Linking Science, Policy and Society in the pursuit of sustainable urban development

Linking Science, Policy and Society in the pursuit of sustainable urban development

Join us for a discussion on the science, policy and society nexus in forging a sustainable urban future

One of the limitations of urban development in African Cities is the siloed nature of urban planning concepts and designs. The limited interaction between science, policy and societal domains in urban development, leading the precarious development, define most Cities on the continent. Even when there is some level of interaction, it is limited in its scope and nature to inspire any desired change. The lack of proactive action on urban development in Africa leading to what some scholars refer to as secondary Cities is not just about the lack of finance to roll out major infrastructure but the lack of knowledge that could inspire the new forms of change desired. The desired knowledge to bring about this change is locked up in singular domains, requiring innovative approaches to unlock. The session brings together scientists, policy and social actors to engage on the broad question of how to integrative approaches can complement each other in the pursuit of sustainable urban development in Africa.


Host: ICLEI Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Session Summary

This session, hosted by Kweku Koranteng of ICLEI Africa invited researchers who participated in the LIRA 2030 project (Leading Integrated Research Agenda) to share insights from their projects as to how we might build better connections and understandings across science, society and policy. Koranteng stressed the importance of understanding society as a distinct knowledge space, and raised the issue of finance and it’s influential role in foreclosing and unlocking opportunities for local development.

Alice McClure of the University of Cape Town’s Climate Systems Analysis Group, spoke about her research on transformative adaptation for Climate Change in African Cities. This research brought together a wide range of stakeholders to tackle issues through unconventional games and activities that aimed to break down siloes between knowledge types and allow for a true blending of perspectives. Key to the success of these learning labs was a focus on challenging power asymmetries, and an intent to remain responsive to the emergent ideas and visions of the group.

Kareem Buyana of the Urban Action Lab at Makerere University shared on his team’s project in Kampala City where the local community worked with researchers to identify local, practical ways to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.These outcomes were then taken up by UNECA (UN Economic Commission for Africa) and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Uganda. Buyana echoed other panelists’ calls for co-design and co-production throughout the process, and made particular mention of ensuring that produced knowledge was created in digestible formats for everyday citizens