News


IN THE PRESS: Upgrades to informal settlements urgently needed

Warren Smit

Khayelitsha is one of the many townships in South Africa established as a racially segregated residential area under the apartheid regime. Like most areas established for “black Africans” during apartheid, it exists on the periphery of the city, some 39km from Cape Town’s centre. About 10 years ago, Khayelitsha represented the largest concentration of poverty […]

IN THE PRESS: Future Cities Interview with Anton Cartwright

Anton Cartwright

Exclusive interview with Anton Cartwright, a researcher at the African Centre for Cities (ACC) and a featured speaker in the Future Cities track at African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa in Cape Town in November. Can we start with the African Centre for Cities and the work that you do? ACC is an interdisciplinary research […]

LIRA Annual Research Forum

Sylvia Croese

Early-career researchers working on projects as part of the Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA 2030) programme met over three days from 17 to 19 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The researchers shared their experiences in project implementation and sought to foster collaboration in tackling sustainability challenges across African cities. As Principle […]

Urbanisation Lab delivers co-produced policy guidance for Ghanaian government

Anton Cartwright

To deliver on the Coalition for Urban Transitions‘ project — a major global initiative to support national governments to accelerate economic development and tackle dangerous climate change by transforming towns and cities — the African Centre for Cities applied versions of the ‘citylab’ model that have been used elsewhere (see Anderson et al. 2013) in […]

Integrity in urban development

The tenth World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi brought together thousands of advocates, civil society organisations, practitioners and government officials to discuss the impacts of urbanisation, housing, land and climate change. Panel discussions, roundtables and networking sessions focused on addressing poverty, inequality and human rights. Despite the strong emphasis on accountability and transparency in the […]

COI at the World Urban Forum – Cities of Opportunities: Connecting culture and innovation

The tenth World Urban Forum was officially opened on 9 February 2020 by Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director for UN-Habitat in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As part of the line-up, the Cities of Integrity (COI) project hosted a networking event structured around a panel discussion on innovative approaches to tackling corruption and cultivating a culture of […]

Climate and cities

Anna Taylor, Gina Ziervogel

For South African cities, there is a tension between responding to immediate priorities and needs within their political term, largely determined by voters, and ensuring cities are proactively responding to future trends, be they environmental, technological, political or socio-economic. This tension is well-illustrated with urban responses to climate change, often seen as a long-range issue […]

Call for contributions: Fifth Southern African City Studies Conference

Since 2009 the Southern Africa City Studies Conference (SACSC) series has provided an interdisciplinary forum for researchers examining urban issues in Southern Africa. We are pleased to announce that the fifth conference in this series will take place from 30 August to 1 September 2020 at the University of the Witwatersrand. As an interdisciplinary space, […]

Call for papers: AAPS conference 2020

Vanessa Watson

The Institute of Spatial Planning (IRPUD) at TU Dortmund University (Germany), together with the Institute of Human Settlement Studies and School of Spatial Planning and Social Sciences at Ardhi University (Tanzania) invite paper submissions for the fifth international conference of the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS). The conference takes place from 18 to 20 […]

Call for papers: Reconfiguring, Repurposing the City: Urban Ecotones in the Global South

From 29-31 October 2020 the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in partnership with EMMA (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3), Praxiling (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 and CNRS), DIRE (Université de La Réunion), and La Maison Française d’Oxford, will host Ecotones #7 under the banner Reconfiguring, Repurposing the City: Urban Ecotones in the Global South. After conferences at Université Paul-Valéry […]

Qualitative Action Experiment tackles professional integrity in the Zambian planning sector

From the 8 to 10 October 2019, the Cities of Integrity project – in partnership with the Centre for Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Zambia and the Zambian Institute of Planners (ZIP) – conducted a Qualitative Action Experiment (QAE) in Lusaka. In this article, researchers Dorothy Ndhlovu, Gilbert Siame and Laura Nkula-Wenz, […]

SDG indicators for health outcomes in South Africa

On 18 September, Prof Salome Maswime, Associate Professor, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Head of Global Surgery at the University of Cape Town (UCT), presented a talk on SDG indicators for health outcomes in South Africa. The seminar, this time hosted collaboratively by the African Centre for Cities with the Department of Medicine of the Faculty […]

INTERVIEW: Edgar Pieterse chats to John Maytham about the Integration Syndicate

Edgar Pieterse

Following the launch of The Integration Syndicate: Shifting Cape Town’s Socio-Spatial Debate on Friday, 6 September at the Open Book Festival, Edgar Pieterse (EP) was interviewed by John Maytham (JM), of CapeTalk about the publication and one of the provocations related to minibus taxis. You can read the transcript of the interview below or listen to […]

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 […]

Cities of Integrity project launch in Zambia

by Dorothy Ndhlovu and Gilbert Siame The launch of the Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme (GI-ACE) Cities of Integrity project was held on the 19 July 2019 at Protea Hotel Towers in Lusaka, Zambia. The launch was jointly organised by the Center for Urban Research and Planning (CURP) at the University of Zambia (UNZA), Zambia Institute […]

The SDGs in South Africa: why transitions are always the hardest part

Sylvia Croese

On the 21 August Dr. Alexis Schäffler-Thomson, consultant at development advisory firm, Pegasys, presented a talk, The SDGs in South Africa: why transitions are always the hardest part. The seminar, this time hosted collaboratively by the African Centre for Cities, the African Centre of Excellence for Inequality Research and the Poverty & Inequality Initiative, was attended by […]

Launch of Tanzania’s Urbanisation Roadmap

Anton Cartwright

For Tanzania, rapidly growing cities could either become a national liability or the springboard towards global competitiveness, sustainability and middle-income status. Tanzania has both a growing economy and an urbanising population, but the two trends are not currently mutually reinforcing. (more…)

BLOG: Between Dreams and Living Life: What the Everyday unveils…

The first semester of the MPhil in Southern Urbanism at the African Centre for Cities , University of Cape Town swept away cobwebs of old stale ways of thinking about life in the city and pushed every necessary “refresh” button. My internal adventures, both of the mental and spirit kind carefully choreographed and facilitated by […]

BLOG: Walking in the city – inquiries into the everyday

Walking is an important practice to access the ordinary life of a city. It offers a slow-paced, ground level and direct approach to urban environments. It allows one to experience the surrounding on an affectual plane. Each and every space has a smell, a feel, an intangible history, hidden meanings and is made up of […]

New ACC paper argues for strengthening integrity within the planning profession to combat corruption in urban development

by Christian Alexander The scourge of corruption in urban development has corrosive and far-reaching effects that can hardwire injustice into the fabric of cities and undermine social cohesion and trust within communities. Staggering figures reflecting the prevalence and impact of corruption in urban development demonstrate that tackling this issue is a key policy challenge of […]

Financing the SDGs in African cities?

Sylvia Croese, Liza Rose Cirolia

On the Wednesday, 19 June, Liza Rose Cirolia, researcher at the African Centre for Cities, presented a talk entitled Financing the SDGs in African cities?. The seminar was attended by 21 people, representing different research departments at UCT, civil society, provincial government, as well as a large contingent of Cape Town City officials. (more…)

How data-ready are African governments to monitor SDG Progress?

Sylvia Croese

On 15 May 2019, Lynn Woolfrey, Manager of Datafirst, a UCT-based unit that supports data-intensive Africa-focused research, presented a talk entitled: How Data-ready are African Governments to Monitor SDG Progress?. The seminar was attended by 15 people, hailing from different departments of UCT, as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society and the […]

Challenging the formal/informal dichotomy

Ntombini Marrengane

The African Urban Research Initiative (AURI) is co-hosting a methods workshop from 6 to 10 May 2019, in Lusaka, Zambia, focused on the formal/informal interface at the city scale. The Formal-Informal Interface Workshop emerges from ongoing comparative research conducted under the umbrella of AURI which, aims at challenging the dichotomy between informal and formal areas, […]

IN THE PRESS: How to achieve low carbon service delivery

Anton Cartwright

The number of people living in African cities is expected to triple between 2010 and 2050, totalling more than the number of people living in cities in North America, Europe and Latin America combined. Elsewhere in the world, urbanisation has driven industrialisation and rapid economic and developmental gain, writes Anton Cartwright in this article for […]

Unpacking SDG implementation in eThekwini

Sylvia Croese

On the 17 April 2019, Puvendra Akkiah, IDP Manager of eThekwini Municipality and Technical Chair of the United Cities and Local Governments Committee on Urban Strategic Planning, presented a talk entitled Unpacking SDG implementation in eThekwini. The seminar, which forms part of African Centre for Cities year-long SDG seminar series, was held back-to-back with a session at the […]

LIRA Annual Research Forum

Sylvia Croese

The annual LIRA Research Forum took place from 25 to 28 March 2019 in Dakar, Senegal. During the forum ACC’s Sylvia Croese, principal investigator of the project Co-producing urban knowledge in Angola and Mozambique through community-led data collection: towards meeting SDG 11, presented a project update along with project members Massamba Dominique of the Development Workshop, Luanda, […]

IN THE PRESS: Cape Town drought a lesson for SA

Gina Ziervogel

During National Water Week this week, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) African Centre for Cities (ACC) released a new paper which warns that the Cape Town drought has powerful climate-change adaptation lessons for other South African municipalities. (more…)

Cape Town drought delivers powerful lessons to cities on climate adaptation

Gina Ziervogel

African Centre for Cities (ACC) has released a new paper Unpacking the Cape Town Drought Lessons Learnt by Associate Professor Gina Ziervogel. The research was commissioned by the Cities Support Programme, within National Treasury in the South Africa National Government, to ensure that lessons learned from the Cape Town drought experience would serve to inform […]

Grounding stats and the SDGs in co-produced local data

Sylvia Croese

City planners and local governments are increasingly expected to deliver on sustainable development policies such as Agenda 2030, but in many cases the data needed to assess and track progress are lacking. We found out how a team of early-career researchers funded through the LIRA 2030 Africa programme are looking to local communities to change […]

Localising the SDGs in South Africa

Sylvia Croese

Dr Sylvia Croese, research officer at ACC, kicked off the 2019 special year-long seminar series on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Wednesday, 13 February 2019. Over 20 people attended representing different departments and research centers at UCT, as well as private sector, civil society and local government. Croese’s presentation built on on-going research in […]

IN THE PRESS: Bloated bodies and barren lands

Warren Smit

What does obesity have to do with climate change? Quite a lot, according to an influential commission, which says the big food companies that make the junk food fuelling our expanding bodies are also destroying our environment — and need to be stopped. Humans have been getting steadily fatter over the past 30 years and […]

IN THE PRESS: Romantic visions of pastoral Africa won’t solve urban food insecurity

One of the greatest challenges facing Africa’s rapidly growing urban population is how to access sufficient, affordable and nutritious food. A pervasive rural bias that focuses on rural hunger and increased support of smallholder agriculture persists as the dominant feature of current thinking about food security policies. (more…)

IN THE PRESS: Encouraging debate

#FREESPACE is an initiative that encourages the use of public spaces to engage in public discussions, talks and showcases. This initiative is a project of Instinct, undertaken for the V&A Waterfront, in partnership with Zeitz MOCAA and the African Centre for Cities at UCT, with additional support from various donors. In the Silo Arena, an industrial […]

REVIEW: Building a Capable State

Written by long-standing research practitioners Ian Palmer and Nishendra Moodley, as well as one of South Africa’s leading academic urbanists, Professor Sue Parnell, Building a Capable State tackles the hard question of whether the post-apartheid state is up to delivering rights-based, sustainable development, and more specifically the task of providing local services like water, electricity, […]

#FREESPACE

Jane Battersby, Gareth Haysom, Vanessa Watson, Andrew Tucker, Kim Gurney, Caroline Skinner

The notion of public space will be in the spotlight at the V&A Silo District as engagement unfolds around a programme of talks, debate and performance, hosted at the Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) from 17 January to 17 February 2019. The month-long #FREESPACE programme provides a platform to discuss and engage with the […]

IN THE PRESS: ‘Highly processed food is a form of pollution’

Science writer Leonie Joubert looks at food a little differently to most of us. In a number of publications over the last five years, Joubert has argued that our understanding of concepts like hunger, food security and nutrition is often a bit, well, nutty. From smug metropolitans who think obesity is a sign that people […]

New report: Science and the Future of Cities

Edgar Pieterse, Susan Parnell

ACC’s Director Edgar Pieterse was one of 29 experts in contemporary urban scholarship who contributed to the report on Science and the Future Cities endorsed by Nature Sustainability. Panellists were tasked to survey the challenge of science-policy interactions, and the issue of developing a ‘global urban science’ that has reach across academia and enables more effective interfaces […]