Publishing


Step, Step, Breathe

Sophie Oldfield

Step, Step, Breathe by Sophie Oldfield is a film contribution to Volume 2 Spring 2020 of AGITATE!, an online, open access journal which provides a platform for knowledges that seek to unsettle the dominant politics and practices of experts. AGITATE! explores the possibilities and challenges of interweaving scholarship, creative writing, art, journalism, and activism. Step, Step, Breathe tells […]

Critical Methods for the Study of World Politics

Anna Selmeczi

Critical Methods for the Study of World Politics, edited by Shine Choi, Anna Selmeczi and Erzebet Strausz, develops an approach to both method and the socio-political implications of knowledge production that embraces our embeddedness in the world that we study. It seeks to enact the transformative potentials inherent in this relationship in how it engages […]

Cities as a Strategic Resource: Guideline for Ghana’s National Urban Policy Revision

Anton Cartwright

How can Ghana’s cities promote social inclusion, climate resilience and fiscal capacity all at once? Cities as a Strategic Resource: Guideline for Ghana’s National Urban Policy Revision, based on the work of the Ghana Urbanisation Think Tank, provides a guideline to the National Urban Policy revision being undertaken by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in […]

Unpacking the Cape Town Drought: Lessons Learned

Gina Ziervogel

The severe drought experienced by Cape Town between 2015 and 2018 and the imminent threat of “Day Zero” should serve as a warning for other cities as to what climate impacts might look like in future. This paper, Gina Ziervogel, unpacks the governance of the drought in Cape Town, in order to understand what conditions […]

Green Infrastructure in South African Cities

Urban green infrastructure plays a vital role in providing ecosystem services to cities. These services benefit urban residents directly but are also key to cities’ adaptation and mitigation strategies, given the increase of climate change-related risks within cities. It is therefore critical for local governments to consider green infrastructure solutions, especially ones that can cater […]

Climate information for building resilient South African cities

Anna Taylor

For cities to develop in ways that are sustainable, climate resilient and equitable, considerations of climate variability and change must factor into planning, investment and management decisions. To do so requires robust, actionable climate information. In addition to having such information, capacities and mechanisms are needed to factor it into complex technical and political urban […]

Building Houses Bit-by-Bit: The stories of Hazeldean-Ekupumleni

Sophie Oldfield

The City Research Studio (CRS) is a year-long course presented as part of the newly launched MPhil in Southern Urbanism as well as part of the Masters in Critical Urbanisms (University of Basel) semester at UCT. The CRS is a three-part experimental space for students, and faculty, to engage in the city, to learn to walk, see, smell, touch, embrace, explore […]

Mainstreaming Climate Change in Urban Development

Anna Taylor, Anton Cartwright, Di Scott, Gina Ziervogel, Liza Rose Cirolia

Cape Town’s drought crisis grabbed global headlines in 2018 and its causes and solutions were – and continue to be — hotly debated. But managing water shortages and other climate change impacts have been integrated into the city’s urban policy-making for some time, in response to rapid urbanisation and uncertainty about the exact nature, timing […]

A Systematised Review of the Health Impact of Urban Informal Settlements and Implications for Upgrading Interventions in South Africa, a Rapidly Urbanising Middle-Income Country

Amy Weimann

Amy Weimann co-authored A Systematised Review of the Health Impact of Urban Informal Settlements and Implications for Upgrading Interventions in South Africa, a Rapidly Urbanising Middle-Income Country with Tolu Oni in the special issue Housing and Health, of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  (more…)

LAUNCH: The Integration Syndicate: Shifting Cape Town’s Socio-Spatial Debate

Edgar Pieterse

“It is a public secret that we have no practical idea how to undo and remake the legacy of the spatial inequality apartheid has bequeathed us,” says Professor Edgar Pieterse, director of the African Centre for Cities and NRF South African Research Chair in Urban Policy. “Our visions, and much more our concrete plans, are constrained by private […]

NEW ARTICLE: Effecting cultural change from below? A comparison of Cape Town and Bandung’s pathways to urban cultural governance

Laura Nkula-Wenz and Zayd Minty examine how different cultural policy approaches have been locally mobilized and reworked in Bandung and Cape Town in response to situated realities and in partnerships between cultural, academic, business and local government actors, in this article for Cultural Trends. ABSTRACT This article compares the cultural governance pathways of two UNESCO […]

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 […]

NEW PAPER: The Potential for Sustainable Urbanisation in Africa

Edgar Pieterse

“…from a political, economic, military, and cultural point of view, […] Africa has to become its own center. It has to become its own force. Not as a way of separating itself from the rest of the world, but as a precondition for it to exercise its weight among other forces in the world.” It […]

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…)

The Walk

Mercy Brown-Luthango

What can a banana tell us about socio-spatial transformation along the Voortrekker Road Corridor Integration Zone, in Cape Town? An anecdote in The Walk tells us that a single banana sold along the route can double in price depending on where you buy it. (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 […]

Unpacking the Cape Town drought: Lessons learned

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 report was commissioned by the Cities Support Programme, within National Treasury in the South Africa National Government, to ensure that lessons learned from Cape Town drought experience would serve to inform other municipalities when […]

Urban infrastructure and development

Liza Rose Cirolia

ACC’s researcher Liza Cirolia co-authored Urban infrastructure and development with Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science as part of LSE Cities Working Paper series on Urban Governance and Institutional Frameworks. (more…)

Urban governance and spatial transformation ambitions in Johannesburg

Edgar Pieterse

In this paper entitled Urban Governance and Spatial Transformation Ambitions in Johannesburg, for the Journal of Urban Affairs, Vol 41 – 2019, Issue 1: New Urban Governance, Edgar Pieterse explores the history of democratic decentralization reforms in South Africa and Johannesburg with an eye on analyzing the significance of the Corridors of Freedom flagship initiative […]

Urban Immersions

Sophie Oldfield, Laura Nkula-Wenz

Laura Nkula-Wenz’s and Sophie Oldfield reflect on the cutting-edge urban studies teaching in the innovative collaboration between the University of Basel’s Masters in Critical Urbanisms and the African Centre for Cities’s University of Cape Town-based Masters in Southern Urbanism, in ‘Urban Immersions’ published in the European Association of International Education’s winter issue of Forum, focused […]

Reforming Urban Laws in Africa – now in French

Stephen Berrisford

Reforming Urban Laws in Africa: a practical guide by ACC Adjunct Professor Stephen Berrisford and the late Patrick McAuslan, which was awarded the Dubai International Award for Best Practices (DIABP) in the category University Research Award on Legislation, Rules, Regulations & Governance Systems earlier this year, is now available in French. The Guide is intended to […]

Global Nutrition Report 2018

Jane Battersby

The Global Nutrition Report 2018 was recently released. This report was produced by the Independent Expert Group, of which African Centre for Cities senior researcher Dr Jane Battersby is a member, supported by the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group and the Secretariat at Development Initiatives. Malnutrition is a universal issue holding back development with unacceptable […]

New Handbook: Shaping Urbanization for Children: A Handbook on Child-responsive Urban Planning

Warren Smit

African Centre for Cities researcher Dr Warren Smit, was a member of the reference group for the newly launched UNICEF handbook entitled: Shaping Urbanization for Children: A Handbook on Child-responsive Urban Planning. The handbook calls all urban stakeholders to invest in child-responsive urban planning, recognising that cities are not only drivers of prosperity, but also […]

Daily Practices of Informality Amidst Urban Poverty

Edgar Pieterse, Suraya Scheba

Daily Practices of Informality Amidst Urban Poverty by Philip Harrison, Edgar Pieterse, Suraya Scheba and Margot Rubin brings together the work of two case studies: research on the Hillbrow basements, in Johannesburg Inner City, undertaken by researchers associated with the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning (SA&CP) at the University of the […]

Edgar Pieterse on ‘Tomatoes & Taxi Ranks’

Edgar Pieterse

African societies and economies are caught up in the intersection of at least five megatrends: population growth, urbanisation, climate change, migration, and the knot of food, water and energy insecurity. (more…)

Photo credit: Visty Banaji

Working Paper: Developing Prosperous and Inclusive Cities in Africa – National Urban Policies to the Rescue?

Anton Cartwright, Edgar Pieterse, Ian Palmer, Anna Taylor, Susan Parnell

This working paper was prepared by the African Centre for Cities. It was developed in partnership with the Coalition for Urban Transitions, which is a major global initiative to support national governments to accelerate economic development and tackle dangerous climate change by transforming towns and cities.  (more…)

Land-based financing in sub-Saharan African cities

Liza Rose Cirolia, Stephen Berrisford, Ian Palmer

ABSTRACT Decentralization reforms and rapid urbanization place increasing pressure on African urban authorities. In response, land-based finance has been gaining popularity within development discourses as a method of increasing local autonomy and financing local government infrastructure provision. This paper discusses the conceptual basis for land-based finance, the instruments that form part of this approach, and […]

The challenges of transdisciplinary knowledge production: from unilocal to comparative research

Warren Smit

The challenges of transdisciplinary knowledge production: from unilocal to comparative research by David Simon, Henrietta Palmer, Jan Riise, Warren Smit, Sandra Valencia, reflects on the work done through the Mistra Urban Futures (MUF) research centre and its local interaction platforms in Sweden, the UK, South Africa and Kenya. The paper surveys the lessons learnt and […]

Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda

Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda by Korydon H. Smith and Tomà Berlanda explores the pressing challenges and opportunities to be found in planning, designing, and constructing a healthy, equitable and sustainable city. Asking “what is an authentic-yet-modern, prosperous-yet-feasible African city, Rwandan city?” Smith, Berlanda and colleagues conducted research on Rwandan activities of daily living and how these routines […]

Worlding Cape Town by design: Encounters with creative cityness

Laura Nkula-Wenz

ABSTRACT Considering the ongoing global proliferation of the urban ‘creativity fix’ and its inclination to further push local governments towards entrepreneurial governance logics and market-led development imperatives, there is a sustained need to understand how the creative city paradigm is being grounded, renegotiated and put into practice in so-called ‘Southern’ cities. To analyse Cape Town’s […]

Urban Food Systems Governance and Poverty in African Cities

As Africa urbanises and the focus of poverty shifts to urban centres, there is an imperative to address poverty in African cities. This is particularly the case in smaller cities, which are often the most rapidly urbanising, but the least able to cope with this growth. This book, a research output from the Consuming Urban […]

Democratising Local Government cover

Democratising Local Government: The South African Experiment

Susan Parnell, Edgar Pieterse

First published in 2002 Democratising Local Government: The South African Experiment edited by Susan Parnell, Edgar Pieterse, Mark Swilling and Dominique Wooldridge is now available through open access. Local government is at the forefront of development. In South Africa the ambitious policy objectives of post-apartheid reconstruction and development hinge on the successful creation of a democratic […]

The Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South

The Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South offers an edited collection on planning in parts of the world which, more often than not, are unrecognised or unmarked in mainstream planning texts. In doing so, its intention is not to fill a ‘gap’ that leaves this ‘mainstream’ unquestioned but to re-theorise planning from a deep […]

Companion to Planning in the Global South

There has been a growing recognition that planning ideas emerging from the industrialised economies of the ‘Global North’ are not necessarily appropriate in regions of the world with very different social, political and economic contexts. The Companion to Planning in the Global South offers a collection of essays on planning in parts of the world which, […]

Urban Planning in the Global South

Palgrave Macmillan have recently published a new title by Richard de Satgé and ACC’s  Vanessa Watson Urban Planning in the Global South – Conflicting rationalities in contested urban space.  (more…)