The CityLab Programme
The CityLab programme was initiated in 2008 as an interdisciplinary applied research programme for learning from the unique experience of Cape Town. The programme provides a dedicated, university-based but multi-partner research process to investigate urban dynamics in the Cape Town city-region. It was intended to deal with real challenges facing the Cape Town city-region through the co-production of practically-useful knowledge in ways that overcame disciplinary divides and the policy-practice divide. In 2010, ACC African Centre for Cities became part of Mistra Urban Futures, and the CityLab Programme became a core component of the Cape Town Platform.
The different CityLabs use different methods, but they all focus on bringing together different sectors and on co-production (both through integrating existing knowledge and through collaboratively producing new knowledge). There have been nine CityLabs in all:
• Healthy Cities CityLab, 2009- (co-ordinated by Dr Warren Smit): relationship between the physical urban environment and human health and wellbeing in Cape Town (included a research project on various neighbourhoods in Khayelitsha, a related research project on alcohol in Cape Town, and a spin-off CityLab focused on child health, the Urban Child CityLab, in partnership with the Children’s Institute).
• Public Culture CityLab, 2012- (co-ordinated by Dr Rike Sitas, and initially also by Ismail Farouk): issues of public space and public art in Cape Town.
• Sustainable Human Settlements CityLab, 2012- (co-ordinated by Liza Cirolia): issues of housing policy and delivery, in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements.
• Urban Violence, Safety and Inclusion CityLab, 2012- (co-ordinated by Dr Mercy Brown-Luthango): the relationship between urban upgrading and violence, and how upgrading can potentially reduce violence.
• Central CityLab, 2008-2013 (co-ordinated by Ismail Farouk): urban regeneration, densification and inclusivity in the Cape Town CBD and surrounding areas.
• Philippi CityLab, 2008-2015 (co-ordinated by Dr Mercy Brown-Luthango): community development initiatives in the Philippi area.
• Climate Change CityLab, 2009-2012 (co-ordinated by Anton Cartwright from 2010, previously co-ordinated by Dr Yvonne Hansen): climate change adaptation and mitigation in Cape Town (through a formal partnership with the City of Cape Town on the Climate Change Think Tank).
• Urban Flooding CityLab, 2008-2012 (co-ordinated by Dr Warren Smit): flooding of informal settlements in Cape Town (included a collaborative research project).
• Urban Ecology CityLab, 2010-2013 (co-ordinated by Dr Pippin Anderson: interface between the urban environment and the natural environment in Cape Town.
The CityLabs have tried to achieve various objectives:
• Building “communities of knowledge and practice” by bringing together academics, government officials, civil society, students, etc, in meetings/workshops and field visits to ensure participants are exposed to a range of perspectives and can build networks with a range of stakeholders.
• Integrating different types of knowledge (academic, practical, policy; different disciplines and sectors) through seminar series and through collaborative publications that reflect a range of experiences and views from academics, officials and civil society.
• For CityLabs that were dealing with issues where there was not a lot of existing work, collaborative interdisciplinary research projects that engaged with officials and communities were developed.
• For CityLabs with significant buy-in from the City and/or Province there was actual co-production of policies.
History and results
The CityLab programme has been organised around a number of key themes. Initially, in 2008, in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Local Government and Housing and the City of Cape Town, a number of key topics were identified and fulltime CityLab co-ordinators were employed.
Each CityLab was intended to have a finite lifespan culminating in a major publication (a book or special issue of a journal) on that particular theme in Cape Town. Each publication ideally has a range of articles/chapters that address the major issues relating to each topic in the context of Cape Town, including a contextual overview, some discussion on methods, as well as providing new empirical research on Cape Town and suggested policy solutions. The chapters of CityLab publications generally are written by researchers from different disciplines and practitioners from different sectors. The CityLab co-ordinators facilitate the co-production process and edit the books. Each CityLab typically has a lifespan of from 3 to 5 years (although a few have had longer lifepans).
- Reimagining ecology in the City of Cape Town: contemporary urban ecological research and the role of the African Centre for CitiesAnderson, P. In Urban Forests Trees, and Greenspace: A Political Ecology Perspective, L. A. Sandberg, A. Bardekjian, and S. Butt (eds). London and New York: Earthscan for Routledge, 2015, pp. 261-276
- Micro-Politics and Neighbourhood Organizing in a Sphere of Informality: The Formation of Leadership Committees in Three Informal Settlements in Cape TownDrivdal, L. Diss. Cape Town, South Africa: Univerisy of Cape Town, 2014
- Managing Disasters in the Context of Climate Change: Towards Sustainable Urban Flood Management in Cape TownAnderson, K. Honours Thesis. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2010
- Iinstitutional conditions for local climate change adaptation: A comparison of three South African municipalitiesTaylor, A., Cartwright, A. and Sutherland, C. AFD Focales Series, 2014
- The Graveyard Pond Enumeration reportDrivdal, L. & Musungu, K. Unpublished report, 2010
- Nomadic notions: footloose in a fictive cityGurney, K. New Imaginaries/ New Publics’ symposium, ACC & Goethe-Institut. Johannesburg, South Africa, 2013
- Nomadic notions: art & the uncertainty principleGurney, K. International Conference on Cities on the Move: Mobilities and Sensibilities, CMDR and The University of the Western Cape (UWC) and University of Witwatersrand (Wits). Cape Town, South Africa, 2013
- Camo-Ammo: the trickster art of refusalGurney, K. (2013). Camo-Ammo: the trickster art of refusal. Conference paper presented at The 6th Infecting the City Public Arts Festival, Africa Centre. Cape Town, South Africa, 11-16 March 2013.
- Report on ethnographic methods in 3 informal settlements in Philippi. May to December 2010Drivdal, L. Unpublished Report, 2010
- Report on health and flooding workshops in informal settlementsDrivdal, L. Unpublished Report, 2010
- Egoli Enumeration report, Philippi, Cape Town, May 2011Drivdal, L. & Musungu, K. Report.
- Report on flooding in the informal settlement ‘Kosovo’ in PhilippiDrivdal, L. Unpublished report, 2011
- Flooding in Cape Town’s informal settlements: barriers to collaborative urban risk governanceZiervogel, G., Waddell, J., Smit, W. & Taylor, A. South African Geographical Journal, 2014, DOI:10.1080/03736245.2014.924867
- Discourses of alcohol: reflections on key issues influencing the regulation of shebeens in Cape TownSmit, W. South African Geographical Journal: Alcohol, Poverty and the South African City, vol. 96, no. 1, 2014, pp. 60-80
- Urban sustainability and human health: an African perspectiveSmit, W. & Parnell, S. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 4, no. 4, 2012, pp. 443–450
- On alcohol, transport and poverty in Cape TownPirie, G. (2014). On alcohol, transport and poverty in Cape Town. South African Geographical Journal, 96(1), 50–59. doi:10.1080/03736245.2014.896280
- The ‘right to the city’: institutional imperatives for tackling urban povertyParnell, S. & Pieterse, E. International Journal for Urban and Regional Research, vol. 34, no. 1, 2010, pp. 146-162
- Sustainable multifunctional landscapes: a review to implementationO’Farrell, P.J. & Anderson, P.M. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 2, no. 1–2, 2010, pp. 59–65
- Researching sensitive topics in African cities: reflections on alcohol research in Cape TownLawhon, M., Herrick, C. & Daya, S. South African Geographical Journal: Alcohol, Poverty and the South African City, vol. 96, no. 1, 2014, pp. 15-30
- Situated networked environmentalisms: a case for environmental theory from the southLawhon, M. Geography Compass, vol. 7, no. 2, 2013, pp. 128–138
- Flows, friction and the sociomaterial metabolization of alcoholLawhon, M. Antipode, vol. 45, no. 3, 2013, pp. 681–701
- Alcohol control in the news: the politics of media representations of alcohol policy in South AfricaLawhon, M., & Herrick, C. (2013). Alcohol Control in the News: The Politics of Media Representations of Alcohol Policy in South Africa: Table 1. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 38(5), 987–1021. doi:10.1215/03616878-2334683
- Alcohol, poverty and the South African cityHerrick, C. & Parnell, S. South African Geographical Journal: Alcohol, Poverty and the South African City, vol. 96, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-14
- Ethnography of a flameGurney, K. Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies, vol. 27, no. 4, 2013, pp. 439-443
- Urban transitions: on urban resilience and human-dominated landscapesErnstson, H., van der Leeuw, S.E., Redman, C.L., Meffert, D.J., Davis, G., Alfsen, C. & Elmqvist, T. Ambio, vol. 39, no. 8, 2010, pp. 531-545
- Re-translating nature in post-apartheid Cape Town: the material semiotics of people and plants at Bottom RoadErnstson, H. Actor-Network Theory for Development: Working Paper Series, no. 4, 2013
- Plural regulation of shebeens (informal drinking places)Drivdal, L. & Lawhon, M. South African Geographical Journal: Alcohol, Poverty and the South African City, vol. 96, no. 1, 2014, pp. 97-112
- Network analysis in conservation biogeography: challenges and opportunitiesCumming, G. S., Bodin, Ö., Ernstson, H. & Elmqvist, T. Diversity and Distributions: Conservation biogeography - foundations, concepts and challenges, vol. 16, no. 3, 2010, pp. 414–425
- South Africa's emergency housing programme: a prism of urban contestCirolia, L.R. Development Southern Africa, vol. 31, no. 3, 2014, pp. 397-411
- (W)Escaping the challenges of the city: a critique of Cape Town’s proposed satellite townCirolia, L.R. Urban Forum, vol. 25, no. 3, 2014, pp. 295-312
- Capturing land value increment to finance infrastructure investment-possibilities for South AfricaBrown-Luthango, M. Urban Forum, vol. 22, no. 1, 2011, pp 37-52
- Access to land for the urban poor: policy proposals for South African citiesBrown-Luthango, M. Urban Forum, vol. 21, no. 2, 2010, pp. 123-138
- Ecological outcomes of civic and expert-led urban greening projects using indigenous plant species in Cape Town, South AfricaAnderson, P.M.L., Avlonitis, G. & Ernstson, H. Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 127, 2014, pp. 104–113
- GIS data collection for flood risk managementMusungu, K., Motala, S. & Smit, J. PositionIT, issue 37, 2012, pp. 66-72
- Overcoming the challenge of vertical consolidation in South Africa's low income settlements: a case study of Du NoonMcGaffin, R., Cirolia, L. R., & Massyn, M. (2014). Overcoming the Challenge of Vertical Consolidation in South Africa’s Low-Income Settlements: a Case Study of Du Noon. Urban Forum, 26(1), 59–75. doi:10.1007/s12132-014-9232-6
- Brokering communities of knowledge and practice: reflections on the African Centre for Cities’ CityLab programmeAnderson, P.M.L., Brown-Luthango, M., Cartwright, A., Farouk, I. & Smit, W. Cities, vol. 32, no. 2, 2013, pp. 1-10
- The African Centre for Cities' Healthy Cities CityLab: understanding urban health in the Global SouthSmit, G. & Watson, V. Cities Health and Well-Being: Urban Age Hong Kong, 16-17 november 2011. Conference Compendium, London School of Economics and Political Science, Alfred Herrhausen Society, 2011. Published online: http://lsecities.net/media/objects/articles/the-african-centre-for-citi… [2014-09-25]
- Managing flood disasters under a changing climate: lessons from Nigeria and South AfricaOlorunfemi, F. NISER discussion paper no. 1. NISER Research Seminar Series, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research. Ibadan, Nigeria, 2011. Published online: http://www.proshareng.com/reports/3552 [2014-09-25]
- A participatory approach to data collection for GIS for flood risk management in informal settlements of Cape TownMusungu, K., Motala. S. & Smit, J. Proceedings of AfricaGEO 2011, Cape Town, South Africa, 2011. Published online: http://africageodownloads.info/ [2014-09-25]
- Examining the Feasibility of Informal Settlement Flood Early Warning Systems: Focus on the urban flood-risk experience of Kosovo and Masiphumelele residents, Cape Town, South AfricaSolomon, F.J. Master Thesis. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2011
- Barriers to Flood Risk Adaptation: A case study of cross-scale collaboration in the informal settlement of Graveyard Pond, PhilippiOrangio, C. Diss. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, 2012
- A Participatory GIS Approach to Flood Risk Assessment of Informal Settlements: The case of Cape Town.Musungu, K. Master Thesis. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2012
- Exploring and Profiling of Childhood Illnesses in Informal Settlements in Relation to Flooding: A case study of Barcelona, Cape Town, South AfricaMachiridza, R. Master Thesis. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2013
- Moving Through the City: Gender and Floods at Play. A case study in Sweet Home Farm informal settlement, Cape TownDixon, J. Master Thesis. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2013
- “We’ve got to address the underlying causes” A case-study of stakeholders´ initiatives to increase resilience to flood risk in Sweet Home informal settlement, Cape TownDesportes, I. Master Thesis. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2012
- Comanagement at the fringes: examining stakeholder perspectives at Macassar Dunes, Cape Town, South Africa: at the intersection of high biodiversity, urban poverty, and inequalityGraham, M. & Ernstson, H. Ecology and Society, vol. 17, no. 3, 2012, pp. 34
- Scale-crossing brokers and network governance of urban ecosystem services: the case of StockholmErnstson, H., Barthel, S., Andersson, E. & Borgström, S.T. Ecology and Society, vol. 15, no. 4, 2010, pp. 28
- The social production of ecosystem services: a framework for studying environmental justice and ecological complexity in urbanized landscapesErnstson, H. Landscape and Urban Planning: Urban Ecosystem Services, vol. 109, no. 1, 2013, pp. 7–17
- Ecosystem services as technology of globalization: on articulating values in urban natureErnstson, H. & Sörlin, S. Ecological Economics, vol. 86, 2012, pp. 274-284
- Urban ecological and social-ecological research in the City of Cape Town: insights emerging from an urban ecology CityLabAnderson, P. & Elmqvist, T. Ecology and Society, vol. 17, no. 4, 2012, pp. 23
- Using multi-criteria evaluation and GIS for flood risk analysis in informal settlements of Cape Town: the case of Graveyard PondMusungu, K., Motala, S. & Smit, J. South African Journal of Geomatics, vol. 1, no. 1, 2012, pp. 77-91
- Report on Flooding in the Informal Settlement ‘the Graveyard Pond’, Philippi, Cape Town, 2010 – 2011Drivdal, L. Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town, 2011
- Report on Flooding in the Informal Settlement ‘Egoli’, in Philippi/ Schaapkraal, Cape Town, 2010 and 2011Drivdal, L. /Report. Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town, 2011
- Local assessment of Cape Town: navigating the management complexities of urbanization, biodiversity, and ecosystem services in the Cape Floristic RegionGoodness, J. & Anderson, P.M.L. In Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities, T. Elmqvist, M. Fragkias, J. Goodness, B. Güneralp, P.J. Marcotullio, R.I. McDonald, S. Parnell, M. Schewenius, M. Sendstad, K.C. Seto and C. Wilkinson (eds.). Springer Netherlands, 2013, pp. 461-484
- Social network analysis (SNA)Erntson, H. In Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Vol. 6. Measurements, Indicators, and Research Methods for Sustainability, D. Fogel, S. Fredericks, L. Harrington and I. Spellerberg (eds.). Great Berrington: Berkshire Pub Group, 2012, pp. 322-325
- Regional assessment of AfricaAnderson, P.M.L., Okereke, C., Rudd, A. & Parnell, S. In Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities, T. Elmqvist et al. (eds.). Springer Netherlands, 2013, pp. 453-459
- Promoting green space in Cape Town, South Africa: the role of the African Centre for CitiesAnderson, P.M.L. In Urban Forests Trees, and Greenspace: A Political Ecology Perspective, L. A. Sandberg, A. Bardekjian and S. Butt (eds.). Earthscan-Routledge, 2014
- Understanding Cape Town's climateTadross, M., Taylor, A. & Johnston, P. In Climate Change at the City Scale: Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation in Cape Town, A. Cartwright, S. Parnell, G. Oelofse & S. Ward (eds). Oxford: Routledge, 2012
- Emerging lessons from the Climate Change Think TankCartwright, A., Parnell, S. & Oelofse, G. In Climate Change at the City Scale: Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation in Cape Town, A. Cartwright, S. Parnell, G. Oelofse & S. Ward (eds). Oxford: Routledge, 2012
- Climate at the city scale: the Cape Town climate change think tankCartwright, A., Oelofse, G., Parnell, S. & Ward, S. In Climate Change at the City Scale: Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation in Cape Town, A. Cartwright, S. Parnell, G. Oelofse & S. Ward (eds). Oxford: Routledge, 2012
- Supporting city scale decisions in the context of climate change: the case of the City of Cape TownCartwright, A. Cohen, B. & Liddel, D. In Climate Change at the City Scale: Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation in Cape Town, A. Cartwright, S. Parnell, G. Oelofse & S. Ward (eds). Oxford: Routledge, 2012
- Understanding the risks to Cape Town of inundation from the seaBrundrit, G. & Cartwright, A. In Climate Change at the City Scale: Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation in Cape Town, A. Cartwright, S. Parnell, G. Oelofse & S. Ward (eds). Oxford: Routledge, 2012
- The political-institutional conditions for climate change adaptation in South African municipalitiesTaylor, A., Cartwright, A. & Sutherland, C. Focales no. 18, AFD French Development Agency, 2014
- Towards a research and action agenda on urban planning: design and health equity in cities in low and middle-income countriesSmit, W., Hancock, T., Kumaresen, J., Santos-Burgoa, C., Sánchez-Kobashi Meneses, R. & Friel, S. Journal of Urban Health, vol. 88, no. 5, 2011, pp. 875-885
- Sea-level rise for Cape Town: impacts and adaptationBrundrit, G. & Cartwright, A. In Observations on Environmental Change in South Africa, L. Zietsman (ed). Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 2011
- Community-university engagement: the Philippi CityLab in Cape Town and the challenge of collaboration across boundariesBrown-Luthango, M. Higher Education, vol. 65, no. 3, 2013, pp. 309-324
- Climate Change Poverty and DevelopmentCartwright, A. In The CSI Handbook, 14th edition, published by Trialogue Publication in 2011.
- Climate Change At City Scale: Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation in Cape TownCartwright, A., Parnell, S., Oelofse, G., Ward, S. (eds). Published by Routledge 2012.
- Climate Change and Adaptation in African AgricultureZiervogel, G. and Cartwright, A. In In Fujikura and Kawanishi (eds) Climate Change Adaptation and International Development. Routledge 2010.
- Towards effective city planning: the case of Cape Town in identifying potential housing landBrown-Luthango, M., Makanga, P., & Smit, J. (2012). Towards Effective City Planning—The Case of Cape Town in Identifying Potential Housing Land. Urban Forum, 24(2), 189–203. doi:10.1007/s12132-012-9153-1
Centrally involved in establishing the Cape Town Local Interaction Platform of Mistra Urban Futures in 2010, and a key part of CTLIP planning, budgeting and reporting ever since. Research on various aspects of urban governance, particularly strategic urban planning and the governance of informal settlements.Contact me