Research Officer: Climate change and urban sustainability
My work fits within and contributes to ACC's climate change and urban sustainability theme / stream. As part of the Mistra Urban Futuresprogramme and UCT's African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), under the supervision of Professor Sue Parnell, I am doing my PhD research on the question: why is it so difficult for local governments in cities to act progressively on climate change? The follow on question is: can processes of co-generating knowledge help in addressing / alleviating some of these difficulties? In order to answer these questions I am 1 of 4 ACC researchers that are being embedded in / seconded to the City of Cape Town part-time over the next 3 years. Moving between the university and the municipality provides an amazing opportunity to tackle these questions from both theoretical and practical standpoints.
Alongside my PhD work I am also currently involved in:
- a comparative investigation into climate change adaptation by three South African urban and peri-urban municipalities (Cape Town, eThekwini and Theewaterskloof), funded by the French Development Agency (AFD);
- a research project exploring the governance of flooding and coastal inundation risks in Cape Town, funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the UK's Department for International Development (DfID);
- the Cape Town Climate Change Think Tank, a partnership between UCT, the City, local NGOs and businesses that creates a forum to review and debate emerging work on diverse topics related to addressing climate change in the city and a mechanism for commissioning new pieces of research that are deemed necessary for informing public decision-making.
Within UCT's Environmental and Geographical Science (EGS) Department I work closely with the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG). I also continue to be linked with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), specifically the group in Oxford, UK.