When climate researchers wanted to draw up accessible scientific information to support Lusaka’s city officials, so they can better plan their development responses to include future possible changes in the region’s climate, they decided on a novel approach.
This webinar provides an overview of the City Learning Lab approach as a collaborative method for framing climate-related problems and solutions. The concept of City Learning Labs is based on the principles of social learning labs: processes that engage a variety of stakeholders in finding solutions for a specific question or problem that they all perceive as relevant and urgent.
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.
Urban flooding is a major challenge in Ouagadougou. People may settle in flood-prone parts of the West African city, because they need to be close to the business centre and to job opportunities, or because they may have inherited land from their family. They often build informal homes in these places, in spite of the high risk of water-borne diseases like cholera or malaria during the rainy season, because of limited housing options in this ever more densely populated city where formal housing may be too expensive to buy or rent.
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.