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 […]

Routledge Companion to Public Space out now

Rike Sitas

The Routledge Companion to Public Space, published at the end of May, draws together an outstanding multidisciplinary collection of specially commissioned chapters that offer the state of the art in the intellectual discourse, scholarship, research, and principles of understanding in the construction of public space. ACC’s Rike Sitas contributed a chapter entitled Public space, publicness […]

New book on urban reform and innovation

James Duminy, Susan Parnell

African Centre for Cities has just published a new book Supporting City Futures: The Cities Support Programme and the Urban Challenge in South Africa by James Duminy and Susan Parnell.  In 2018 the Cities Support Programme (CSP), an initiative of the South African National Treasury, approached ACC to assist with the production of a book […]

Comparative Urban Research from Theory to Practice – Co-Production for Sustainability

Warren Smit, Rike Sitas, Sylvia Croese

Comparative Urban Research from Theory to Practice – Co-Production for Sustainability edited by David Simon, Henrietta Palmer, and  Jan Riise reflects on the research and experience of the Mistra Urban Futures (MUF) programme, which concluded at the end of 2019.  Reporting on the innovative, transdisciplinary research on sustainable urbanisation being undertaken by Mistra Urban Futures, the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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…)

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 […]

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…)

New book: Urban Planet

Susan Parnell

Urban Planet, a new open-access edited volume on sustainable urban development, is launched. The book is a collaborative project within Future Earth and emphasises the need for a new knowledge generation agenda, given the urgency of understanding the sustainability challenges and options for a rapidly urbanising planet. The urban future is a critical determinant of […]

New Urban Worlds

New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times

Polity Books has just published New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times by AbdouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse, which explores the emerging epicentres of global urbanisation. (more…)

Book Review: The Art of Public Space

Kim Gurney

Kim Gurney takes readers through Johannesburg via three arts projects. It is a journey that gives a unique insight into the potential of public art to fashion new public imaginaries of common space says LSE’s Kate Dawson. Read the full book review  by Kate Dawson here.    

Mean Streets: Migration, Xenophobia and Informality in SA

Caroline Skinner

Mean Streets, edited by ACC partners Jonathan Crush, Abel Chikanda and Caroline Skinner, demonstrates powerfully that some of the most resourceful entrepreneurs in the South African informal economy are migrants and refugees. Yet far from being lauded, they take their life into their hands when they trade on South Africa’s “mean streets.” Thirteen chapters draw […]

Cityscapes #7: Futurity

Tau Tavengwa, Edgar Pieterse, Sean O' Toole

The seventh and latest edition of Cityscapes is framed around the rubric of “futurity”. What will tomorrow be like? It will be more urbanised. It will also, agree various contributors, bear the imprimatur of China. “Whatever the case, China has, for now, become a far more prominent actor than others in the future-making of Africa,” […]

The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City

Kim Gurney

A journey through Johannesburg via three art projects raises intriguing notions about the constitutive relationship between the city, imagination and the public sphere–through walking, gaming and performance art. Amid prevailing economic validations, the trilogy posits art within an urban commons instead. Imagination counts, says the author, even when it cannot be counted.

Cityscapes #6: Cape Town: A City Desired

Tau Tavengwa

One city, eleven people, ten ideas. This, in a nutshell, is what this issue is about. In a departure from past issues of this magazine, we pause to look at one city in detail. The city: Cape Town, home to nearly 4 million inhabitants

Cityscapes #5: Design will not save the city

Tau Tavengwa

Where past issues of Cityscapes have looked east, particularly to the Indian subcontinent, issue five shifts the focus decisively west. Inaugurating our collaboration with USP Cidades, a research centre at the University of São Paulo, architectural critic Fernando Serapião recapitulates the history of social housing design in Brazil. “Heirs of an architectural school with deep […]

A Comparison of Three SA Municipalities

Anna Taylor, Anton Cartwright

Cape Town and Durban are both large metropolitan municipalities where climate change adaptation is being championed from within the environment departments. However, embedding these plans into municipal budgets and operations to progress implementation is proving difficult.

The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South

The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South, Edited by Susan Parnell and Sophie Oldfield engages the twenty-first-century city through a ‘southern urban’ lens to stimulate scholarly, professional and activist engagements with the city.

Africa’s Urban Revolution edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse

Drawing on the expertise of scholars and practitioners associated with the African Centre for Cities, and utilising a diverse array of case studies, Africa’s Urban Revolution provides a comprehensive insight into the key issues – demographic, cultural, political, technical, environmental and economic – surrounding African urbanisation.

Cityscapes #4: After informality

Tau Tavengwa

In the fourth issue: a grouped series of reports, essays and interviews tracing a zigzag path connecting Tel Aviv to Naples to Berlin to Guangzhou, all cities where African migrants are a feature of the urban matrix.

Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities

Rogue Urbanism is the outcome of a research exploration by the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town. It arises from the need to push forward a debate on how we can think and theorise the specificity of African cities. Its unique ambition is to produce new and relevant theoretical work […]

Working in Warwick

Caroline Skinner

Working in Warwick offers a fresh look at street traders’ lives, the role they play in city life and their contribution to its economy; and shows that it is possible to include street trading in urban plans in a way that adds to the vibrancy and attraction of cities.

Cities and Development

Cities and Development brings into conversation debates from urban and development studies. It grapples with both the challenges and opportunities associated with rapid urban change and provides a critical assessment of current policy and planning responses to the contemporary urban challenge.

City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development

Edgar Pieterse

This book is a powerful indictment of the current consensus on how to cope with the hundreds of “mega-cities” of the developing world. These cities are the future, and the problems surrounding this influx of people–slums, poverty, unemployment and lack of governance–have been well-documented.

City Life from Jakarta

AbdouMaliq Simone

City Life from Jakarta to Dakar examines the potentials of urban life through reflections on cities in Africa and Southeast Asia. It shows how much of what is considered peripheral to urban life is actually critical to it and thereby opens up new ways for understanding what it is possible to do in cities from […]

African Perspectives [South Africa]: City, Society, Space, Literature & Architecture

This volume of the Delft School of Design Series focuses on particular urban questions related to the South African urban context. The book seeks to construct a contemporary critical dialogue of current spatial practises and contemporary design instruments in relation to social, political and governance structures through an architectural and urban lens.

Quick Guide 05 – Housing Finance


The two extreme outcomes of current shelter systems that are being witnessed today are affordable shelter that is inadequate, and adequate shelter that is unaffordable.

Quick Guide 04: Eviction: Alternatives to the distruction of poor communities

Despite decades of work by housing and human rights organizations, NGOs, multilateral insti- tutions and community organizations, the eviction of poor households and poor communities is increasing in African cities, causing displacement, misery and impoverishment for millions of urban citizens.