Supermarket shelves

Food purchasing behaviour of shoppers from different South African socio-economic communities: results from grocery receipts, intercept surveys and in-supermarkets audits

Jane Battersby

ABSTRACT Objective: To identify factors associated with food purchasing decisions and expenditure of South African supermarket shoppers across income levels. Design: Intercept surveys were conducted, grocery receipts collated and expenditure coded into categories, with each category calculated as percentage of the total expenditure. In-supermarket food quality audit and shelf space measurements of foods such as […]

New book on urban reform and innovation

James Duminy, Susan Parnell

African Centre for Cities has just published a new book Supporting City Futures: The Cities Support Programme and the Urban Challenge in South Africa by James Duminy and Susan Parnell.  In 2018 the Cities Support Programme (CSP), an initiative of the South African National Treasury, approached ACC to assist with the production of a book […]

Photographs of hope

Mercy Brown-Luthango

On Thursday, 5 December 2019 a one-day-only exhibition titled It all starts with me shows at the New Lecture Theatre, at the University of Cape Town. The exhibition is the result of a research project run by ACC’s Mercy Brown-Luthango, that emerged out of a long standing partnership with the Tafelsig People’s Association (TPA), a community-based […]

Mainstreaming Climate Change in Urban Development

Anna Taylor, Anton Cartwright, Di Scott, Gina Ziervogel, Liza Rose Cirolia

Cape Town’s drought crisis grabbed global headlines in 2018 and its causes and solutions were – and continue to be — hotly debated. But managing water shortages and other climate change impacts have been integrated into the city’s urban policy-making for some time, in response to rapid urbanisation and uncertainty about the exact nature, timing […]

Cities in World Politics. Local Responses to Global Challenges

Edgar Pieterse

Urbanisation is one of the most powerful trends of the modern era. Since 2007, for the first time in history over half the world’s population lives in cities, a proportion the United Nations estimates will rise to two-thirds by 2050. Much of this urban growth will take place in Africa and Asia, but other regions […]

BLOG: Settling into ACC – MPhil Southern Urbanism

Housed at the most elevated part of the mountainous University of Cape Town upper campus, the African Centre for Cities (ACC) runs an exciting MPhil in Urban Studies programme to develop urban scholars that can take on the complex challenges of rapidly urbanising cities of the global south. From its vantage point, the ACC’s call […]

ACC at Open Book Festival 2019

Mercy Brown-Luthango, Edgar Pieterse, Jane Battersby

For the third consecutive year African Centre for Cities (ACC) presents four city-focused panel discussions at the forthcoming Open Book Festival, from 4 to 8 September 2019. This year’s sessions are aligned to key areas of ACC’s research namely transport, housing, urban food systems and socio-spatial integration in Cape Town. While the sessions draw on […]

NEW PAPER: The Potential for Sustainable Urbanisation in Africa

Edgar Pieterse

“…from a political, economic, military, and cultural point of view, […] Africa has to become its own center. It has to become its own force. Not as a way of separating itself from the rest of the world, but as a precondition for it to exercise its weight among other forces in the world.” It […]

VACANCY: Urban Studies Postdoctoral research fellowship – deadline extended

African Centre for Cities has a research fellowship available focussed on Urban Studies – Southern Urbanism. Scope of Postdoctoral Fellowship The postdoctoral fellowship is focussed on Urban Studies –Southern Urbanism. The candidate will have expertise in: qualitative social research, with a firm grounding in social theory and an interest in the global South. Familiarity with […]

IN THE PRESS: Taking food security to a wider audience

Jane Battersby, Vanessa Watson

With its engaging narrative style and striking images, Tomatoes & Taxi Ranks translates the fascinating findings of the CUP project into a digestible read accessible to an audience well beyond the borders of academia. One of the most challenging aspects of conducting academic studies is translating crucial findings for a wider audience. With the launch […]

In the press: Edging forward: The cultural governance research agenda for South African cities

A city’s greatest resource, and its reason for being, are its people. Since the industrial revolution, cities began to be seen as “machines for living in” and people were subjugated to technocracy and infrastructure. But as we have seen with recent challenges that come with climate change and conflict, our resilience as people’s tied strongly […]

Call for applications for the ACC Pan African Research College PhD scholarship

The African Centre for Cities (ACC) was established in 2007 at the University of Cape Town as an urban research institute. The ACC is based in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, but is interdisciplinary in its scope, drawing expertise on urban issues from across […]

In the Press: With support from CUT, WRI and ACC: ESRF hosts TULab meeting in Dar

With the support from the Coalition for Urban Transitions (CUT), World Resource Institute (WRI) and African Centre for Cities (ACC), Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) in collaboration with Ministry of Finance and Planning hosted the Tanzania Urbanisation Laboratory (TULab) meeting in Dar es Salaam on Friday. (more…)

OPPORTUNITY: PEAK Urban Junior Research Fellow

The ACC is undertaking research on urban sustainability as it relates to southern urbanism to build capacity-making on the urban future, as part of the RCUK PEAK Urban Grand Challenges grant ( The work package for this appointment focuses on understanding how to address the urban sexual health needs of the ‘Key Populations’ and in […]

ACC researcher awarded

James Duminy

The African Centre for Cities (ACC) is pleased to announce that researcher James Duminy has been awarded the Joseph Arenow Prize for the best PhD thesis for 2017 in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment (EBE), University of Cape Town.   His thesis, entitled ‘Scarcity, Government, Population: The Problem of Food in Colonial Kenya’, […]

Jane Battersby joins Global Nutrition Report’s group experts

Jane Battersby

ACC’s Jane Battersby is among the new members of the Global Nutrition Report‘s Independent Expert Group (IEG). The IEG members were selected to bring the right mix of expertise and fresh perspectives to the Global Nurtrition Report in 2018 and beyond. The IEG as a whole represents individual members’ expertise in research, programming, data and […]

ACC International Urban Conference: A personal reflection

James Duminy

African Centre for Cities researcher James Duminy reflects on his experience of the ACC International Urban Conference which took place from 1 to 3 February 2018 at the University of Cape Town.  The ACC 2018 International Urban Conference was an important experience for me, both intellectually and personally. (more…)

African Centre For Cities PEAK Urban Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: Urban Governance

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS The ACC invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship to support research associated with the PEAK Urban project and complementary work on urban sustainability and governance. The successful candidate will become part of a new global cohort of urban researchers as part of the PEAK Urban project. The ideal candidate will have expertise […]

Call for Participants: Academy for African Urban Diversity

The African continent is rapidly urbanizing. If this point is agreed upon by a wide variety of actors—from media, to governments, UN agencies, development banks as well as scholars—there is far less consensus about what this process will mean for Africans. The Academy of African Urban Diversity aims brings together doctoral students to debate and […]

“One Table Two Elephants” An Environmental Film Essay Goes to New York

Henrik Ernstson

On Monday April 3rd, 2017, “One Table Two Elephants”  will be screened at the Deutsches Haus 42 Washington Mews, New York, NY from 6:00 – 8:00 PM This film essay is about bushmen bboys, a flower kingdom and the ghost of a princess. Entering the city through its plants and wetlands, the many-layered, painful and liberating history of the […]

In Context

Tau Tavengwa, Edgar Pieterse

Africa is not a country!!! This 10 minute remix film acts as a teaser of some concepts and ideas for an upcoming film and exhibition project ACC/Cityscapes will undertake between 2017-19. In Context will explore the true nature and complexity of life in cities across the continent of Africa.

Job Opportunity: City Embedded Researcher: FRACTAL Cities and Climate Change Project

Anna Taylor

City Embedded Researcher: FRACTAL Cities and Climate Change Project University of Zambia, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies Position: Fixed term for 3 years, full-time Application closing date: 30 April 2016 Start date: negotiable around 1 June 2016 End date: 30 June 2019 Applications are invited for the position of Lusaka embedded researcher in the […]

Ghetto Trekk!

Ghetto Trekk! is one of the seven projects ACC is supporting as part of Public Art and the Power of Place project. According to the project coordinator: ‘GHETTO TREKK! is a touring platform that is designed for visual art, music, film-making, fashion, design, curatorship and theatre, while providing a podium for individuals from a wide […]

Artfricraft Studios

Artfricraft Studios is one of the seven projects being supported by ACC as part of Public Art and the Power of Place. Artfricraft Studios will be hosting a series of events as part of their project. According to project director, Fwamba Mukole: ‘Artfricraft Studios is an all-inclusive socio-cultural enterprise aimed at serving as a platform of creative […]

Theatre in the Backyard

Theatre in the Backyard is one of the seven projects being supported by the ACC as part of Public Art and the Power of Place. Theatre in the Backyard presents “Is He Mad?” written & directed by Mhlanguli George and performed by Lamla Ntsaluba. According to the project organisers, “Is He Mad?”: ‘A story of a […]

The Harare Academy of Inspiration

Rike Sitas

The Harare Academy of Inspiration is one of the seven public-facing art projects being supported by the ACC as part of Public Art and the Power of Place. The curators have the following to say: ‘The Harare Academy of Inspiration is an ambitious public art project, turning a small restaurant in front of Harare Library in […]

Ray Pahl Urban Studies Fellowship 2016

Dr Naomi Roux has been selected from a highly competitive field of applicants as the holder of the next Ray Pahl Urban Studies Fellowship. She will spend 2016 at the ACC. Dr Roux will use the year to develop her PhD (Birkbeck, London) into a book about memory and urban spatial transformation. Her case study […]

Introducing Public Art and the Power of Place Artists

Rike Sitas

We would like to thank all those who submitted proposals. We were inundated by excellent ideas, and after much deliberation, we are excited to announce the selection of projects for Public Art and the Power of Place. In alphabetic order: >> FAST FORWARD>> HERE:  Newcastle Creative Network with Maninzi Kwatshube This project examines the prospects and […]

Urban Infrastructure in sub-Saharan African Cities

Ian Palmer, Stephen Berrisford

During 2014/15, with support from DfID, the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town carried out a study to explore the extent to which cities in Sub-Saharan Africa are harnessing urban land values to finance city infrastructure. The year-long research programme generated several reports, twelve of which are available here. Click on the Report titles […]

The Cape Town Civil Society Conference

Henrik Ernstson

The Cape Town Civil Society Conference, to be held at UCT on June 6, 2015; invites civil society organisations from across the city to reflect and share their experiences in mobilizing and influencing the urban environment.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Public Art and the Power of Place

Rike Sitas

Individual or groups of artists from, or working in Cape Town’s townships in visual arts, performance, graffiti, music, poetry and/or theatre are invited to apply for a R50000 grant to produce one of six public art engagements that explore the significance of place outside of Cape Town’s City Bowl in this new ACC initiative.

NOTICE: Changes Afoot

We will be implementing some changes and major upgrades to the site from 1-21 June. This might result in a few areas not working as they should for the period. We apologise for any inconveniences.

Climate change and Cape Town’s future

Anna Taylor

Climate change is reshaping our understanding of development pathways, bringing into stark relief how development choices impact us unequally and often in unintended or unforeseen ways as mediated through the environment or earth system. Writes Anna Taylor in this article for

ESRC/DFID African Urban Poverty Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

The ACC invites applications for one postdoctoral fellowship to undertake research in an ESRC/DFID-funded project focusing on Urban Poverty and Food Systems in secondary cities in sub-Saharan Africa. The three case study cities are Kitwe, Epworth and Kisumu.

Hungry Cities Research Programme

The African Centre for Cities will host a new R12m, five-year international comparative multi-city inquiry research programme focusing on youth entrepreneurship in the informal food economy; competition and inclusive growth in the urban food economy; reshaping informal food systems through inclusive growth; rapid urbanisation, food insecurity and inclusive growth.

New research on disaster risk in urban Africa

The ACC is part of a new international programme of interdisciplinary research which aims to reduce disaster risk in urban sub-Saharan Africa. UrbanARK links African and international experts in hazards and climate modelling, social history, urban planning and governance, epidemiology and urban loss assessment.

VACANCY: Professorship in Urban Studies at ACC

The University of Basel (Unibas) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) are jointly establishing a Professorship in Urban Studies which will be based in the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at UCT. Corresponding to its long-standing interests in African Studies, and its concern with African cities as a crucial element of the urban future, […]

Transport, densification and inclusivity

  An Op-Ed titled “Transport system and densification must foster mutually inclusive plans” by Edgar Pieterse as it appeared in Cape Times, 18 July 2014  

Density Syndicate Workshops

The first two Density Syndicate workshops saw the teams working between Guga S’Thebe in Langa, and the respective sites. Consisting of urbanists, City officials and representatives from relevant local organisations, each team had a set of site-specific challenges, the key findings of which will be exhibited as part of City Desired. Lotus Park Lotus Park […]