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LAUNCHING THE URBAN ACADEMY: Smart cities, clever urbanism: digitally enabled practices in urban Africa

6 December, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm SAST

In 2021 the African Centre for Cities (ACC), an action-oriented research hub based at the University of Cape Town and UNITAC, the result of a partnership between the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the United Nations Office for Information and Communication Technology (UN OICT), and the City Science Lab @HafenCity University in Hamburg (CSL), initiated a collaborative platform for shared research interests under the banner of the Urban Academy. The collaboration is based on a shared interest in unpacking the intersection of technology, society, and cities to examine democratic decision-making, new models of service delivery, and the future of work.

Supported by the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, we are delighted to invite you to the official launch of the Urban Academy on the 6 December 2022 that will be facilitated by Nokukhanya Mncwabe, a human rights consultant who enjoys forming, implementing and pulling apart policies and projects, forging friendships across geographies and disciplines, and being a tourist at home (Africa).

WHEN | Tuesday, 6 December 2022

TIME | 15:00-18:00 SAST

WHERE | Workshop 17, 32 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town

RSVP | Please send an email to africancentreforcities@gmail.com

Panel one: Introducing the Urban Academy: Smart Cities, Clever Urbanism

In the first panel, partnering directors Edgar Pieterse (ACC) and Gesa Ziemer (UNITAC and City Science Lab) will introduce why thinking about people-centred smartness is important for urban sustainability and justice from their different perspectives.

Panel two: RISE Cities: Different approaches to make our cities more resilient, intelligent, sustainable, and equitable

This interactive panel hosted by RISE Cities explores innovative urban practices in achieving resilient, intelligent, sustainable and equitable solutions and the role of responsible leadership. We are happy to invite the following to share their perspectives and facilitate their reflections:

Resilience – Dr Rudi Kimmie, TSIBA

Intelligence – Saidah Nash Carter, Bright Insights Global

Sustainability – Murendi Mafumo, Kusini Water

Equity – Brian Green, Group 44

Panel three: Young and Online in African Cities: people-centred smartness and urban wellbeing 

In the third panel we explore tech-enabled ways of making lives in African cities. The following panellists will bring brief reflections into a wider conversation about what it takes to shape research agendas about the role of technology in urban justice. It is also an opportunity to introduce a new collaboration under the Urban Academy, supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung entitled Young and Online in African Cities.

Rike Sitas – Introduction: Youth in digital city-making

Daanyaal Loofer – From undersea cables to street corners: smart African cities

Alicia Fortuin – Platformization and the future of work

Neil Hassan – Safe queer digital spaces

Liza Cirolia – Techno-ambivalence and socio-technical infrastructure

Hilke Berger – A research agenda for the Urban Academy?


Space is limited so please RSVP to africancentreforcities@gmail.com with the subject line: Urban Academy RSVP. If you require any further information, please contact rike.sitas@uct.ac.za.



6 December, 2022
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm SAST
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Workshop 17
32 Kloof Street
Cape Town,
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