Study Space IX: Cape Town

Study Space VII

Revaluing the City: Land, Infrastructure and the Environment as a Catalyst for Change

Past Programs
  • Panama’s Explosive Urban Growth (La Ciudad de Panama, Panama 2007)
  • Property, the Environment, and Cultural Diversity in Colombia (Bogota, Colombia 2008)
  • Private and Public Lands in the Post-Colonial North American West (Denver, Colorado 2008)
  • The Use and Control of Space and Institutions for Social Transformation: The Case of Medellin (Medellin, Colombia 2009)
  • Inclusive and Sustainable Rio: Cultural Diversity, Property and the Environment (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2010)
  • Planning for Disaster: Place, Population, Culture and the Environment (Istanbul, 2013)
  • Beyond Affordable Housing: An Interdisciplinary Multinational Approach to Adequate Housing Options (Barcelona, Spain 2014)
  • Phoenix Cities: Urban Recovery and Resilience in the Wake of Conflict, Crisis and Disaster (Warsaw, Poland 2015)

Monday, June 27 – Friday, July 1, 2016  •  Cape Town, South Africa

Africa is experiencing the most rapid urbanization in history, but amid severe constraints. With an urban population second only to Asia, and projected to reach 50 percent by 2030, Africa faces an urban ‘poly-crisis.’ There are many calls to grow local and national economies, enable employment, upgrade governance, improve global competitiveness, and reduce inequalities and poverty. Problems of income inequality, economic exclusion, food insecurity, inadequate transportation networks, lack of urban services, environmental degradation, and climate change present novel management and legal challenges for cities across Africa. Transforming African cities into sustainable and equitable formations is an unprecedented challenge.

Cape Town, South Africa’s oldest city and southernmost port city, is nestled in the curve of Table Mountain in a topographically tight area of 2461 square kilometers. It is one of the world’s most desirable tourist destinations and home to a population of 3.7 million people. It is the second most competitive city in Africa because of its strong institutional effectiveness and human capital ratings and ranks 73rd globally. It is also home to South Africa’s parliament.

Cape Town has been a profoundly unequal city since the 17th century and the days of slavery.  Areas of “slum urbanism” characterized by poverty, social stress and exclusion are growing.  Relentless pressure exists to increase the density of residential land and to revalue the city’s recreational, agricultural and public land and ecosystem services.  Climate change presents a real risk to the coastal city in the form of storm surges, sea level rise and flooding.

Over the course of the week, Study Space participants will develop a wider ‘southern’ perspective on balancing issues related to urban growth with a focus on income inequality and economic exclusion. Participants will explore topics such as:

  • Equitable and sustainable development
  • Property rights and land use law
  • Affordable housing and housing finance
  • Taxation and infrastructure finance
  • Cultural heritage and historic preservation
  • Environmental law
  • Climate change

This is a joint project with University of Cape Town’s African Center for Cities, a leading think tank focused on solving Sub-Saharan Africa’s urban problems through scholarship and the creation of knowledge networks across the continent.

Download the PDF to apply now.  Email your completed application to Karen Johnston at

NOTE:  We are experiencing technical difficulties with our online application.  We hope to have it fixed by Jan. 26.

Apply Online Now 

The daily lecture topics and speakers will be announced in the spring with the final daily schedule.  This schedule provides the theme for the lectures each day, the site visits, and planned group meals.

Sunday, June 26 - Evening Welcome Reception

Monday, June 27 - Cape Town:  Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

  • Site Visit:  Signal Hill - metro Cape Town at a glance
  • Lunch and dinner included

Tuesday, June 28 - Local Government Reform as a Catalyst for Change

  • Site Visit:  Langa Township
  • Lunch included

Wednesday, June 29 -Environmental Challenges:  Sustainable Development, Biodiversity Preservation and Climate Change

  • Free afternoon for sightseeing or personal research

Thursday, June 30 - Land Transformation through Restitution, Redistribution and Tenure Reform:  Lessons Learned and Strategies for Moving Forward

  • Site Visit:  Two Rivers Urban Park
  • Group reflections and next steps
  • Lunch and dinner included

Friday, July 1 - Cultural Heritage:  Challenges in Preserving South African Memory and Identity

  • Site Visit:  District Six Museum, Company Gardens and Slave Lodge
  • Workshop adjourns in mid-afternoon to enable participants to depart Cape Town


The program fee is $1,300 and includes scheduled group meals, speaker honoraria and site visits. Hotel, airline tickets and airport ground transportation must be purchased separately.

A block of hotel rooms at the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge will be reserved for Sunday through Thursday nights (with extension possible) and is estimated to be $550 plus taxes (based on current exchange rates), and includes breakfast each day.  Participants will be responsible for booking their hotel rooms directly and will be provided with the instructions upon acceptance into the program. The block of hotel rooms will be held until Tuesday, April 26.

Participants are responsible for their passports and visas.

A $600 deposit will be due at the time of application and is refundable until Monday, March 7. The balance of the program fee ($700) is due by Monday, April 18, and is nonrefundable.

All participants are required to submit their CV or resume, and a short biography upon acceptance into the program. You must also provide your name exactly as it appears on your passport to receive your official letter of invitation, as required for the visa process.

One month before Study Space IX begins, participants will receive reading materials and are expected to have studied the materials prior to arrival in Cape Town.

Attendees are expected to participate fully, including daily lectures, site visits, group discussions and dinners.  Participants are invited lead one structured lecture or group discussion, and may submit topics for consideration.

Participants must submit one original article that relates to the Study Space IX theme, Revaluing the City:  Land, Infrastructure and the Environment as a Catalyst for Change. The papers will be published in a symposium format in a South African journal and distributed worldwide.