Papers


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 […]

Addressing food security in African cities

Jane Battersby, Vanessa Watson

In sub-Saharan Africa, the food system impacts on a number of urban development issues such as poverty, unemployment and poor health. Informal traders meet the food needs of many poor urban households. However, supermarket chains are changing this, demanding particular policy and planning responses, writes Jane Battersby and Vanessa Watson in their latest paper for Nature, […]

Better Urban Growth in Tanzania: A Preliminary Exploration of the Opportunities and Challenges

Tanzania’s urban population is projected to grow from less than 15 million people in 2012 to more than 60 million people by mid-century. This rapid urban population growth offers the potential for structural transformation, as well as scale and agglomeration economies that can accelerate human and economic development. Planning and investment decisions made today will […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]