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. […]

SACSC2020: Housing: Interrogating Need and Provision

PAPER SESSION Housing: Interrogating Need and Provision WHEN: Wednesday 2 September TIME: 09:00 – 11:00 REGISTER HERE   CHAIR: Mercy Brown-Luthango (African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town) The Planned Environment and the Lived Environment: Public Housing History in Africa Bill Freund (University of KwaZulu-Natal); [email protected] State built or generated housing is typically associated […]

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 […]


BOXES is a social-justice theatre project devised by award-winning theatre makers Neil Coppen and Ameera Conrad, Journalist Daneel Knoetze and performers Quanita Adams and Mark Elderkin. The project draws from a range of research-based, verbatim and documentary theatre methodologies to explore a myriad of perspectives and insights into urban land justice issues occurring across city […]

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 […]

Urban Humanities Seminar Series: The Invention of the ‘Sink Estate’: Consequential Categorization and the UK Housing Crisis

The Invention of the ‘Sink Estate’: Consequential Categorization and the UK Housing Crisis presented by Tom Slater explores the history and traces the realisation of a category that was invented by journalists, amplified by free market think tanks and converted into policy doxa (common sense) by politicians in the United Kingdom: the ‘sink estate’. This derogatory […]

Ruo Emoh: Our Home; Our Story

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 was conceived of as a three-part experimental space for students, and faculty, to engage in the City, to learn to […]

African Centre for Cities International Urban Conference: Day 2

Sean O' Toole

The use of data to manage the world’s growing housing crisis was a pronounced theme in panels during the second day of the international urban conference hosted by the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Its use as a tool to manage Cape Town’s critical housing shortage was a […]

Living Informally in South Africa

Tau Tavengwa, Edgar Pieterse

This short film was produced by Cityscapes | ACC as part of a project on Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council to understand the state of various aspects of that city – one of the largest metro areas in South Africa. This is 1 of 4 short films in this series, produced in collaboration with filmmaker Kgomotso Matsunyane

Density Syndicate Workshops

The first two Density Syndicate workshops saw the teams working between Guga S’Thebe in Langa, and the respective sites. Consisting of urbanists, City officials and representatives from relevant local organisations, each team had a set of site-specific challenges, the key findings of which will be exhibited as part of City Desired. Lotus Park Lotus Park […]

Politics, informality and clientelism

In her paper “Politics, informality and clientelism – exploring a pro-poor urban politics” Diana Mitlin explores what we have learnt about how to instigate, negotiate or otherwise secure pro-poor government in towns and cities of the global South. With competition for scarce resources, the processes of urban development and specifically the acquisition of land and […]

Policy & Governance Contexts for Scalable Community-Led Slum Upgrading

The presentation first addresses the policy and governance contexts for the scalability of community-led slum upgrading based on the Shack/Slum Dweller International methodology. The methodology is based on that of the Indian Alliance (NSDF, Mahila Milan, SPARC), which comprises community-based organizations and NGOs, in partnership with government, delivering municipal services, securing tenure and promoting slum […]

A Brief Symposium on Accessing Land in African Cities

A recently released book called “Trading Places” is about how urban land markets work in African cities. The book explores how local practice, land governance and markets interact to shape the ways that people at society’s margins access land to build their livelihoods.

OPEN CALL: Density Syndicate

Rike Sitas

The African Centre for Cities and the International New Town Institute are excited to announce an open call for participation in the Density Syndicate. The Density Syndicate is looking for dynamic Cape Town based urbanists (architects / urban designers / planners) to participate in three studios over the course of 2014.

ACC hosts “transformative urban regeneration conference”

The ACC hosted a conference in conjunction with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality between 6 and 8 November 2013. The conference brought together policy makers from the EMM and the neighbouring Joburg and Tshwane Metros with leading local academics, practitioners as well as some international practitioners from Latin America and Asia to share perspectives on how […]