect for supplementary urban food production?”, Acta Structilia, 28(2), pp. 143-169. http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/24150487/as28i2.6.

Cilliers, S, Breed, C, Cilliers, J & Lategan, L. 2021. Urban Ecological Planning and Design in the Global South. In C. Shackleton, S. Cilliers, E. Davoren & M. du Toit (eds). Urban Ecology of the Global South. Berlin: Springer Press.

Breed, C. A. 2020. Incorporating the multiple benefits of urban nature into ecological design. In I Douglas et al (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Students Currently Supervising 

PhD students

Molebatsi, J.
Title: Architectural spatial design guidelines for African Traditional Health Practices in South Africa.

Shand, D. 
Title: Conceptualizing Environmental Justice in the City of Tshwane.

Botes, K. 
Title: Investigating food security potential of African orphan crops and leafy vegetables in modular living wall systems.

Koyoo, E. 
Title: Preserving landscape identity as part of urban renewal. The case of Kisumu City, Kenya

Grootboom, N. (in-country co-supervisor)
Title: Sustainable design guidelines for retail store interfaces as part of the circular economy.

MSc students (current)

Van der Walt, M. 
Title: Native plant selection to increase ecosystem functions in urban areas in City of Tshwane

Du Plessis, T.

Title: Guiding principles for the incorporation of Green Infrastructure in Site Development Planning, City of Tshwane.

M(Prof) students: supervised and co-supervised 25 students from 2008 to 2020


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