Sophie Oldfield

On the 16-19 March the African Centre for Cities deployed its 16 strong delegation to attend the Southern African Cities Studies Conference, being hosted by the Urban Futures Centre based at the University of Technology in Durban. The conference is the only one of its kind that is dedicated to cities in the region. The conference poses the following challenge:

‘With increasing urbanization (and decline in some urban areas) and levels of poverty and disparity within urban spaces there is no better time than the present to ask how we can better our urban planning? What is it about the disciplinary practices and philosophies of town planning, architecture and urban design more broadly that limit the transformative capacity of cities as equitable and inclusive spaces? We are interested in papers that directly tackle the epistemological core of architecture, planning and urban and landscape design in search of different modes of theorisation and practice that move us towards creative, pragmatic solutions to current practices that all too often perpetuate disparities’ DUT.

The ACC sent a large group of academics to present on a range of topics (see complete list of papers below). Of specific interest to Mistra Urban Futures first and second phases were Ntombi Marrengane, Zarina Patel & Pippin Anderson’s, paper entitled ‘Knowledge Coproduction in African Cities: Building capacities for Africa’s urban age’; Saskia Greyling, Zarina Patel and Amy Davison’s paper ‘Getting to Grips with Sustainability Disjunctures in the City of Cape Town: insights offered through knowledge co-production’; Rike Sitas’ paper entitled ‘Towards an Affective Urban Studies’; and a panel co-hosted by Shari Daya and Rike Sitas called ‘Cities, Heritage and the Politics of Affect in Contemporary South Africa’. Prof Sophie Oldfield gave the closing plenary.

The conference is held every two years and hosted by a different institution. The African Centre for Cities will be hosting the 2018 conference.

Titles of all ACC papers at SACSC:

  • Daya, Shari: City Stories: Urban modernity in Bombay’s underworld
  • Gotz, Graeme & Pieterse, Edgar: Constituting a Dialogue of the Deaf: An institutional ethnography of competing paradigms in Gauteng's mega-human settlements
  • Greyling, Saskia, Patel, Zarina and Davison, Amy’s paper ‘Getting to Grips with Sustainability Disjunctures in the City of Cape Town: insights offered through knowledge co-production’
  • Haysom, Gareth & Tawodzera, Godfrey: Measurement Drives Diagnosis and Response: Breadth or depth in urban food security assessment?
  • Marrengane, Ntombini, Patel, Zarina & Anderson, Pippin: Knowledge Coproduction in African Cities: Building capacities for Africa’s urban age’
  • Nyamnjoh, Henrietta M: The Changing Dynamics of Work in the Informal Economy: The case of Cameroonian migrants in Cape Town
  • Roux, Naomi: Double Vision: Memory and ruination in South African cities
  • Scheba, Suraya: Engaging the Radical Potential of Southern Urbanism
  • Sitas, Rike: Towards an Affective Urban Studies
  • Sutherland, Catherine, Scott, Dianne & Hordijk, Michaela: Urban Water Governance for More Inclusive Development: A reflection on the ‘Waterscapes’ of Durban, South Africa

ACC’s project Consuming Urban Poverty hosted a panel discussion on Food Systems with the following partners across the continent: Easther Chigumira; George Godwin Wagah; Godfrey Tawodzera; Owen Sichone; Jacqueline Borel-Saladine; Muna Shifa; Ann Jean Donald.

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