My research and knowledge co-production practices focus on processes of climate change adaptation in cities, with a strong interest in water. My work explores questions of public decision making, multi-level governance, organizational learning and institutional change in relation to changing cities within a changing climate. I am fascinated by the intersections of collaboration and contestation, disruption and continuity, empathy and critique. I am currently exploring the value of new institutionalism and the multiple streams framework in understanding how urban change happens. I am also very engaged in collaboratively experimenting with embedded research, specifically embedding researchers in municipal governments, as a means of intermediating between those involved in science, policy-making and practice, with the aim of building more sustainable, inclusive, climate resilient cities.


I am currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Environmental and Geographical Science Department at the University of Cape Town, linked with the African Centre for Cities (ACC) and the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG). My research addresses questions of climate adaptation in cities, particularly developing an understanding of urban climate adaptation as a process of decision making. I am also affiliated with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Oxford, UK, where I was employed from 2006 to 2010 working on approaches to multi-stressor vulnerability assessment, risk communication and adaptation planning. I have 13 years of experience working on climate adaptation research projects internationally. I completed my PhD entitled Urban climate adaptation as a process of organisational decision making in 2017 investigating three cases of urban climate adaptation in the City of Cape Town.


My PhD entailed working as an embedded researcher in the Cape Town city government between 2012 and 2015 as part of the Swedish-funded Mistra Urban Futures (M-UF) programme. I am primarily working on the Future Resilience of African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL) project, within the UK-funded Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) programme. FRACTAL is advancing scientific knowledge about regional climate variability and change in southern Africa and working with decision makers to integrate this scientific knowledge into climate-sensitive decisions at the city-regional scale (particularly decisions with a lifespan of 5 to 40 years relating to water and energy systems and services). I collaborated on developing a Masters curriculum on Climate Change and Sustainable Development for the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), specifically working on a cities and climate change module. I guest lecture on urban climate adaptation and climate governance.


Journal articles

  • Taylor, A. (2016) Institutional Inertia in a Changing Climate: Climate Adaptation Planning in Cape Town, South Africa. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 8 (2), 194 – 211.
  • Ziervogel, G., Waddell, J., Smit, W., and Taylor, A. (2016) Flooding in Cape Town’s informal settlements: barriers to collaborative urban risk governance. South African Geographical Journal, 98 (1), 1-20.
  • Colenbrander, D., Cartwright, A. and Taylor, A. (2015) Drawing a Line in the Sand: managing coastal risks in the City of Cape Town. South African Geographical Journal, 97 (1), 1-17.
  • Ziervogel, G., New, M., Archer van Garderen, E., Midgley, G., Taylor, A., Hamann, R., Stuart-Hill, S., Myers, J. and Warburton, M. (2014) Climate change impacts and adaptation in South Africa, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(5), pp. 605–620.
  • Quinn, C. H., Ziervogel, G., Taylor, A., Takama, T. and Thomalla, F. (2011) Coping with Multiple Stresses in Rural South Africa. Ecology and Society 16 (3): 2.
  • Ziervogel, G. and Taylor, A. (2008) Feeling Stressed: Integrating Climate Adaptation with Other Priorities in South Africa. Environment, March/April 2008, Vol.50, no.2, pages 32-41.
  • Morrissey, J. and Taylor, A. (2006) Fire risk in informal settlements: A South African case study. Open House International, 31(1), Special Issue on Managing Urban Disasters.


Book chapters

  • Scott, D., Davies, H., Taylor, A. and New, M. (2019) Introduction: co-producing knowledge on climate change and urban development. In:
  • Scott, D., Davies, H. and New, M (Eds.) Mainstreaming Climate Change in Urban Development: Lessons from Cape Town. Cape Town: UCT Press, 1-10.
  • Ziervogel, G., Pasquini, L., Taylor, A. and New, M. (2019) Climate change challenges in African cities: Four perspectives on progress and opportunities. In: Scott, D., Davies, H. and New, M (Eds.) Mainstreaming Climate Change in Urban Development: Lessons from Cape Town. Cape Town: UCT Press, 11-39.
  • Taylor, A. and Davies, H. (2019) An overview of climate change and urban development in Cape Town. In: Scott, D., Davies, H. and New, M (Eds.) Mainstreaming Climate Change in Urban Development: Lessons from Cape Town. Cape Town: UCT Press, 40-61.
  • Taylor, A. (2019) Managing stormwater and flood risk in a changing climate: charting urban adaptation pathways. In: Scott, D., Davies, H. and New, M (Eds.) Mainstreaming Climate Change in Urban Development: Lessons from Cape Town. Cape Town: UCT Press, 224-241.
  • Scott, D., Taylor, A., Davies, H. and New, M. (2019) Reflections on the mainstreaming of climate change into urban development decision-making in the City of Cape Town. In: Scott, D., Davies, H. and New, M (Eds.) Mainstreaming Climate Change in Urban Development: Lessons from Cape Town. Cape Town: UCT Press, 302-321.
  • Taylor, A., Oelofse, G., Roux S. & Davies, H. (2016) Urban adaptation. In: Climate Law and Governance for Low Carbon Development in South Africa, L.J. Kotze, T. Humby, A. Gilder and O. Rumble (eds). Juta and Company.
  • Tadross, M., Taylor, A. and Johnston P. (2012) Understanding Cape Town’s climate. In: Cartwright, A., Parnell, S., Oelofse, G. and Ward, S. (eds), Climate change at the City Scale: Impacts, mitigation and adaptation in Cape Town, Routledge, 9-20.
  • Bharwani, S. and Taylor, A. (2010) Understanding the dynamic nature of vulnerability to support climate adaptation and development: the case of the Lesotho Highlands. In: Climate Change Adaptation and Development Cooperation, Editors Fujikura and Kawanishi, Earthscan, London.
  • Ziervogel, G. and Taylor, A. (2010) Integrating climate change information into development and disaster management planning: Lessons from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, In: Climate Change Adaptation and Development Cooperation, Editors Fujikura and Kawanishi, Earthscan, London.


Other media

  • Taylor, A., Anna Taylor, McClure, A., van Rooyen, L., Mubaya, C., Mamombe, R., Kushata, N. and Pasquini, L. (2019) LIRA Working Paper: Pathways to transformative climate adaptation in southern African cities.
  • Van Rooyen, L., Taylor, A., Iipinge, K.N., Mwalukanga, B., Mucavele, H., Mamombe, R., Zenda, S. and McClure, A. (2019) FRACTAL Working Paper: An Embedded Researcher approach to integrate climate information into decision making in southern African cities: lessons from FRACTAL.
  • Scott, D. and Taylor, A. (2019) FRACTAL Working Paper: Receptivity and judgement: expanding ways of knowing the climate to strengthen the resilience of cities. URL:
  • Taylor, A. (2019) Climate Information for Building Resilient South African Cities. African Centre for Cities Report for National Treasury’s Cities Support Programme.
  • Taylor, R., Butterfield, R., Bharwani, S., Devisscher, T. and Taylor, A. (2017) FRACTAL Working Paper: Research methods for understanding and supporting decision processes in African Cities. URL:
  • Taylor, A., Scott, D., Steynor, A. and McClure, A. (2017) FRACTAL Working Paper: Transdisciplinarity, co-production, and co-exploration: integrating knowledge across science policy and practice in FRACTAL. URL:
  • Taylor, A. (2017) Urban climate adaptation as a process of organisational decision making. PhD Dissertation. Department of Environmental and Geographical Science. University of Cape Town. URL:
  • Taylor, A. and Peter, C., 2014: Strengthening climate resilience in African cities: A framework for working with informality. Climate and Development Knowledge Network and African Centre for Cities Report.
  • Taylor, A., Cartwright, A. and Sutherland, S., 2014: Institutional Pathways for Local Climate Adaptation: A Comparison of Three South African Municipalities, Agence Françoise De Developpmente, Focales Series No.18.
  • Taylor, A., Harris, K, Ehrhart, C., 2010: Adaptation key terms. Tiempo, Issue 77, October 2010, pages 10-13.
  • Ziervogel, G., Taylor, A., Hachigonta, S., and Hoffmaister, J., 2008: Climate adaptation in southern Africa: Addressing the needs of vulnerable communities. Oxfam GB Report.
  • Taylor, A., Thorne, S. and Mqadi, L., 2008: Technologies for adaptation. Tiempo, Issue 67 April 2008, pages 8-13.
  • Downing, T.E, with S. Bharwani, R. Boyd, M. Hamza, C. Hepburn, M. Konar, D. Stainforth,T. Takama, T. Tanner, A. Taylor, R. Washington, and P. Watkiss, 2006. Linking Climate Risk and Adaptation. Report to the Department for International Development. Oxford: Stockholm Environment Institute.
  • Ziervogel, G., Taylor, A., Thomalla, F., Takama, T. and Quinn, C., 2006. Adapting to climate, water and health stresses: Insights from Sekhukhune, South Africa. SEI Poverty and Vulnerability Programme Report, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden, 71pp.