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Cities and Climate Change: Seminar 2

15 May, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm SAST

The second seminar in the Cities and Climate Change series will explore low carbon urban energy transitions in (mostly South) African cities, paying particular attention to the institutional dimensions of transforming energy systems to increase energy access and increase sustainability by reducing GHG emissions in growing cities.


In the 20th century, grid electric power radically changed the face of household and community services, industry and commerce. Influence over the electricity grid by powerful human actors also enabled establishment and maintenance of fundamental social and economic structures. However, such influence has not remained uni-directional. The grid, too, has come to influence powerful human actors in ways probably not intended. Hilton Trollip will discuss Hodder’s (2014) use of the ‘entanglement’ concept with reference to analysis of historic and recent developments in South Africa’s energy system.


Saul Roux will discuss research conducted within the Mistra Urban Futures – Knowledge Transfer Programme (MUF-KTP), which involved spending three years in the City of Cape Town, embedded in its Energy and Climate Change Unit, focussing on the conditions under which energy systems transition to more sustainable configurations, through an exploration of the City’s electricity distribution system. Theoretically, the study is situated within debates on socio-technical transitions and the multi-level perspective (MLP) of socio-technical change. Overall, the study explored the implications of applying the multi-level perspective to cities (scale) in the Global South (geographical context) and examines and the role of regulatory and organisational conditions in shaping sustainable transitions.


Anton Cartwright will bring these inputs into conversation with seminar participants around questions of governing low carbon, sustainable and inclusive transitions in African cities.


Hodder, I., 2014. The Entanglements of Humans and Things: A Long-Term View. New Literary History, 45(1), pp.19–36. Available at:http://muse.jhu.edu/content/crossref/journals/new_literary_history/v045/45.1.hodder.html.



  • Hilton Trollip, senior researcher in energy policy, Energy Research Centre
  • Saul Roux, legal campaigner, Centre for Environmental Rights (previously ACC Mistra Urban Futures embedded researcher with City of Cape Town)


Chair & discussant

  • Anton Cartwright, institutional economics research fellow, African Centre for Cities

WHEN: 15 May 2018

TIME: 15:00 – 16:30

WHERE: Studio 3, Environmental and Geographical Science Building, Upper Campus, UCT


15 May, 2018
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm SAST
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Studio 3
Environmental and Geographical Sciences Building, Upper Campus, UCT
Cape Town, South Africa
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