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Urban resilience think tool to be launched

- By Wits University

A new ‘think tool’ for municipal officials, giving some background on resilience theory and some of its more practical implications, will be launched at Wits.

The report, titled Urban Resilience Thinking for Municipalities, is the result of a ‘new kid on the block’ concept that has rapidly gained a central place in spatial and urban planning policy in South Africa over the past few years, and is not designed as a manual or tool box, but rather as a tool to promote urban resilience thinking.

Resilience thinking, as the focal point of the City of Johannesburg’s new Growth and Development Strategy, Joburg 2040 (2011), refers to, among others, social resilience, environmental resilience and economic resilience.

The Urban Resilience Thinking for Municipalities document was prepared as a contribution to the Department of Science and Technology’s Grand Challenge on Global Change and as a complement to flagship initiatives such as the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas project, recognising both the threats posed by poorly managed urban areas and of the opportunities that towns and cities offer for greater resilience and sustainability.

The three-year funded programme at Wits is titled Urban Resilience Assessment for Sustainable Urban Development (with Professor Philip Harrison as the lead investigator) and was developed with the specific intention of giving support to local government in South Africa. This was done with the recognition that municipalities have a vital role in proactively managing processes of change.

The programme is a partnership between Wits and the Gauteng City-Region Observatory. It is also trans-disciplinary, with a working group that includes researchers in a number of fields including urban planning, architecture, law and environmental science.

Professor Mark Swilling, Division Head: Sustainable Development in the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch and Academic Director of the Sustainability Institute will deliver the keynote address, with other speakers including Harrison, Professor Barend Erasmus and Professor Alison Todes from Wits.

The media is welcome to attend.  View the programme.

The launch takes place as follows:

Date: Monday, 16 February 2015

Time: 11:00 (lunch will be served after the launch)

Venue: Wits Club, Braamfontein Campus West

RSVP and media enquiries: Vivienne Rowland on (011) 717-1017 or email