About Mistra Urban Futures Cape Town


Cities are critical to the pursuit of sustainable development and the resilience of global environmental systems. More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, which have great potential to develop and implement innovative solutions to challenges posed to the natural, social, cultural and economic environments by growing urban densities. These new complex problems pose particular challenges for both local government and academia, amongst others.


Mistra Urban Futures (M-UF) is an international centre for sustainable urban development. It focusses on producing knowledge that supports sustainable urban transitions, through collaboration between various actors and partners with interests in creating liveable cities that are equitable, and utilising land available for development while at the same time doing so in ways that are consistent with the ‘green’ agenda. Creating and enabling alternative sustainable development pathways demands the engagement of experts from various academic disciplines, as well as the institutional and tactical knowledge that local government practitioners hold, in addition to civil society, the business community and other spheres of government.


M-UF international partnerships


Sustainable urban development cannot be achieved without making use of the broad experiences and competence which exists within the various groups who live and work in urban areas. Recognising that local expertise is required to address city challenges, four cities, known as Local Interaction Platforms (LIPs), were strategically chosen as partners in the M-UF programme, including Cape Town (South Africa), Gothenburg (Sweden), Greater Manchester (United Kingdom) and Kisumu (Kenya). Each of these cities are conducting research and creating new knowledges through collaborative partnerships – or co-production – between local government and universities using different pilot projects. Each of the partner cities frame their research around the three M-UF focus areas: 1) fair cities, which promotes equitable and socially inclusive cities; 2) green cities, where resource constraints and climate change are managed; and 3) dense cities, where urban qualities, access, and livability are promoted.


This work is supported by the Mistra Foundation for Strategic Development, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and seven consortium members, with co-financing provided by the local partners.


M-UF in Cape Town


The Cape Town LIP (CTLIP) facilitates four projects at the ACC, in close partnership with the City of Cape Town:


1. The Knowledge Transfer Programme, coordinated by Zarina Patel;

2. Contributing to broader urban debates in South Africa, coordinated by Gordon Pirie;

3. The Africa Peer Learning, Knowledge and Dissemination Programme, coordinated by Ntombini Marrengane; and

4. The CityLab Programme, coordinated by Warren Smit