Edgar Pieterse is Director of the African Centre for Cities University of Cape Town, South Africa
The Department of Urban Planning and Design invites you to attend a lunch time lecture entitled “Encountering Africa’s Urban Futures” by Edgar Pieterse this Thursday. Professor Pieterse, Director of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, will offer an account of the institutional and intellectual journey of the African Centre for Cities to stare into eyes of the urbanization drama of Africa.
Africa’s future is decidedly urban and urgent. In just two decades Africa will more than double its urban population and everyone, governments, business, social movements and universities are singularly unprepared for this impending reality. In fact, one could argue that there is a willful denial that anything is afoot judging from the political and intellectual inertia that mark institutions across the African continent. It is into this depressing situation that the African Centre for Cities came into being in 2008. From the outset the intention has been to combine academic rigor with grounded pragmatism; and to find novel ways of producing new knowledge that can both illuminate what is going on and instigate processes to figure out what could possibly be done. However, this pragmatism has also been intertwined with a healthy respect for ideas and theory in order to explore original and endogenous frames of reference to deal with the emergent African urban.