UK-South Africa collaboration
The collaboration on South African research began with the 2015 ESRC-National Research Foundation Newton Call for Collaborative Research: Urban Transformations in South Africa. A total of four projects were subsequently launched with ESRC funding in early 2016:
- Changing Socio-Spatial Inequalities: Population Change and the Lived Experience of Inequality in Urban South Africa
- Community-Led Upgrading for Self-Reliance in South Africa: Integrated Construction and Environmental Management Systems in Informal Settlements
- Living the Urban Periphery: Investment, Infrastructure and Economic Change in African City-Regions
- Urban Transformation in South Africa Through Co-Designing Energy Services Provision Pathways
Various other projects within the wider Urban Transformations portfolio also included collaborations with South African research institutions. The lessons and knowledge developed during this phase have also been incorporated into the large, multidisciplinary Building Capacity for the Future City in Developing Countries (PEAK), an innovative international urban research programme that focuses on cities in South Africa and the UK as well as China, Colombia and India.
In January 2018, Urban Transformations co-hosted a seminar, ‘Cities in transition – Unequal innovation in African cities’, in Cape Town with South African partners, showcasing some of the ESRC-funded research that came out of this work. The event brought together a range of speakers to explore the continued urban challenges facing the country in the wake of apartheid, from informal settlements and resource scarcity to environmental degradation and spatial inequalities. It also provided an opportunity for knowledge sharing across disciplines and enable urban specialists to learn about emerging, cutting-edge research on the complex changes shaping South Africa’s cities.
Some of the outputs of this research will also be showcased in a forthcoming volume, provisionally entitled Metropolitan Presence and Infrastructural Futures: Complexity and the Emergent African City, to be published in late 2020 with Manchester University Press (MUP) and edited by Michael Keith and Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos.