Page 152 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT Research Report '11
of the magazine
, which presents insightful
commentary on a range of urban issues, were launched
during the September festival. This more popular volume
sits beside an increasingly impressive list of more
conventional academic publications – which, aside from
their traditional value, are seen as critical to fostering a
body of material from which to ensure the reform of the
urban curricula in African universities.
On the African canvas, the ACC continues to host the
secretariat of the Association of African Planning Schools
(AAPS), a network of 47 urban planning schools across
18 African countries that is an important foundation for
the ACC’s commitment to facilitating the emergence of
durable urban studies institutes across the continent.
During 2011, the ACC made several visits to other
schools to consolidate co-operation and advise on
syllabus development. Held in Lagos, Nigeria, an AAPS
research workshop on informality, spatial planning, and
infrastructure involved planning academics from Nigeria,
Malawi, and South Africa. Further African projects include
a focus on urban food security and a major initiative on
the state of African city reporting. The African work of the
ACC is challenging, not least logistically, but is central to
forging a new mode of intellectual practice at UCT.
Practice makes perfect
With these fundamentals in place, the ACC’s researchers
have the capacity to become involved in a host of applied
research projects that are able to try out ideas, speak to
people on the receiving end of these ideas and co-produce
new knowledge directed at solving entrenched urban
problems. The CityLab initiative, which focuses on specific
urban challenges in Cape Town and seeks to mobilise
research around these, epitomises this approach. To
date, CityLab projects have been launched on alcohol
consumption, poverty and development, densification of
the central city, climate change, health, urban children,
public culture, and urban ecology.
Good houses make good people
The information yielded by these projects is rich.
The Healthy Cities CityLab, for example, which is
examining the relationship between the physical urban
environment and health and well-being in Cape Town,
is currently conducting research to determine the
perceptions of health and well-being of residents in
different neighbourhoods in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Co-ordinated by Warren Smit of the ACC and Professor
Signature theme
associated with this theme
African Centre for Cities
Achieving well-governed and sustainable cities is becoming increasingly important to the future health of the
planet. The African Centre for Cities partners closely with African universities and policy-making centres in order
to provide an alternative perspective on dealing with critical urban issues. It provides an intellectual base and
home for inter-disciplinary, urban-related research at UCT, from which relations can be established with selected
international think tanks, scholars, social movements, and funders.
Director: Professor E. Pieterse E-mail: Web:
“The main implication of this com-
plexity is that social issues need to
be central in processes to guide the
physical creation and management of
the urban environment.”
Reaching into Africa: AAPS workshop participants visit the
fishing community of Makoko, Lagos.