• NGOs and knowledge generation in the urban context

    The world of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) keeps expanding daily as governments both from the ‘North’ and the ‘South’ shrink in their ability to provide basic social services. The global financial crisis which started half a decade ago has had a profound effect not only on governments but also the NGO sector. NGOs have become more […]

  • Where can we find alternative African urban futures?

    Available options for the future of African cities appear to be limited to a binary choice between apocalyptic disorder and an irrepressibly optimistic orderliness – between the slum and the tech park. The presentation and reproduction of such a binary choice without doubt restricts our capacity to discover avenues to imagine and create innovative, safe […]

  • Visions of African urban futures yet to come

    “African cities don’t work”, writes AbdouMaliq Simone at the beginning of his book For the City Yet to Come. ‘Or at least their characterizations are conventionally replete with descriptions ranging from the valiant, if mostly misguided, struggles of the poor to eke out some minimal livelihood to the more insidious descriptions of bodies engaged in […]

  • Considering African urban utopias

    Utopian thinking, defined by Friedman as “the capacity to imagine a future that departs significantly from what we know to be a general condition in the present” has informed a range of social and ideological movements from the Paris Commune to the Zapatistas of South-eastern Mexico (in Swilling et al, 2010; Harvey, 2012). Pieterse writes […]

  • On knowledge management, data, finance and researching the state of cities in Africa

    The State of the Cities in Africa (SOCA) Project was initiated to address the demand for information and support from cities and practitioners in order to systematically define urban systems in Africa. The SOCA Project is one attempt to respond to the demand for information by building relationships with universities, local governments, national government and other […]

  • Africa open data initiative

    Africa Open Data, a repository of data accross Africa is now live.  This could prove a useful resource for the State of Cities Africa project. Jay Bhalla of the Africa Open Data Institute shares some of his experiences in setting up OpenKenya, a pioneering first open data platform    

  • Land release assessment model: Tool and case studies

    In 2009, in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements and the City of Cape Town, Urban LandMark commissioned Eighty/20 and Palmer Development Group (PDG) to develop an approach to assess the cost and benefits of different residential land uses resulting from public land release programmes in the Western Cape. The different residential […]

  • A community-based strategy for tackling climate change in the city

    Nottingham in the UK has just released their climate change strategy for 2012-2020. While many cities have started developing such plans what seems to be quite unique about the Nottingham one is that is goes right down to the ward level within the city, the smallest unit of administration that is closest to the individual […]

  • Cities committing politically to act on climate change

    The Conference of Parties (COP) is a meeting of the countries that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, a forum in which representatives of nation states / countries partake in international negotiations on what to do about climate change. Initially local and sub-national governments were completely absent from these international negotiations, but […]

  • What’s the difference between climate change adaptation and mitigation?

    The distinction between adaptation and mitigation still confuses many who are not so familiar with all the climate change talk, particularly those coming from fields of work where these words are used to mean different things. In the field of climate change, mitigation refers to actions taken to lower the concentration of greenhouse gasses in […]