If we acknowledge that urban theory thrives on practice and urban practice is blind without theory, then creating spaces where practice and theory come together to inform each other is critical. Designing and institutionalising these kinds of platforms are perhaps easier said than done and in this new brief we unpack the lessons learnt in creating the Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP).
When addressing urban sustainable development challenges, every attempt to support transdisciplinary coproduction of knowledge highlights the disparity between academic, research-based knowledge versus practical, experience-based knowledge. This creates a paradox: innovation cannot occur without the meeting of different perspectives and knowledge, and yet those same differences can hinder innovation. Such boundary crossing is dependent on developing shared meanings and on individuals who can function as brokers.
The KTP, one of the pioneering projects of the Cape Town Mistra Urban Futures platform, aimed to create knowledge platforms that straddled the researcher-practitioner divide, to be better positioned to develop nuanced policy responses to complex urban sustainability challenges faced by the City of Cape Town. Ultimately, the purpose of the KTP was to explore institutional collaboration between university and municipal authorities in the interest of sustainable and just cities.
The brief is structure around sharing insight into the programme participants’ experiences, evidencing the impact of the programme on participating institutions, and making recommendations for strengthening future knowledge exchange programmes of the nature.