• 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 […]

  • Cape Town: the iPhone of African cities

    Cape Town is the iPhone of African cities. A slick, beautifully designed place wrapped deftly around a solid core of mountain, sand and sea. We love our city much as acolytes will defend Apple with near fanatical devotion. Joburg can have its business-minded Blackberry; we have the universal appeal of a laid-back piece of urbanity, […]

  • Accra’s Efua Sutherland Children’s Park has limited access

    The 12-acre green space in central Accra known as Efua Sutherland Children’s Park is one of the city’s largest parks. Situated in the city centre and proximate to the government ministries zone, the national theatre and the city’s largest hotel, one might expect the space to be busy on a typical weekend afternoon. One of […]

  • 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 […]

  • King City promises to redefine Ghana’s urban landscape

    Renaissance Group, a leading emerging markets investment firm and one of the largest developers of urban land in Africa, has partnered with the chief and people of Takoradi Traditional Area for the King City development in the Western Region of Ghana. The development will be a “sustainable, mixed-use, mixed-income development that promotes economic activity and […]

  • More from the State of the Cities in Africa Project

    On September 20-21 the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town, successfully conducted its first Regional Capacity Building Workshop for the State of Cities in Africa (SOCA) Program. Mark Napier, Programme Director of Urban LandMark, presented research entitled, “Investigating on Improved Access by the Poor to Urban Land Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.” […]

  • 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 […]

  • Cape Town: World Design Capital 2014

    Cape Town has been in the news lately. In late October, the city won two accolades; first it was announced as the winner of the World Design Capital 2014 accolade and a week or two later, the landmark Table Mountain was declared the 7th Wonder of the World. Much has been made of the significance […]