Informal settlement upgrading and safety: experiences from Cape Town, South Africa

Mercy Brown-Luthango

Abstract: Informal settlement dwellers are disproportionately affected by ill health, violence and many other socio-economic challenges. These are largely connected to the unhealthy and unsafe physical conditions within which they live. Interventions in the built form through the provision of physical infrastructure have been proposed as a strategy to improve economic, social and health outcomes for […]

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Narrative and value articulation of contested green spaces in Cape Town, New York and London

Henrik Ernstson

Value articulation as sociomaterial narrative practice Based on empirical work in Cape Town, New York and London the article expands on an existing narrative framework for value articulation  (see Ernstson 2013; Ernstson and Sörlin, 2009; Sörlin 1998). Above all they emphasise the sociomateiral character of narrative practice and the role role of designers: [T]his framework pays attention to […]

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Urban governance and urban food systems in Africa: Examining the linkages

Warren Smit

Urban food systems have increasingly been recognised as a topic that needs to be better understood, in order to address issues of urban food security and urban poverty. This is particularly so in Africa, which has high rates of urban population growth and high levels of urban food insecurity. There has, however, been surprisingly little work on examining […]

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Urban Health Research in Africa: Themes and Priority Research Questions

Warren Smit

In Africa, urbanization and urban growth are dramatically restructuring the nature of cities. The growing majority of urban dwellers now live in informal conditions that, without access to basic services or public amenities, expose residents to greater health risk, and health-care systems are unable to provide affordable or comprehensive cover. The differential exposure to these urban conditions is compounded […]

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Informal Migrant Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Growth in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Caroline Skinner

While increasing attention is being paid to the drivers and forms of entrepreneurship in informal economies, much less of this policy and research focus is directed at understanding the links between mobility and informality. This report examines the current state of knowledge about this relationship with particular reference to three countries (Mozambique, South Africa and […]

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City Report – Informal Economy Monitoring Study: Street Vendors in Durban

Caroline Skinner

The Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS) is designed to provide in-depth understanding of how informal workers are affected by and respond to economic trends, urban policies and practices, value chain dynamics, and other economic and social forces. In Durban, WIEGO partnered with Asiye eTafuleni to carry out this study. This report outlines key findings and […]

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Urban Informal Workers: Representative Voice & Economic Rights

Caroline Skinner

For its 2013 World Development Report (WDR) on Jobs, the World Bank team commissioned WIEGO to produce a set of case studies with a synthesis report on representative voice and economic rights of informal workers. This background paper includes annexes of case studies written by WIEGO Team members and partners.   This paper can be viewed […]

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Re-translating nature in post-apartheid Cape Town: The material semiotics of people and plants at Bottom Road

Henrik Ernstson

This paper uses actor-network theory (ANT) to study a grassroots’ ecological rehabilitation project in a marginalized area of Cape Town. By tracing the stabilization of relations between residents, authorities, plants and green areas, the paper demonstrates how ANT can be enfolded into the study of African cities as an attentive way to rethink agency, empowerment […]

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Principles of Social-Ecological Urbanism: Case study Albano Campus, Stockholm

Henrik Ernstson

Principles of Social Ecological Design combines ten years of social-ecological research in Stockholm with a concrete intervention on how to design the Albano campus, an extension of Stockholm University. The book develops social-ecological urbanism as a second generation discourse after the dominance of the smart growth and sustainable urbanism paradigms. It deals not only with designs for mitigation of carbon emissions, but […]

Conceptual vectors of African Urbanism: ‘Engaged Theory-Making’ and ‘Platforms of Engagement’

Henrik Ernstson

This paper provides a selected reading of the strongly emergent studies of African urbanism and develops two contribution that this literature can bring to the wider understanding of cities and urbanisation. These contributions focuses on new modes of making theory in collaboration and engagement with activists and practitioners, where African scholars have a long experience. […]

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Provincializing Urban Political Ecology: Towards a Situated UPE through African Urbanism

Henrik Ernstson, Mary Lawhon

The paper represents our first effort to develop and extend Urban Political Ecology as a framework for analysing power and materiality in cities. The paper merges or reads across three strands of literature, being political ecology (with origins in rural developing country research, but with important extensions using feminist theory etc), Urban Political Ecology (with […]

Ecological outcomes of civic and expert-led urban greening projects using indigenous plant species in Cape Town, South Africa

Henrik Ernstson

This paper combines ecological field work, including soil sampling and pollinator studies, with theories of knowledge practice to better understand how expert-led and civic-led greening and indigenous plant rehabilitation efforts differ in social and ecological outcomes. The focus on ecological outcomes has often been neglected in urban Natural Resource Management theory.  This paper can be […]

The social production of ecosystem services: A framework for studying environmental Justice and ecological complexity in urbanized landscapes

Henrik Ernstson

This paper develops an “internal” critique of the Ecosystem Services approach (ESS) to understand the contested role of ecosystems in urban landscapes. By using studies from Cape Town and Stockholm, it brings together three wider strands of literature, from Social-Ecological Systems and resilience theory (SES), Urban Political Ecology (UPE) and Environmental Justice (EJ) it develops […]