Papers


New report synthesises learnings from SA-EU Dialogue on cultural planning

Rike Sitas, Vaughn Sadie

Funded by the SA-EU Dialogue Facility under the EU-SA Strategic Partnership, the purpose of this exchange was to provide a platform for dialogue between SA and EU partners about the role of cultural mapping, planning and impact assessment in promoting sustainable and just cities. We find ourselves in an unprecedented moment where global policy imperatives […]

Conflicts Between and Within: The ‘Conflicting Rationalities’ of Informal Occupation in South Africa

Liza Rose Cirolia, Nobukhosi Ngwenya

As part of their PEAK Urban research project Analysing Human Settlement Transformation in Cape Town, researchers Nobukhosi Ngwenya and Liza Rose Cirolia co-authored this paper which uses land occupations in Cape Town as a lens to explore conflicting rationalities. ABSTRACT One of the most pervasive planning challenges in Southern cities is the formal housing shortage. […]

Contested fiscal geographies: Urban authority, everyday practice, and emerging state-finance relations

Liza Rose Cirolia

Contested fiscal geographies: Urban authority, everyday practice, and emerging state-finance relations by Liza Rose Cirolia is published in GeoForum. ABSTRACT The study of fiscal geographies foregrounds the spatialities of fiscal instruments, such as taxes or bonds. Of central concern in the fiscal geographies literature are the ways that fiscal spaces are co-constituted with state-form and […]

Fractured fiscal authority and fragmented infrastructures: Financing sustainable urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Liza Rose Cirolia

ACC senior researcher Liza Rose Cirolia has published a new paper in Habitat International entitled Fractured fiscal authority and fragmented infrastructures: Financing sustainable urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa.  ABSTRACT The current global development agendas provide relatively little guidance on how the incredible challenge of sustainable urban development in Africa can and should be financed. This […]

Rethinking training: the role of the informal sector in skills acquisition and development in Zimbabwe

ACC Postdoctoral researcher Martin Magidi has co-authored an article with Innocent T. Mahiya entitled Rethinking training: the role of the informal sector in skills acquisition and development in Zimbabwe for the Journal of Development Southern Africa.   ABSTRACT Training and skills acquisition have received widespread approval as one of the most important steps towards achieving […]

Health through human settlements: Investigating policymakers’ perceptions of human settlement action for population health improvement in urban South Africa

Amy Weimann, Warren Smit

ACC’s Amy Weimann and Warren Smit, are co-authors along with Noxolo Kabane, Tracy Jooste, Anthony Hawkridge and Tolu Oni, of Health through human settlements: Investigating policymakers’ perceptions of human settlement action for population health improvement in urban South Africa published in Habitat International. ABSTRACT Informal settlements, characterised by inadequate living conditions and high disease burdens, […]

The Covid-19 crisis and the South African informal economy: ‘Locked out’ of livelihoods and employment

Caroline Skinner

Caroline Skinner and Michael Rogan co-authored The Covid-19 crisis and the South African informal economy: ‘Locked out’ of livelihoods and employment, as part of the working papers that accompany the NIDS-CRAMS reports. ABSTRACT There is widespread recognition, both internationally and in South Africa, that the measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 have impacted particularly […]

Cultural policy and just cities in Africa

Rike Sitas

ABSTRACT In the vastly unequal contexts typical in African cities and amidst the poly crisis of rapid urban development, it is vital to understand how cultural heritage intersects with urban planning, design and development. Although integrating cultural heritage into the urban agenda is crucial to developing sustainable cities, the ways in which culture is being […]

Methodological considerations for researching corruption and building urban integrity – a Qualitative Action Experiment in Zambia

Laura Nkula-Wenz

The first contribution (Zinnbauer 2019) to the Cities of Integrity working paper series put forward two key messages: first, that tackling corruption in urban development is a key policy challenge of our time; and second, that activating the professional integrity of the urban planning community is a particularly promising and underexplored response to this challenge. (more…)

Situating sexuality: An interconnecting research agenda in the urban global south

Andrew Tucker, Neil R. Hassan

Andrew Tucker and Neil R. Hasan have published a new paper entitled Situating sexuality: An interconnecting research agenda in the urban global south in GeoForum, volume 109, February 2020. Abstract Significant opportunities exist to connect more directly sexuality research to urbanisation research in the global South. This article considers such connections in relation to the […]

Becoming Otherwise: Artful Urban Enquiry

Rike Sitas

Becoming Otherwise: Artful Urban Enquiry by Rike Sitas for Urban Forum draws together conceptual threads from public space, public art and public pedagogy literature in order to ‘deepen and widen the analytical and political edge’ of artful forms of urban enquiry as discussed by Pinder International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(3), 730–736, (Pinder 2008, […]

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 […]

The Macro-Economic Impact of Two Different Industrial Development Pathways in Ghana

Cities have historically played an important role in driving the industrialisation and development of countries. In Africa, however, this has largely not been the case. If cities in Africa can be made more efficient and productive, this could have a significant impact on the development trajectory of countries like Ghana. This background paper The Macro-Economic […]

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 of Tanzania’s Urbanisation Roadmap

Anton Cartwright

For Tanzania, rapidly growing cities could either become a national liability or the springboard towards global competitiveness, sustainability and middle-income status. Tanzania has both a growing economy and an urbanising population, but the two trends are not currently mutually reinforcing. (more…)

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…)

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]