regenerative cape town: a complex systems approach to settlement upgrading

This theory and technology paper is being driven by my personal interest in cities, their networks, and the role they play in creating the urban world around us. Having previously studied sustainable development, I have become acutely aware of the myriad social, environment and economic problems that exist today and how our methods of development have ultimately given birth to these problems.

Moreover, it is becoming increasingly apparent that cities and the resources that they consume play a central role in pushing the earth toward its ecological boundaries. As cities across the developing world continue to urbanise and modernise at dramatic rates, they will inevitably play a central role in the maintenance of the natural systems we depend on for our development, and survival.

However, cities in the global South, like Cape Town, face complex developmental challenges: histories of colonial urban development have made it near impossible to address current spatial and economic divides, they are commonly seen to be some of the most inefficient and unequal in the world, and the ever-increasing informality makes governing and servicing them an increasingly complicated task.

By researching the informal city and the dynamics that characterise it, I hope to find ways which these informal systems can be enhanced or formalised in order improve service delivery, activate a locally based and resilient economy, and improve the well-being of individuals.

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devon vos