Bearing the Brunt of Environmental Change

Bearing the Brunt of Environmental Change: Understanding Climate Adaptation and Transformation Challenges in African Cities

April 16-17, 2013 | London, UK

While rapid advances are now being made in understanding the current and likely future dynamics of urban environmental/climate change under different scenarios, the evidence base remains highly uneven. The most extensive and robust evidence exists for OECD countries and other selected hotspots, such as Rio de Janeiro,Durban and the urban areas of small island developing states. Our knowledge and understanding of the processes of change as they are already affecting many African urban areas, and will do so increasingly through this century, remain seriously inadequate and patchy. Not only does this lacuna represent a major academic opportunity to learn across the diversity of Africa’s 54 countries straddling very different environmental and linguistic-cultural regions, but the ability to formulate and implement appropriate climate change mitigation (CCM) and adaptation (CCA) initiatives depends on appropriate evidence and understanding of the underlying drivers and processes. The objectives included: (a) Participants shared experiences and forged comparative perspectives that has enriched our understanding and opened new horizons for urban change theory (from which other parts of the world will have much to learn) and relevant applied communities of practice. (b) Published outputs – principally a special issue of Urban Studies which is currently in the works, plus a policy brief that will be translated into French, Portuguese and Arabic –in order to achieve the widest possible dissemination and hence impact of this distinctive contribution to urban studies and to policy engagement in this crucial arena.

OrganizersDavid Simon, UGEC SSC member and assisted by Hayley Leck
Funders: Urban Studies journal as the winning bid in its international seminar series competition for 2012. Co-funding from UN-HABITAT, the Urban Climate Change Research Network, UGEC Project, and the ACC DAR project based at La Sapienza University of Rome
Other Partners: African Studies Association of the UK broadened the base and increased the scale of participation

Read the post-workshop recap here.


Simon, D. & Leck, H. (eds) (2015). Bearing the Brunt of Environmental Change: Understanding Climate Adaptation and Transfromation in African Cities. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 13, pp. 1-116.