Ekurhuleni: The Making of an Urban Region

This book is a very useful contribution to understanding the tortured history of Ekurhuleni — the extensive urban region lying to the east of Johannesburg — and the complicated legacy facing the current administration.

‘Atlas of Cities’ overlooks cities of the south

The overarching theme of this large book is that cities are both alike and revealing of ‘incredible differences.’ The theme is tantalizing and potentially of great intellectual interest but the volume does not seek to develop it beyond the superficial, largely because of its focus on cities of the north.

Review: ‘Politics and Policies. Governing cities in Africa.’

Approaches to the study of cities in post-colonial Africa have evolved over the years, reflecting global trends in development thinking in which the state’s role has changed from an interventionist planner to an enabling manager of development. Since the 1990s, the failure of many African states to manage rapid urbanization has resulted, crudely put, in […]

Review: ‘Living the City in Africa’

‘Living the City in Africa: Processes of Invention and Intervention’ is a volume inspired by a range of scholars working in some of Africa’s most rapidly evolving urban centres, all of whom seek to delve into the critique of the dominant modernist archetypes that remain fixed in urban planning discourse and practice.

Review of ‘Climate Change, Assets and Food Security in Southern African Cities’

‘Climate Change, Assets and Food Security in Southern African Cities’ is a timely commentary on food security in an urban context and the likely scenarios for cities that might not have the capacity – financial or otherwise – to quickly adapt to climate change and rapid urbanisation patterns.

Looking between the frames: Review of ‘Imagining the Edgy City: Writing, Performing and Building Johannesburg’

In Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis, John Matschikiza described Johannesburg as an “ever-changing movie that no one has quite managed to produce” (Nuttall & Mbembe eds., 2008: 222). The incomplete nature of the movie is a metaphor for Johannesburg as a whole. Loren Kruger, in his book, Imagining the Edgy City: Writing, Performing and Building Johannesburg, […]

The New Science of Cities

In a field of study demanding an increasing evidence base to support theories of city development, Michael Batty’s latest book The New Science of Cities does not disappoint. Batty re-focuses and challenges our thinking regarding cities, presenting them as constellations of interactions, communications, relations, flows and networks.

Climate change and Cape Town

Climate Change at the City Scale – Impacts, mitigation and adaptation in Cape Town is a welcome addition to the climate change literature. This is especially so since the city scale is so often overlooked and the book provides an important addition to the gap in city scale climate change academic literature. It is the […]

Climate change vulnerability in Southern African cities

It is refreshing to read a book focusing on a few case studies of African cities not usually under the climate change literature spotlight, such as Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg traditionally have been. Stimulating also is the volume’s explicit emphasis upon peri-urban areas, the areas in cities where urban and rural features and processes meet, and where there are mixed populations, important environmental services, and consumption of natural resources.

Africa’s urban dynamics: a review of Africa’s Urban Revolution

Africa’s Urban Revolution, edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse, presents a refreshingly new and detailed insight into the origin, growth and rapid expansion of Africa’s cities, the transformation of some of these into mega cities, and the consequences of such transformation.