African Centre for Cities (ACC) first International Urban Conference

Mistra Urban Futures was a partner of the African Centre for Cities International Urban Conference, which took place in Cape Town between Feb 1-3, 2018.

This was the ACC’s first international urban conference. Edgar Pieterse, director of the ACC, opened the conference by reflecting on one foundational idea behind the work of the ACC over the past 10 years, and which would set the stage for the conference: “Being both critical and propositional is not a choice but a necessity”. Over the 3 days, participants got to be part of activities ranging from panels, roundtables, book launches, film screenings, arts performances and keynote addresses from a mix of academics, activists and artists.

Several Mistra Urban Futures’ researchers participated in the conference, moderating sessions and presenting papers. We organised a panel called ‘Realising Just Cities’ where 4 different papers and projects were presented by our researchers. Warren Smit and Rike Sitas presented some initial findings of their work on ‘Realising just cities in different global contexts’. David Simon and Warren Smit talked about a paper being co-written by several Mistra Urban Futures researchers on ‘The challenges of transdisciplinary co-production: from unilocal to comparative research’. Sandra Valencia and David Simon presented the draft of a paper based on the inception phase of the project on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, entitled ‘Initial considerations for adapting the SDGs and the NUA to the city level: reflections from a comparative research project’. Finally, Rike Sitas presented the work she is carrying out with other researchers on ‘Cultural heritage and the just city’. The panel was well-attended and interesting questions and discussion followed the presentations.

More information about the conference can be found on the ACC’s website ( or by following the Twitter and Facebook hashtag #ACC_IUC2018.