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Third AURI Workshop: Comparing tables and elephants

Liza Rose Cirolia, Rike Sitas

The AURI workshop series concluded on 25 March with an interactive session about comparative and collaborative research. Moderated by Liza Cirolia and Rike Sitas, this workshop built on the two previous workshops on co-production and communication and focused on the value comparative studies offers to Urban Theory and practice across African cities.  (more…)

An informal vendor selling fresh produce in Masiphumelele.

From lifestyle disease to food systems disease

Obesity among children in South Africa has increased from approximately 1 in 20 children in 2005, to  1 in 8 children in 2015. If we continue on this trajectory, it is estimated that at least 3 in 5 children will be obese by 2030. These were some of the shocking figures shared by Prof Rina […]

Unpacking co-production in second AURI workshop

Gareth Haysom, Rike Sitas

The second workshop, co-hosted by African Urban Research Initiative (AURI) and Mistra Urban Futures programme, focused on knowledge co-production, and led to frank conversations about the personal, professional, and power-laden dynamics related to research. (more…)

New report on cities’ central role in meeting the challenges of our time

Andrew Tucker, Anton Cartwright

There is a new bullishness to the global narrative around cities and climate change. Buoyed by the explicit recognition given to cities in the Sustainable Development Goals and recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, urbanists have had a busy few years generating material for international think tanks, governments, corporations and donors illustrating how cities […]

ACC partners with RISE Africa to host new urban action festival

The RISE Africa platform, together with its partners, will host its first annual event that brings together Africa’s urban thinkers, doers and enablers, including ICLEI Africa’s member cities, subnational and local governments, from 24 to 28 May 2021. The event is planned around celebrating Africa Day, 25 May, and this year’s theme is NEXT URBAN […]

Assessing the needs for tailor-made training

Rike Sitas

In December the African Centre for Cities along with five other knowledge partners launched the African Cities Lab, with the aim to collaborate in developing MOOCs for urban planners to meet the specific challenges of urbanisation on the continent.  African Cities Lab (ACL) is a joint initiative led by EPFL, the Kwame Nkrumah University of […]

New book explores issues of land and urban governance in Africa

Liza Rose Cirolia

As part of the eight partners’ meeting of the Global Land Tool Network held from 1 to 4 December, Springer launched a new book Land Issues and Urban Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa edited by Robert Home. Sub-Saharan Africa faces many development challenges, such as its size and diversity, rapid urban population growth, history of colonial […]

Teasing out the complexities of densification policy and processes

Providing an in-depth exploration of the complexities of densification policy and processes, Densifying the City? brings the important experiences of densification in Johannesburg into conversation with a range of cities in Africa, the BRICS countries and the Global North. Edited by Margot Rubin, Alison Todes, Philip Harrison and Alexandra Appelbaum, School of Architecture and Planning, […]

New book by African Urban Research Initiative

A new publication by the African Urban Research Initiative has been published by Routledge Studies in Cities and Development series. Reframing the Urban Challenge in Africa: Knowledge Co-production from the South edited by Ntombini Marrengane and Sylvia Croese, explores the changing dynamics and challenges behind the rapid expanse of Africa’s urban population. Drawing on the […]

Masiphumelele for The Nourishing Child Project/African Centre for Cities UCT

New project investigates the double burden of malnutrition in South Africa

Gareth Haysom, Jane Battersby

Building on ACC’s continued work on urban food systems through projects such as The Hungry Cities Partnership, Consuming Urban Poverty, and Nourishing Spaces, The Nourished Child project explores the double burden of malnutrition in urban settings in the Western Cape, South Africa. The new project, funded by the UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Collective […]

Imagining Impacts – The Goethe-Institut in Africa

Vaughn Sadie

While the value of cultural relations, and arts, culture and heritage practices are widely agreed upon, research into what this means in sub-Saharan Africa is limited. In a context where important questions about decolonisation and colonial legacies are being discussed, it seems timeous to collaborate on such a study to unpack these issues. (more…)

A view from the inside

Former municipal officials dissect issues of corruption and integrity in South African urban development processes in roundtable discussion hosted by the Cities of Integrity project. In this article Christian Alexander summarises the key takeouts from the discussion.  It was not the latest Eskom revelation or COVID-19 relief scandal discussed at a virtual roundtable panel discussion […]

Food Heroes: Fighting against hunger and malnutrition

Jane Battersby

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated another devastating crisis: hunger. Heroic efforts are required from a range of actors to combat this scourge, writes Jane Battersby.  The theme of World Food Day 2020, on 16 October is Food Heroes. It is clear that this year needs food heroes more than ever before. The Covid-19 crisis has […]

REFRAME: Aligning Africa’s Urban Agenda

Edgar Pieterse

Covid-19 manifests most intensely in cities. As the pandemic unfolds, pre-existing urban problems – especially in cities of the global South – are rendered in stark relief  e.g. the chronic lack of access to basic services such as water and sanitation, the inadequacy of primary healthcare infrastructure, and most worryingly, the precarity of livelihoods of […]

Distinguished award for Prof Sophie Oldfield

Sophie Oldfield

The Society of South African Geographers recently announced the successful nominees for the Society’s most senior honorary awards: fellowships of the society and the gold medal. African Centre for Cities is proud to share that Prof Sophie Oldfield has been awarded a Fellowship of the Society. Fellowships of the society are honorary awards made by […]

LAUNCH: 2020 Global Nutrition Report

Jane Battersby

The Global Nutrition Report, released on 12 May 2020, calls on governments, businesses and civil society to step up efforts to address malnutrition in all its forms and tackle injustices in food and health systems. (more…)

Urban Service Delivery Innovation

Anton Cartwright

  Towards the end of 2018, the ACC programme in Tanzania, TULab, as part of the Coalition for Urban Transitions, ran a competition to elicit urban service delivery innovations. TULab Outreach Coordinator, Reshian Kanyatile, managed the competition on-the-ground. What began as a ‘fun idea’ to raise the profile of urban innovation, especially in Dar es […]

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, […]