Articles, reports and resources we are reading and using.

World Cities Report 2016: Urbanization and Development – Emerging Futures

UN Habitat published their 2016 report which analyses the urban development of the past twenty years presented in this maiden edition of the World Cities Report shows, with compelling evidence, that there are new forms of collaboration and cooperation, planning, governance, finance and learning that can sustain positive change. It conveys a clear message that the pattern of urbanization needs to change in order to better respond to the challenges of our time, to address issues such as inequality, climate change, informality, insecurity, and the unsustainable forms of urban expansion. Download the full report here.

City-Level Decoupling

The International Resource Panel (IRP) published a report in 2013 that highlights the role of cities and how they contribute to decoupling , natural resource use and its effects on economic growth. While focusing on how cities are building blocks for sustainable development, innovative solutions that can contribute to the well-being of society are explored. Read more here.

How To Built Transport Oriented Cities

South African cities have made much progress in terms of spatial transformation since 1994 but continue to be in a challenging position as they are far from achieving goals set out by the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). The report explores possible ways transformation can take place in both built environment and public transportation. Download the full report here.

Better Growth, Better Cities: Rethinking and Redirecting Urbanisation in Africa

A recently published report by the African Centre for Cities as input to the 2015 African Progress Report launched by Kofi Annan in June. Read the entire report on the African Centre for Cities website, here.

First initiative in mapping the local entrepreneurial ecosystem

Maija de Rijk-Huys, head of the Pwc Accelerator and Alexandra Fraser Chairperson of the Silicon Cape Initiative, presented the results of the first survey on the state of emerging enterprises in South Africa, the first initiative in mapping the local entrepreneurial ecosystem (in partnership with Microsoft Bizpark, Wesgro and City of TshwaneFind the Survey here.

South Africa’s bold priorities for inclusive growth

A new McKinsey Global Institute report, South Africa’s big five: Bold priorities for inclusive growth, recommends reigniting the country’s economic progress by focusing on five opportunities: advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, natural gas, service exports, and the agricultural value chain. Find the report here

CAPE TOWN – Densification as a cure for a segregated cityTwenty years after democracy, Cape Town suffers from extensive urban sprawl, due to the legacy of the Apartheid spatial policy and the middle class ideal of single-family homes on individual plots of land. Sprawl is causing huge economical, environmental and social problems. Can we envisage a more compact and dense Cape Town, curing the many engrained patterns of unequal and unjust spatial divisions? Find the report here

BFAP BASELINE Agricultural Outlook 2015- 2024
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has developed an agri-processing index, which ranks the best products in terms of employment potential and performance in local and global markets. The BFAP Baseline 2015 provides projections for key sectors, including meat, milk and dairy products, wine, sugar and grains. See the full report here

South African Township Economies and Commercial Property Markets

Despite numerous studies on townships, research into township economies and related commercial real estate markets is limited. The objective of this report is to develop a conceptual framework that can be used to better understand township economies and related commercial real estate markets. Existing research on township economies will also be reviewed in terms of this framework. Access here

Towards an Understanding of Intermediate Cities in South Africa

In 2012, with the support of strategic partners, the South African Cities Network (SACN) embarked on an exploratory research study into South Africa’s ‘secondary cities’. This particular study takes a deeper look into six intermediate cities with the aim of contributing to our understanding of what might be different or unique about these places.  Access here

Into Africa: The continent’s Cities of Opportunity :  Over the last few years, PwC has taken the insights gained from the key indicators and variables developed for its global report to expand the investigative reach of Cities of Opportunity.In fact, the diagnostic tools developed for this global report are particularly useful in analysing the social and economic performance of Africa’s cities.Access: here

DASUDA Urban Design Event: Accra Revisited showcases the thoughts of West African and European innovative thinkers who came together to rethink Accra’s urban development with an outcomes based approach. The event was a first spark to ignite collaboration between Dutch and Ghanaian professionals in the broad field of physical planning. Access here

SENSEable CITY GUIDE CAPE TOWN : The city guide shows the results of the research done on a Cape Town township,  Khayelitsha.  The students walked the streets of Khayelitsha with residents of the area and met with many of the planners who are envisioning the future of mobility for the area.   Access the research document here

GATED COMMUNITIES IN SOUTH AFRICA: Comparison of four case studies in Gauteng

In 2002, CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) Boutek embarked on extensive research on gated communities in South Africa. Access the research document here

State of Cape Town Report

The State of Cape Town 2014 report is a biennial report – the fifth in the series – produced by the City of Cape Town. The purpose of the report is to provide a snapshot of Cape Town with up-to date information and analyses of the most pertinent urban development issues facing the city, its residents and businesses.


Integrated Urban Development Framework : The IUDF marks a new deal for South African cities and towns. The IUDF builds on various chapters in the National Development Plan (NDP) and extends Chapter 8 ‘Transforming human settlements and the national space economy’, and its vision for urban South Africa: Download it here or here


Tracking Africa’s progress : African economies have sustained unprecedented rates of growth, driven mainly by strong domestic demand, improved macroeconomic management, a growing middle class, and increased political stability. As the continent continues to evolve, the African Development Bank’s Tracking Africa’s Progress in Figures publication looks at the key megatrends of the last few decades that will shape Africa’s future. Download the full report here

A visual history of the future

This paper is concerned with how future cities have been visualised, what they sought to communicate and why. The aim is to identify and understand the dominant paradigms that have been portrayed in these visualisations. The paper is an evidence based analysis of visual futures.  Download it here (Source: UK Government’s Foresight Future of Cities Project)

An economic analysis of the Barcelona ’92 Olympic Games : The best way to revive the city, which brought together efforts in urban renovation and external projection, was its nomination in October of 1986 for the organization of the Games of the XXV Olympiad in the summer of 1992. Between these two dates, Barcelona would go from depression to economic boom. Download it here (Source: Ferran Brunet, Centre d’Estudis Olímpics (UAB)


The Safe Cities Index 2015 : The report is based on an index composed of more than 40 quantitative and qualitative indicators with a focus on 50 cities. These indicators are split across four thematic categories: digital security; health security; infrastructure safety; and personal safety. Download the report here. (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by NEC)