If an urban planner wants to design and build a city so that it can withstand sweltering temperatures during increasingly hot summer months, their first thought might be to use synthetic shade-cloth to create shelter. But if they look at this design problem in the context of climate change and the tools offered by nature itself, a better solution is to use trees to dampen the effects of heat islands in an otherwise built-up, cemented city-scape.
Watch this webinar: An Embedded Researcher approach to integrate climate information into decision-making in southern African cities
Building the climate resilience of African cities fits squarely within the category of complex problems that may benefit from taking a transdisciplinary approach to co-producing actionable knowledge between multiple actors and disciplines.
Water is the lifeblood for urban settlements. Disruptions in supply and/or wastewater management hold enormous risks, both for human health and economic wellbeing. It goes without say that the investment in bulk water infrastructure requires strategic and long-term perspective. However, in the southern African context, many city engineers responsible for urban infrastructure on the ground face a multiplicity of challenges that may frustrate their efforts to plan proactively.
What constitutes a developed African city? How does Blantyre City achieve it? And is the waste-to-energy value chain a realistic goal for the city? Those were the key questions posed to participants at a stakeholder think tank workshop in Blantyre, Malawi.
Welcome to the June 2019 edition of the Future Climate for Africa newsletter
Keeping water in the taps of a city the size of Cape Town is a team effort. It calls for a spectrum of people to work together to manage a water system that spreads for many kilometres beyond the urban edge of the city across the mountainous catchments with at least five major dams feeding it. The collaboration involves people responsible for the day-to-day operational decisions, through to those who handle the decades-long infrastructure planning and building, and many layers of technicians and bureaucrats in between.
Lusaka is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, and urban densification and economic growth will call for more strategic planning of its water supply and infrastructure. The Zambian capital has enough water supply for the foreseeable future, however the growing demand for this resource from city users, the hydro-power scheme on the river which supplies Lusaka’s electricity, and the sugarcane industry upriver of the city, will call for greater cooperation between the city and various government departments that are responsible for these different sectors.
When the Mozambican capital of Maputo gets hit by heavy storms, some parts of the city experience flash floods. This leads to a build-up of stagnant water and swampy conditions that are ideal for outbreaks of diseases like malaria or cholera. The more densely populated and poorly designed parts of the city are most at risk.
Welcome to the March 2019 edition of the Future Climate for Africa newsletter
From the 13th - 15th of February team members of FRACTAL met in Cape Town to discuss and reflect on the programme’s work to date, its impact and its future. Highlights include advances in climate science over the region, learning from the nine southern African cities partnered with FRACTAL, and experiences from the network of embedded researchers within these cities.