Urban sustainability disjunctures in Cape Town: learning the city from the inside and out

Greyling, S., Patel, Z., & Davison, A. (2016). Urban sustainability disjunctures in Cape Town: learning the city from the inside and out. Local Environment, 22(sup1), 52–65. doi:10.1080/13549839.2016.1223621

Platform
Cape Town Global
Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Projects
Governance and Policy for Sustainability, GAPS
DOI Title
Urban sustainability disjunctures in Cape Town: learning the city from the inside and out
Journal
Local Environment
ISSN/ISBN
1354-9839 1469-6711
DOI
10.1080/13549839.2016.1223621
Author(s)
Saskia Greyling Zarina Patel Amy Davison
Published date
Subject
Geography, Planning and Development Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

 

Abstract

South African cities have focused on sustainability as a policy and strategic objective. Nonetheless, realising the transformative potential of fostering sustainable transition pathways is challenging. Our entry point for understanding this impasse is that the ability of cities to transform lies in the opaque spaces between policy rhetoric and implementation. We unpack these policy disjunctures in two ways. Firstly, we posit that the potential of the City to ensure that policy based on progressive and transformative principles is implemented in ways that foster the intended action is tied up with its ability to perform as a learning institution. The transformative role of learning is in turn dependent on accessing the situated tacit knowledge that informs decision-making and action. Secondly, we propose that researching the capacity of the City to learn requires alternative spaces for research and deliberation. To illustrate these arguments, we draw on a knowledge co-production urban experiment in Cape Town to improve the efficacy and analysis of both policy development and implementation. Tacit knowledge surfaced practices that are found to hamper learning within the City. Engaging with identified barriers to learning and change provides alternate entry points for identifying feasible points of leverage to address sustainability disjunctures.