Urban Festival 2021 | Conference

How will our cities recover and rebuild amidst multiple crises? Join the virtual conversation

12 Sessions over 3 days covering urgent topics from urban governance, to mobility and public space.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3


27 October 2021

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08:30-08:50 Opening Address by Honourable Deputy Minster Obed Bapela, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Interview with Sithole Mbanga, CEO SA Cities Network and curator Rashiq Fataar, director Our Future Cities

Sithole Mbanga

Rashiq Fataar

08:50-09:00 Spoken Word Performance by Emmah Mabye
09:00–09:30 Lecture: Designing for Recovery and Rebuilding Dr. Luyanda Mpahlwa
Interview: The nuts and bolts of Emergency Governance: The case of Gauteng Province

Mduduzi Mbada, Head: Policy Research & Advisory Services Unit, Office of the Premier, Gauteng Province

Mduduzi Mbada
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10:10-10:30 Good Hood Stories Film focussed on Helenvale Safety and Peace through Urban Upgrading (SPUU) Programme.
10:30-12:00 Recalibration and innovation of post pandemic governance
The pandemic represents an opportunity to recalibrate and innovate in city management and urban development for the greater good of society. This session will provide an opportunity to explore some of those possibilities.
Andrew Boraine,
Dr. Soobs Moonsammy
12:00-13:00 LUNCH BREAK
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13:00-13:10 Music: Southern Cities composed by Ghanaian Cape Town-based musician and insurgent planner, the first original song of urbanism in the Global South.
13:10-13:30 City Sustainability Showcase: Tshwane House
In line with the government’s commitment to green building, Tshwane House incorporates sustainable building features and has achieved a five-star Green Star SA rating.
13:30-15:00 Cities as green job engines
The constraints that climate change and environmental degradation place on economies have created the opportunity for extensive growth in green industry and technology. This session will explore how cities could attract green industries and stimulate employment in the green technology industries while creating lasting benefits for youth and communities.

Matthew Cullinan,, Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, Collen Masango

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15:15-16:45 The case for rebuilding cities through a circular economy approach
South Africa’s post-Covid-19 Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan highlights the circular economy as a key component, to ensure environmental protection and the sustainable use of the country’s natural resources.
Aleksander Stojakovic, Dr.Carolina Giraldo Nohra, Deborah Nartey, Paul Currie


Thursday, 28 October 2021

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08:30-08:50 Opening Address by the Honourable Deputy Minster Ms. Pamela Tshwete, Department of Human Settlements
Round Up of Day 1 by MC Ayabonga Cawe
08:50-09:00 Spoken Word Performance by Emmah Mabye
09:00–09:30 Lecture: Don’t stop talking: ​Community Engagement in ​
a crisis in Soweto
Monique Cranna
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10:10-10:30 Interview between Rashiq Fataar and Jodi Allemeier on New City Models for the South African context. Jodi Allemeier
10:30-12:00 The race to decarbonise our cities
Cities are where 78% of the world’s energy is consumed and 60% of the world’s emissions are produced. As cities around the world race to decarbonise, those in Africa and the Global South are in particular need of partnerships and financing to achieve ambitious climate goals.
Megan Euston-Brown, Kedibone Modiselle, Hastings Chikoko
12:00-13:00 LUNCH BREAK
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13:00-13:10 Huda Tayob shares a series of films about her project
The Archive of Forgetfulness Project.
Huda Tayob
13:10-13:30 City Sustainability Showcase: Blesbokspruit Wetland Project
Rehabilitation of one of the largest wetlands in Southern Africa, returning it to international RAMSAR standards.
13:30-15:00 Affordable housing as key driver of sustainable cities
This session will explore how rapidly delivering affordable housing at scale could be a key driver in achieving more efficient and sustainable cities and inner city areas..
Carel Kleynhans

Georgina Smit

Karabelo Collen Pooe

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15:15-16:45 Public spaces and streets for post-Covid city recovery
This session will explore the barriers and opportunities for South African and African cities to ignite action around tactical urbanism approaches to reconfigure the public realm and city streets as part of Covid and Post-Covid city strategies.
Bavusile Ramakane

Rashiq Fataar

Carolyn Daher

Demetrio Scopelliti


Friday, 29 October 2021

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08:30-08:50 Opening Address by the SA Cities Network Council Chairperson and Executive Mayor of Buffalo City, Xola Pakati.
Round Up of Day 2 by MC Ayabonga Cawe
08:50-09:00 Spoken Word Performance by Emmah Mabye
09:00–09:30 Lecture: Mobility as the foundation for rebuilding cities by Ms. Yolisa Kani, SA Cities Network Board Chairperson and Chief Business Development Offices, Transnet SOC Yolisa Kani
Panel discussion: Leading thinkers and researchers in the transport sector on whether mobility can be the foundation for crisis response, rebuilding, and future resilience Sean Cooke

Gail Jennings

Ofentse Mokwena

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10:10-11:00 Launching the State of the Cities Report: Interview with SA Cities Network CEO, Sithole Mbanga Sithole Mbanga
11:00-12:00 Scaling community-led projects for city wide impact
This session will reflect on the 12 IUDF Seed Funding community projects and explore the potential for a scalable approach, elevating them from micro test sites to having neighbourhood and city-wide impact.
Mzikhona Mgedle

Nontobeko Sibisi

12:00-13:00 LUNCH BREAK
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13:00-13:10 Presentation on a political cartoon mural that will be installed at a prominent location in downtown Johannesburg.
13:10-13:30 City Sustainability Showcase: Aller River Pilot Project
Community-led cleaning and maintaining of the Aller river and forested area around it with the employment of ‘Eco-Champs’,
13:30-15:00 Have Smart(er) Cities enhanced city response and resilience?
As cities navigate the new world of emergency governance, can smart(er) cities drive decision-making, action and governance supporting the response, recovery and rebuild processes?
During this session the panellists will consider and propose ways forward for smart city and innovation interventions to assist in the response and recovery to crises and emergencies.
Richard Gevers

Judy Blackhouse

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15:15-16:45 Events and Culture as stimulus for city recovery
Humans have a need for gathering, social interaction and shared experiences. While COVID-19 has transformed the world we live in, cultural events, activations and festivals could form a key part of the strategy to reinvigorate city life and rebuild confidence across the country.
Dillion Phiri
Caryn Green
Marco Morgan

The Urban Festival aims to provide a platform for learning, experimentation, and knowledge exchange on the implementation of a transformative urban agenda. The festival enables active dialogue between a range of urban actors. The Urban Festival is hosted during October “Urban Month” and ends on UN Habitat’s World Cities Day which is on 31 October.