Mombasa – a city under the sea?

Mombasa is known as a city of sun-kissed beaches, luxurious hotels packed with tourists and crazy New Year’s Eve parties. Recent terrorist threats have begun to change this idyllic picture. Last weekend some tour operators had to evacuate hundreds of tourists and cancel flights to Mombasa. But the government has other things to worry about. […]

Adapting to a changing climate in South Africa

This short film captures the key messages and debates emerging from the first Southern Africa Adaptation Colloquium. The colloquium was held in November 2013 and co-hosted by the African Centre for Cities’ Climate Change Think Tank (a partnership of the Mistra Urban Futures programme), the University of Cape Town’s African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), […]

The fight for Philippi

The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), a mere twenty-minute drive southwest of Cape Town’s city centre, is a historically agricultural area that in recent years has come under much contestation regarding its future prospects. The land in question is intensively farmed and produces over 50 percent of vegetables consumed in the city. It is being threatened […]

South Africa 2035? How do we get there?

By 2035, polluters could be taxed R700 per ton for carbon in South Africa. Take a look at the somewhat utopian future broadcast in this video from the University of Cambridge’s Programme for Sustainability Leadership.

South Africa’s Carbon Tax – a means to an end?

One of the salient questions for any country or city looking to benefit from all the upside potential in a “low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive” (UNEP, 2011) green economy, is how to go about the transition, and perhaps more acutely, how to finance the transition. Internalizing the externality costs of greenhouse gas emissions […]

Community-driven solutions to climate change

“Climate change is improving on what we have so we can sustain in what we are doing” — Edith Samia, National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda. A delegation from South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania attended the second biannual Local Climate Solutions for Africa (LOCS) conference from October 30 to November 1 in Dar es Salaam […]

Encountering “the nature of cities” through tree planting

I have planted lots of trees around schools in Cape Town. Each experience has been profoundly different from the next, but there have been common threads running through each experience — muddy feet and hands; the strong stem of a young tree as I carry it from the bakkie to the planting site; the unwieldy […]

Building cities that think like planets

Cities face an important challenge: they must rethink themselves in the context of planetary change. What role do cities play in the evolution of Earth? From a planetary perspective, the emergence and rapid expansion of cities across the globe may represent another turning point in the life of our planet. Earth’s atmosphere, on which we […]

New resilient cities series

Lately, it feels as if the catastrophes are arriving with clockwork regularity: floods, tsunamis, economic crashes, population explosions, heat waves, widespread blackouts. But, of course, these shocks and stresses often arrive with no regularity at all. They’re the tough-to-anticipate problems that come on suddenly, and threaten the survival of our cities. And it’s not just […]

Reconciling uncertainty and decision-making in climate adaptation

Produced for discussion by the delegates at IDRC’s workshop, Research on Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal and Estuarine Systems, Belem, Brazil, 2-4 October, 2013.  Issues of uncertainty are a primary area of mis-communication in climate change science and the confusion impedes effective climate change decisions. Climate change adaptation should make use of the best […]