ACC at UCT

The ACC gives expression to the UCT Signature Theme that seeks to promote interdisciplinary research on cities in Africa. Scholars and postgraduate students across the UCT with an interest in urban research can participate in a number of ways in the work of the ACC. The primary opportunity for interdisciplinary engagement is the lead programme focussed on the Cape Town city-region – the CityLab, which in turn is supported by a related programme – the Cape Urban Observatory.

The various opportunities for participation in ACC activities are as follows:

ACC Platform: This represents a flexible network of urban scholars who identify with the objectives of the ACC and see an opportunity to enrich their own scholarship through engagement with ACC initiatives. The ACC Platform is convened once a year to update the network on the ACC’s work, learning and future plans to enhance the embedding of the Centre at the university.

Masters Programme in Urban Infrastructure Design and Management: This masters programme, leading to an MPHiL in Urban Infrastructure: Design and Management, is aimed at building capacity amongst those in government and the private sector who are committed to the future of African cities and to the servicing of particularly poorer inhabitants. The programme is presented by the Department of Civil Engineering. The programme has a strong inter-disciplinary focus, as the Faculty believes that urban problems can only be addressed through an integration of approaches which come from specific disciplinary backgrounds. To this end the programme draws on staff from engineering, architecture, planning, environmental sciences, geography, the social sciences, and management. Typically, course activities include both formal lectures and problem-based learning, through projects and cases. The programme includes some of the world’s best academics and practitioners in this area, using the Fellowship programme which has been funded by the Ove Arup Foundation.

ACC Academic Seminar Series: Once a month the ACC hosts a talk by a scholar to advance interdisciplinary discourse on vital urban research topics. These seminars are open.

ACC Brown Bag Sessions: Once a month a more informal and equally vibrant discussion is convened on contemporary developments in the urban development policy field. For example a recent urban development report may be discussed or one of the CityLab researchers may share insights from international conferences dealing with topical issues.

Signature Theme Research Report: In order to profile and disseminate ongoing academic research on various urban topics at UCT and to the larger public, ACC produces an annual research report on urban research related to African cities.

ACC PhD Seminar Series: A voluntary PhD Seminar series provides a space for PhD students working on urban topics across UCT to meet on a regular basis. The seminar series provides a space for exploring cutting edge literature and honing methodological skills. Most importantly, it provides a collegial atmosphere for future scholars to foster deep cross-disciplinary friendships.

ACC Bursary Scheme: Through the CityLab and the NRF Research Chair in urban policy, ACC awards a number of MA and PhD scholarships annually. These scholarships seek to reward relevant urban research and academic excellence. Guidelines for eligibility can be studied in this downloadable document.