My research and knowledge co-production practice 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 and tensions between collaboration and contestation, disruption and continuity, empathy and critique when it comes to making urban change happen. I am engaged in experimenting with ‘embedded research’ through organisational partnerships as a means of intermediating between those primarily involved in science, policy-making and practice, with the aim of building more sustainable, inclusive, climate resilient cities. 

Anna is a geographer and environmental scientist specializing in urban climate adaptation, with a particular interest in transformative ways of governing water-related risks and vulnerabilities in cities. She engages in transdisciplinary research on climate resilient, sustainable urbanism, public decision making and multi-level governance. She is a research fellow with the University of Cape Town’s African Climate and Development Institute, and affiliated with the ACC.  

Anna has 16 years’ experience working on research and consulting projects related to climate risks and adaptation. She is currently leading projects on governing groundwater flows at the city regional scale (funded by the Water Research Commission) and co-developing a climate resilient development pathways approach with South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission

Anna’s PhD and post-doctoral work focused on climate adaptation in southern African urban contexts (notably in Cape Town, Windhoek, Durban, Harare and Lusaka), contributing to the Mistra Urban FuturesCLIMWAYSFRACTALLIRA 2030 and GreenGov projects. Recent consulting projects have included developing a Climate Risk and Vulnerability Framework for the South African national government (Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries), and learning from case studies of using scientific climate information in decision-making of South African metropolitan municipalities (commissioned by the Cities Support Programme in the National Treasury).  

Anna completed her 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 from the position of an embedded researcher within the city government. Subsequently she coordinated the work of seven embedded researchers across six southern African cities within the FRACTAL project. 

Since joining UCT in 2011, Anna works with the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) and the African Centre for Cities (ACC). Between 2006 and 2010, Anna worked for the Stockholm Environment Institute, based in Oxford, UK. She continued working with SEI part-time until 2019.  

Anna has developed Masters course modules on understanding and addressing climate change in cities, and supervises postgraduate students working on questions of urban climate adaptation, adaptive capacity, climate governance and the use of climate information in decision-making.  

Expertise: climate adaptation, urban governance, African cities, risk & vulnerability assessment, adaptive management, transdisciplinarity, embedded research, case study research, organizational ethnography 

Journal articles

  • Taylor, A. and Scott, D., under revision. Governance (re)configurations along Windhoek’s water adaptation pathway: A hydrosocial reading of the Managed Aquifer Recharge Scheme. Water.
  • Kareem, B., McClure, A., Walubwa, J., Koranteng, K., Mukwaya, P.I., Taylor, A., 2022. Power dynamics in transdisciplinary research for sustainable urban transitions. Environmental Science & Policy 131, 135–142.
  • Pasquini, L., McClure, A., Taylor, A. (submitted) The makings of transformative adaptation in southern African cities: using criteria to explore cases in Harare and Durban. Cities.
  • Golding, N., Hewitt, C.D., Taylor, A., Parfitt, R., Strachan, J. and Vilarkin, L. (submitted) Principles of Engagement: Refining approaches to effective engagement for climate services. Climate Services.
  • Taylor, A., Pretorius, L., McClure, A., Iipinge, K.N., Mwalukanga, B., Mamombe, R., 2021. Embedded researchers as transdisciplinary boundary spanners strengthening urban climate resilience. Environmental Science & Policy 126, 204–212.
  • Taylor, A., Jack, C., McClure, A., Bharwani, S., Ilunga, R., Kavonic, J., 2021. Understanding and supporting climate-sensitive decision processes in southern African cities. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 51, 77–84.
  • 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

  • Ziervogel, G. and Taylor, A., 2022. Adapting to drought in South African cities. Contribution to Expert Perspectives on Supporting a Just and Climate-Resilient Transition in South Africa. Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) Publication, p.64. URL:
  • Scott, D. and Taylor, A., in press. Receptivity to the frameworks of others: Building urban climate resilience in southern African cities, in: Ahrens, J., Halbmayer, E., (Eds.), Epistemologies of Global Warming in the South. Routledge.
  • Taylor, A., Siame, G., Mwalukanga, B., 2021. Integrating Climate Risks into Strategic Urban Planning in Lusaka, Zambia, in: Conway, D., Vincent, K. (Eds.), Climate Risk in Africa: Adaptation and Resilience. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 115–129.
  • 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

  • Waagsaether, K. L., Taylor, A. and Ziervogel, G., 2020. National Climate Risk and Vulnerability (CRV) Assessment Framework, Prepared for Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Pretoria: South Africa. URL:
  • Taylor, A., 2019. ‘Water Banking’ for times of drought: Moving from idea to implementation in Windhoek, Namibia. FRACTAL Urban Caucus Governance Brief, September 2019, URL:
  • 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.