Talking TransformationAug 24, 2023
TTPod 3.11: "Beneath the Tip of Iceberg" - In Pursuit of Harmony and a Multicultural South Africa with Revs. Andrew Esterhuizen and Bossie Muller
Our guests are Reverends Andrew Esterhuizen and Bossie Muller. The two of them have taken their own extensive personal expertise in working with communities into Culture Connect, a cultural diversity project falling under the Unit for Reconciliation and Justice in the Beyers Naude Centre for Public Theology (BNC) at the
University of Stellenbosch.
They have worked extensively with communities, municipalities, businesses and corporates. Bossie and
Andrew explain the four platforms underpinning the Culture Connect methodology and why these are relevant to the transformation of our communities in 2023 almost three decades on from the democratic era in South Africa.
Their approach to facilitating "courageous conversations", and fostering healing and understanding between community groups is compelling and thought-provoking for any listener engaged in capacity building and planning with communities.
The episode is a reminder that there’s so often a need to go beyond the attention-grabbing headlines
and deeper into the symptoms and issues that cause the conflict and damage.
Recorded 22nd August 2023
TTPod 3.10: "Open Circuit / Closed Circuit" - in conversation with the Now Now architecture contest collaborative
In this episode of the Talking Transformation Podcast, we engage with four of the collaborators behind the inaugural NowNow architecture competition - https://www.nownowcompetition.com/.
It's a unique and new take on the opportunities afforded by a new sporting event in the Cape Town calendar - Formula E racing - and a brief to design a sustainable and functional pavilion for the event.
How could such a piece of infrastructure, the pavilion, work to foster integration and connection between different parties whilst responding to the obvious functional requirements of spectator seating and other event uses?
In another episode, Dr. Dean Allen talked about the legacy of the FIFA World Cup in South African. Opinions remain split on what that legacy was and how the stadia and public transportation infrastructure from that era has emerged a decade later.
This conversation tackles something that is emerging and exciting for the future. What could the legacy be? What are the factors the competition organisers are wanting entrants to respond to?
You'll hear from four collaborators behind the competition: why they've chosen this event and what they hope to achieve. You'll also understand who they hope to inspire and encourage to enter the contest.
Although all our guests have African heritage, the episode finds them spread across the European and African continents. It's encouraging to learn of these young professionals' passion for the issues of transformative infrastructure and for South Africa in general.
Recorded: Tuesday, 2nd August 2023
TTPod 3.9: "Show and Tell Part 3" Conversations with Urban Planning and Design officials
We conclude the Talking Transformation Podcast mini-series recorded at the City of Cape Town’s Civic Centre discussing the scales of planning on show during the EXPO.
We talk to the metro spatial planning team - setting the broad citywide spatial framework including the policy and strategy components. We discuss foundations of that scale of planning including the city’s land use model and spatial costing tools and trends reporting.
The district level planning interprets that citywide message via defined city districts. The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act requires a greater emphasis on implementation and linkages to infrastructure planning and capital investment. We hear from the district team how they have adapted to those requirements in the newly adopted District plans and how public engagement has shaped those products.
We also hear from the UPD team members working on the ground directly via capital project and pilot sites where integrated planning across departments is needed to implement and realise the city’s goals and enhance and expand community infrastructure.
It’s a rich conversation with committed and experienced professionals who are honest in their reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of approaches and the challenges they face. It makes for a compelling and fascinating conclusion to our series.
Recorded: August 1st 2023
TTPod 3.8: "Show and Tell Part 2" - Conversations with students and lecturers engaged in the CoCT Urban Planning and Design Expo '23
We are straight into our second of three Talking Transformation Podcast conversations recorded at the City of Cape Town’s Spatial Planning and Urban Design exhibition that took place between July 27th and August the 2nd.
In our first episode we heard from the management and organisation teams from the City’s Planning and Urban Design department.
In this second episode we shift our focus to the voices of the tertiary school participants, the lecturers and students who took part and exhibited in the programme.
The expo platform allowed the students to test some of their practical observations and present to broader and more diverse audience than might normally be the case in class.
The participants introduce themselves and their institutions including UWC, UCT, CPUT and Stellenbosch Universities. Thanks to all of them for taking the time to reflect and share their thoughts.
Recorded: 1st August 2023
TTPod 3.7: "Show and Tell Part 1" - Overview of the City of Cape Town's Urban Planning and Design Expo '23
This Talking Transformation Podcast mini-series differs slightly from our usual approach. The episodes that follow canvass the thoughts and perspectives of participants in the City of Cape Town’s Spatial Planning and Urban Design exhibition that has been taking place between July 27th and August the 2nd.
On August the 1st I spoke with many of the participants on a day that focused on inputs from tertiary institutions in the planning and urban design disciplines.
What was particularly encouraging was the use and transformation of the public space within the Civic Centre from an echoey and soulless corridor to a vibrant and engaging place of engagement. This is where the public and officials have engaged and exchanged thoughts about transforming rebuilding and enhancing Cape Town.
In this first episode we hear from the management and organising team. What is it they were wanting to achieve and how they went about establishing the four-day programme.
You’ll hear from those responsible for compiling and implementing the spatial plans of Cape Town and how they are thinking about engagement with the public and how to expand the reach and scope of engagement and analysis tools.
In this first introductory episode, we hear from Rob McGaffin Executive Director for the Spatial Planning and Environment Directorate, Erika Naude, Director of the Urban Planning and Design Department, Annelise de Bruin, Manager Metropolitan Spatial Planning and organisers Thandeka Kabeni and Ashely Hemraj from the Urban Planning and Design Department.
In future episodes we’ll hear not only from the other units presenting at the expo but also the students and lecturers who provided the basis of day three’s engagement.
Recorded: 1st August 2023
TTPod 3.6: "From the Ground Up!" - Participants of DAG's CDA reflect on their respective journeys into the small-scale rental property sector
Two episodes ago the Talking Transformation Podcast considered the genesis story of NGO, Development Action Group's Contractors and Developers Academy (CDA).
In this episode we reconnect with the theme of micro development with two members of the CDA and two academy participants and graduates: developer Luvo Mayaphi and contractor Brian Bango. Both share an Eastern Cape heritage and reflect on their transformative experience here in the Western Cape working in the small-scale rental sector.
These are inspiring stories from inspirational individuals who are helping shape the sector through their individual business pursuits and collective activism as members of the fledgling umbrella body: the township development forum.
It's a special episode that clearly demonstrates the energy and potential of the sector and the passion of the participants.
There's a clear message for the financial sector and big funders: "get involved and get informed" about the shifting dynamics and opportunities in the township property market.
Recorded: Saturday 8th July 2023
TTPod 3.5 - "Natural Born Planners" - Enhancing the voice and needs of children in planning and design processes
The latest Talking Transformation Podcast takes me back in time to a period when children and youth were at the forefront of planning innovation in the City of Johannesburg.
In 2009 I led an initiative with the City of Johannesburg's Development Planning and Facilitation team to several schools across Johannesburg. The objectives? Interrogate and plan for the challenges and movement patterns, needs and ambitions of different schools, from the most impoverished to the most affluent.
Initial excitement and methodologies that were developed regrettably never took seed or became embedded within the planning processes in the metro at that point.
Within a few months of posting about this initiative on LinkedIn Professor Philip Harrison who commissioned the initial CoJ work had pulled together a collaboration of professionals to pull together the basis of a practice note that considered children in planning design processes.
The practice note was published a year ago and today's episode looks at not only the genesis of the CoJ thinking but also the background and recommendations relating to that practice note.
Joining us as a third town planner and advocate of integrating children into planning processes is Lekgolo Mayatula. Lekgolo's practical experience with children and passion for the subject makes for compelling listening.
Public participation is a tricky exercise at the best of times however sometimes there are obvious opportunities and lenses that we should be considering which get left behind or drowned out in the noise: the voice of the youth is one such lens.
This episode at least advocates for practical approaches to rethink the way that we do our plans and processes.
Recorded 28th June 2023
TTPod 3.4: Capacitating the Small-Scale Rental Market: a Conversation with DAG's CDA team
After a lengthy break, the TTPod returns with an in-depth discussion with members of DAGs Contactors and Developers Academy (CDA).
We explore the genesis of the initiative and how the NGO identified a gap and need to support entrepreneurs and artisans providing affordable rental units in urban areas. This has increasingly been referred to as the small-scale rental market and has expanded the scope, permanence and quality of rental options within the township property sector.
The transformation of both the physical space and densities associated with this type of development has grown over the last decade and is rapidly adding to the options and choices for tenants and households unable to access traditional public sector housing delivery means.
With opportunity comes challenges of governance and infrastructure and the team reflect on how the programme has evolved to meet the needs of both those identifying opportunities (the developers) and those building the units (the contractors).
The enthusiasm and passion of Programme Director: Chuma Giyose and Project Officers, Kamogelo Shika and Claudia Hitzeroth is infectious and makes for an engaging introduction to the phenomenon.
Our episode marks the first of a series of conversations with those active in the small-scale rental sector. We hope to extend the conversation to programme participants and a panel discussion where listeners can ask their own questions to the team.
I have worked with the team as an embedded researcher between 2020 and 2021 when I was studying and was completely inspired by the efforts of the team and the potential of the sector. I hope the conversation and scope of the episode and series inspires our listeners and increases the awareness of the small-scale rental market.
Recorded: Monday 5th June, 2023
TTPod 3.3: "Wake Up, This is Joburg" - in discussion with authors, Tanya Zack and Mark Lewis
I've always enjoyed conversations with guests and colleagues when they've published books and material that build the understanding of our cities in an accessible and visual way. This year, I was excited to learn of the collaboration between Tanya Zack and Mark Lewis. Tanya and I have known each other for many years from my extended working period in Johannesburg. Mark I hadn't met before but I'd been struck by his vivid black and white portraits, accessible via the web, in preparing for this conversation.
Their collaboration over a four-year period - as wordsmith and photographer respectively has been packaged into a striking new book, Wake Up, This is Joburg. It's a visual and storytelling treat showcasing ten diverse spatial locations in the heart of Johannesburg and numerous characters and circumstances. The book reminds us of the vibrancy and essential role Johannesburg plays and how that manifests in contestations and collisions of culture. The book addresses transformation of people, places and spaces through vivid images and fascinating stories. Some will shock, others inspire and some will lead, inevitably to questioning contemporary urban governance polices. What is appropriate and to whom? What is government’s role and how can it do better – these aren’t the questions that were being addressed – Tanya is quick to point out it the project not about framing a policy response. But these are the questions I was left with.
The conversation, recorded two weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon passed in a flash and was one of the most enjoyable and intriguing I can remember. The personal journeys and affinity to Joburg of both Tanya and Mark, the people they engaged with and the stories and places each shared. I hope you'll enjoy the episode as much as I did recording it.
Recorded 11th February 2023
TTPod 3.2: Title Matters - The Conundrum of Title Deed Administration with guest, Deon van Deventer
In this episode we go deeper into the question of title deed administration and why the processes around conveyancing are so important to the development processes and property market. Deon van Deventer has been working with subsidised housing developments in South Africa for over 30 years. His understanding of the challenges and complexities behind housing administration are extensive and he has coordinated beneficiary administration for RDP Houses and FLISP housing programmes and informal settlement occupancy audits and profiling.
I wanted to better understand the challenges facing these housing programmes and why we are in a national predicament where the Presidency and National Department of Human Settlements estimates that more than 1 million title deeds were not transferred to the primary beneficiaries and occupants of the subsidised houses. That implies that more or less a third of housing opportunities developed have not received title since 1994 – this impacts directly on the security of tenure of households. It prevents asset creation and the ability to leverage property as an asset with financial institutions. The situation also implies massive inefficiencies in the governance systems and property value chain of the municipalities: services can’t be billed, rates can’t be considered in instances where legal transfer of the properties has taken place.
I wanted to learn from Deon what can be done to address the processes and outcomes associated with the programmes – what can we do better and what, in his experience works?
Recorded 6th February 2023
TTPod 3.1: Rising Sun and Raising the Game - with Ashleigh Manyara, City of Cape Town
TTPod 2.11: "Smoke and Mirrors" - In pursuit of transformation within the property sector - a conversation with Nigel Adriaanse, CEO of EDPF
The TTPod has visited the issue of land - or rather access to land in South Africa - on several occasions.
It’s well understood the one of apartheid’s primary weapons was the denial of access and ownership to property in urban centres around South Africa. For non-white groups. The inter-generational impact of that perverse legal arrangement compounds year on year and the issue of land remains one of the most pivotal of the many South African socio-economic challenges.
Access to finance via the major banks remains a challenge for most households and the gap between those who have the benefit of inter-generational, inherited property and wealth and those who have “nothing” compounds the challenge further.
Nigel Adriaanse has been thinking about and addressing challenges to access and capacity building in the property field for over a decade. Having worked in several industries as a business development and BBBEE consultant he embarked on a successful career in property the Western Cape and Gauteng. Nigel's take on the problems and practical solutions to solving the challenges are refreshing and he puts the ball squarely in the court of the individual and a change in mindset and approach of the property sector.
I wanted to understand from him, what he believes are the common challenges and how he suggests we relook at these problems through capacity building initiatives and the objectives of his Enterprise Development Property Fund (EDPF).
Nigel has a very clear vision and refreshing take on many of these issues and I’m looking forward to testing his thinking and understanding his views in this episode.
Recorded 7th October 2022
TTPod 2.10: Partnerships and Practice Shaping Climate Adaptation and Fair Trade - with Ralf Mützel (Neumarkt Municipality, Germany)
For this latest episode of the Talking Transformation Podcast we’ve extended the scope of our most recent conversation with Drakenstein's Executive Director: Planning & Development, Jacqui Samson discussing the collaboration the Drakenstein municipality has with Neumarkt in Germany and the themes and projects that underpin that partnership.
We learn of these approaches and the projects being implemented with Jacqui and Ralf Mützel, who coordinates the activities of the Fairtrade city of Neumarkt in the Office for Sustainability Promotion. I caught up with them both in Neumarkt, within the Bavaria region of Germany where action plans that shape and direct the partnership and infrastructure programmes were being revisited.
The partnership has been running since 2014 and despite the interruption of Covid has delivered on several climate adaption infrastructure and integration initiatives.
One of the themes we discussed in our conversation from August was the contestations and competing priorities within municipalities. Basic service delivery needs such as housing, water, sewerage services outcompete the needs of the environment when funds have to be allocated to projects from a limited budget as they are not necessarily a priority to the public. Yet municipalities are increasingly at the sharp end of the climate change agenda. This episode highlights a number of nature-based solutions and projects that have direct benefits for the communities of Drakenstein and the broader region. It also looks at what can be learnt and implemented to support Fair Trade practices and businesses.
It's clear that the partnership is yielding rewards and supporting innovative approaches and I hope you’ll find something of value and inspiration from this conversation with two of the programme's main players.
Recorded: Friday 16th September 2022
TTPod 2.9: "Executive Orders": In Conversation with Jacqui Samson ED Planning and Development: Drakenstein Municipality
This 75th published episode of the Talking Transformation Podcast explores a theme I am wanting to emphasise and develop in coming episodes: the importance of “leadership with integrity” as a foundation for South Africa’s transformation journey. In this episode we look at one of the young leaders in a position of executive authority within a rapidly growing municipality here in the Western Cape.
Jacqui Samson recently celebrated a year as the Executive Director of Planning and Development within the Drakenstein municipality. I’ve been wanting to interview Jacqui since we met when she was working within the Western Cape Government: Department of Human Settlements. She would head up that department prior to taking up the municipal challenge across in Paarl.
I wanted to understand how that first year has been, what the challenges have been in an election year and what the future holds for spatial planning and economic development in Drakenstein. It’ll also be interesting to see how the transition from Provincial government into municipal government has been – for the first time in almost 30 years!
She talks passionately about the processes and institutional frameworks that have supported her including:
- an experienced and co-operative management team;
- a post-Covid Integrated Development Plan process and the value of face-to-face engagements;
- a Drakenstein developers' forum and steering committee; and
- the value of a strong private and public experience in understanding the needs and motivations of those sectors.
Jacqui’s journey is an inspiring one and I hope you’ll enjoy her insights and reflections. There’s something for everybody in this episode and I hope you'll find some inspiration and lessons in search of that leadership with integrity mantra going forward.
Recorded August 3rd 2022
TTPod 2.8: Desire Line on the Horizon - In Conversation with Nicolaas Louw
The visit provided a chance to catch up and reflect with one of my closest colleagues and earliest friends in planning – Nicolaas Louw. He and I worked together in the newly reframed Gauteng Department of Development Planning and Local Government under the maverick leadership of a young MEC, Sicelo Shiceka between 1996 and 2000.
I learned so much from Nicolaas, a young planner himself, still cutting his teeth, but with a couple of years on me in terms of experience. He was undoubtedly one of the biggest influences on my career. At the time it was just an exciting time and pleasure to work with him and others. He took the time to help me with projects and language difficulties and to understand the complexities of a bureaucracy of provincial government.
I entered this space as a planner with extremely limited experience and no practical understanding of the challenges I would face. Nicolaas was a big part of helping me grow and adapt in a period of Land Development Objectives, (LDOs) – a forerunner to the IDP and SDFs, the Masakhane a socio-political campaign that sought to promote civic responsibility. encourage communities to pay for services and the spirit of ubuntu. This was all against the backdrop of the Reconstruction and Development Programme.
For a young and naive planner from the UK it was the opportunity to kick on a define a new life and career here in South Africa. Without the support and encouragement of Nicolaas and others, that simply would have not been possible.
Nicolaas would leave South African in 2002 and this was the first real opportunity I’ve had to discuss his work and personal transformation in Ireland. His journey is a testimonial to his effort and commitment to the profession and communities he serves. In the podcast he touches on the challenges of balancing common issues such as increasing population growth and responding to COVID and more delicate and parochial issues of supporting and maintaining mediaeval buildings and heritage sites with the demands for progress and growth. I hope you’ll enjoy Nicolaas' reflections and approaches he describes.
Recorded 14th July 2022
TTPod 2.7: "After the Flood" - Community Responses to the KZN 2022 Floods with Ranyaka's Andile Wafa and Guy Campbell
The flooding led to more than 400 deaths and thousands more people went missing. More than 4,000 houses are estimated to have been destroyed and 8,000 estimated to have been damaged, particularly in and around the Durban city and surrounding areas.
There was also massive damage to infrastructure, roads, health centres, schools, much of the infrastructure, significantly damaged by the flooding. There was an urgent need for basics across communities: for food, clean water, medicine and hygiene packs. Our guests are Andile Wafa and Guy Campbell from Ranyaka, one of the organisations that provided relief, support and logistics in responding to the NGO coordination efforts.
We recorded this in Salt Rock KZN, a little more than two months after the events. It is a difficult episode to engage with because of the circumstances that both Andile and Guy were involved in and witnessed, first hand.
It also brings home the scale of the challenges not only in terms of the relief efforts, but also the rebuilding efforts that will continue on from this point.
Recorded 9th June 2022.
TTPod 2.6: "On the Receiving End" - South Africans Supporting the Ukraine Refugee and Relief Efforts in Europe - with Diane Arvanitakis and Jan de Bruin
In today’s TTPod episode we look across continents and the Ukrainian conflict. The episode tries to consider the challenges and support being rendered via the reflection of two South Africans currently based in Europe. In the last months, the world’s media has focused in on the Ukraine and the untold suffering endured by the communities and cities affected by Russian military activity in the Ukraine.
For every action, there is a re-action and, one major driver of transformation of communities and cities - in the most negative way imaginable - is via war. At the time of recording, Reuters news agency estimates that more than 15 million people have been displaced from their homes. More than 2,500 buildings have been destroyed and the costs in pure property dame is estimated to exceed $600billion.
This episode looks north to two European cities – Munich in Germany and on the eastern border of Poland, Rzeszow that are directly absorbing the impact of the Russian actions in the Ukraine as refugees – predominantly women and children – flee their homes and communities for the safety of the west. I had wanted to understand how these challenges are playing out and reached out to two friends and colleagues who are directly working with the refugees in those cities: Diana Arvanitakis is located in Munich and Jan de Bruin in Rzeszow.
Both are South African’s working abroad and you’ll hear from both how they came to be working in this space and what challenges the displaced communities face. What I can tell you from the outset is that Diane helped me re-assess my own goals and objectives as a planner – learning from her practical means of using urban design to shape transformation initiatives. Her CV is rich with practical and academic experience in some of South Africa’s most innovative spaces. Likewise, Jan has a CV that illustrates a practical and wide-reaching experience of disaster and relief coordination in some of the most challenging environments of the last two decade – South Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq and war-torn Sri Lanka before and after the devasting tsunami – Jan’s experience and commitment to serving the communities most in need are truly inspiring. I wanted to hear from them, their experiences and the realities being faced by the refugees and beyond that how the scale of the out-migration is impacting on the receiving cities. In the trauma and tragedy are strong messages of hope, courage and resilience from all parties involved. I am deeply indebted to both for the time and willingness to discuss these issues with me and I hope they will highlight the challenges faced by the refugees and the laudable work Diane and Jan are engaged in.
Find out more about Diane's work and organisation via: https://nfp-muc.org/
Medair NGO's details can be found via medair.org
Recorded June 16th 2022
TTPod 2.5: Partnerships & Transitions in Pursuit of Community Transformation - with Ranyaka NPO's William Bila and Johan Olivier
Having joined the Ranyaka professional team in April, I wanted to better understand the foundations of Ranyaka: what differentiates it from other community partnerships and how it aids, not hinders, the formal processes of municipalities and what the potential is for sustainable growth and replication across the country?
The name Ranyaka translates to “pursue” and that seems an apt and worthy name for an initiative where everyone I’ve met via the NGO has pursued their own remarkable transformation story to tell - each worthy of a TTPod episode!
The conversation is as much an opportunity for me to tune into the genesis story, aspirations and achievements of Ranyaka and the communities it serves.
To understand the journey, I am joined by Board Chair William Bila and Executive Officer Johan Olivier. I worked with both Johan and William in 2003 when I was cutting my teeth with the City of Johannesburg. They taught me so much then about the needs and demands of planning and community engagement it will be a fascinating conversation to understand their journey over the last two decades and how they’ve adapted their engagement and planning skills to these new demands.
Recorded Thursday 9th June 2022 in KZN
TTPod 2.4: "Free-wheeling" – Reshaping places and equity through our streets and spaces: A Conversation with Open Streets MD: Kirsten Wilkins
Most listening to this podcast would have some idea of the Open Streets initiative but let me not assume that IS the case: Open Streets is a citizen-driven collective, working towards improving the equitable design and use of public space and streets for all users. It was founded in 2012 by a group of volunteers committed to a more equitable, integrated, safer and vibrant Cape Town. The very premise of spatial transformation and equity of enhancing spaces and linking places is entrenched in their efforts.
Even during the Covid period the OS team was looking for avenues and approaches to embrace community mobilisation and the activation of streets and public spaces – frequently with the ambition of a temporary a car-free day and activities. Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, the CBD, are a handful of the initiatives OS have driven in addition to advocacy routes in Bike2Work and other non-motorized transport initiatives.
Today I am delighted and privileged to discuss the work and achievements of Open Streets to date with Managing Director of the organisation, Kirsten Wilkins. An experienced Urban Designer by trade Kirsten epitomises the values and credo of the organisation. You can only be caught up in the passion she has for cycling, spatial and mobility justice and making safer spaces for people to feel they belong. As we approach World Bicycle Day on June 3rd, I wanted to finally add the Open Streets story to the TTPod archive, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to get this episode recorded and story told. As always, I hope you enjoy the episode.
This episode is for you Marco Gerretto…
Recorded Monday 23rd May
TTPod 2.3 Changing the narrative – Storytelling and graphic novels conveying the history and future of communities and cities
This podcast episode is markedly different from the more routine Talking Transformation “script” and speaks to two graphic illustrators, Nathan Trantraal and Julia Louise Pereira from South Africa and Canada respectively. Both have used their talent to tell stories about factors that have shaped or are currently shaping or cities and communities.
I’ve been wanting to have this discussion since coming across the internationally acclaimed: Crossroads I Live Where I Like: A Graphic History publication (https://jacana.co.za/product/crossroads/). It’s a non-fictional cartoon strip set in 1970’s South Africa - that tells the powerful and moving story of the women-led resistance to apartheid laws, planning principles and community rhetoric of the time. To understand Crossroads in Cape Town you can begin to understand the trauma and legacy of apartheid in South Africa and the role and bravery women played in shaping and fighting the authorities. The story embodies the mantra: “You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock / Wathint' Abafazi, Wathint' Imbokotho”.
Nathan Trantraal is one half of the two Trantraal brothers who illustrated the book. He is a poet, cartoonists, writer and and translator, currently lecturing in School of Languages at Rhodes University on this very subject of the graphic novel.
I’m very much looking forward to understanding the genesis of the project, how the book was received locally and internationally and the importance of the medium in the age of social media and attention deficit that we frequently seem to be caught up in.
The inspiring Julia Louise Pereira (https://julialouisepereira.com/) is based in Toronto, Canada. Her recent comic strip in the UK’s Guardian tackled the subject of climate change in cities and what has been done and what can be done to address this global crisis via small-scale and larger city building initiatives. Her comic strip “Cities need to be redesigned for the climate crisis. Can they make us happy, too?”, resonated by reflecting on actual families affected by Hurricanes Ida and Sandy. The point hammered home is that – like with so many urban issues – the impacts and worst of the effects are borne by the most disadvantaged communities.
As her comic strip suggests: “it’s tempting to design a city by drawing lines on a map. But that ignores what cities are for. To serve the people who live there.” The strip raises the issue of cultural identity, sense of place and belonging and in a clear and precise graphical form illustrated issues of redlining, physical buffers between communities. It’s a masterclass in demonstrating the multiple agendas and challenges faced by cities and the approaches from small “pinprick” interventions to grander city building initiatives.
Both the South African and American case studies use real people, telling their stories to frame the graphics and storyline. They are inspiring and informative means of digesting the complexities and in many instances traumatic stories. I hope you enjoy their reflections and message in this episode.
Recorded 22nd May, 2022
TTPod 2.2 - "It’s all Academic": Reflections on City Transformation and Knowledge Exchange in 2022 with Dr S. Verdis & Dr P. Rode
If you’ve listened to the first couple of productions in Series 2 you’ll know this period of 2022 has been very much a period of personal transformation for me. Just over a month prior to leaving the public service I concluded studies with the London School of Economics in February. I had chosen the Executive Masters In Cities (https://www.lse.ac.uk/cities/education/emc), as much for the content as the ringing endorsements from South Africa’s who had studies in the first few years of the course’s inception. You’ll already heard from a couple if you are a regular listener.
It was arguably the biggest career interruption since starting work in 1996. It challenged conventions and my own limitations whilst also reinforcing some of the positives we as South Africa have to offer. For all of our challenges and frustrations, we still have some of the most progressive thinking and personalities pushing the decision makers and it’s important we don’t forget that. I was constantly reminded of that as we shared experiences from fellow course participants from around the globe: from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Kyiv in the Ukraine, Chicago and LA in the States, Sydney, Australia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – these were just some of the home bases for my fellow students.
Like countless students around the globe, we had COVID – or at least, the fallout from COVID - and all of its challenges, as a constant companion throughout our studies. The idea of travelling back and forth to the UK five times was always going to be a financial stretch but COVID and the global travel bans made sure the medium for learning and tuition was online. COVID also informed some of the course content and certainly shaped the rhythm and conversations we had between the diverse participants. Was this the end of Cities as we knew them? What were the implications for socio-economic, spatial and transport planning? And, just how responsive and adaptive were city governance models across the world to this latest disruption on an epic scale? What could COVID "do" to accelerate the climate change behaviours and responses? You’ve heard a number of these debates on the podcast: it was another thing to look at these issues through an academic lens.
I wanted to sign-off my studies with an appreciative nod to the course leadership – Dr Savvas Verdis and Dr Philipp Rode who co-direct the course. I wanted as much to give them the opportunity to reflect on the course – why a course on cities, the adaption of content and their own stories – as much as to give me closure on this personal learning and transformation journey.
I hope you enjoy the episode and find your own inspiration for your own next chapter :-)
Recorded April 1st, 2022
TTPod Bulletin - UKESA & TTPod Partnership - Urban Knowledge Exchange South Africa - with Dr Mark Napier
Dr Mark Napier is currently Principal Researcher with CSIR and project lead for the design and management of the “Urban Knowledge Exchange Southern Africa” - an online knowledge-sharing platform https://www.ukesa.info/. Mark has a strong background in land and housing issues and prior to joining the CSIR, was director of the Urban Land Markets (ULM) Programme Southern Africa, between 2006 - 2013. The ULM team established some of the foundational research and analysis in land markets and human settlements in that period.
In this bulletin we discuss UKESA and the support it is rendering to the TTPod in establishing a stable web-based platform and archive of material - searchable by key topics and guest names etc. Find the links via https://www.ukesa.info/partners/view/talking-transformation-podcast
The purpose of the bulletin is to share with listeners the UKESA platform: what it is and where to find it and the value of the material it. We hope it is of interest and value to our listeners.
Recorded April 5th 2022
TTPod 2.1 Contemporary Urbanism – Relevance, Opportunities, Challenges - Guests: Jodi Allemeier & Roland Postma
Jodi Allemeier is no stranger to the podcast and operates as an independent professional and thought leader in the country. Her UrbanJodi blog remains a must follow for those who enjoy continuing the debate (find it at www.jodi.city).
Roland Postma has recently concluded his studies and is a leading and articulate voice in the Young Urbanists (@young-urbanists) who have been generating increasing online content and debate for young professionals via YouTube and webinars.
The conversation touches on our own personal transitional stories and our observations of recent events and opportunities in the future:
emerging from COVID-19;
new opportunities and familiar challenges facing new Mayors and councils; and
what it “means” to think progressively about cities and community building in 2022.
As always, we hope you enjoy the content and welcome feedback via:
twitter: @talkingtransfo1; or
Recorded 24th March 2022
Revisiting Series 1 and Looking Ahead to ”New Beginnings”
With: Catherine Stone and Pete Ahmad
In this introductory bulletin to Series 2 of the TTPod, Cathy Stone assists podcast founder Pete Ahmad reflect on the:
• genesis of the podcast;
• value of partnerships and community;
• reasons behind the ‘break in transmission’ and the second series; and
• transformation conversations we can anticipate and what else is coming in Series 2.
It’s an engaging “reset” conversation and we hope it will reinspire you for what is to come or to inspire you to join our growing community of listeners.
The next chapter of the TTPod journey promises to develop further the themes and conversations adding to the significant archive of interview material available via your preferred podcast app / website.
As always, we hope you enjoy the content and welcome feedback via:
twitter @talkingtransfo1; or
Recorded 26th March 2022
Episode 37: Fields of Dreams (or just 'plain dreaming') - Release of state-owned land for public housing
Today's Talking Transformation Podcast tackles the issue of state-owned land and its importance in supporting spatial transformation and city-building, in particular, for affordablehousing programmes. It comes at a time when Illegal land occupations and the quantum of informal settlements in many of the towns and cities continues to increase as tangible indicators of urbanisation.
Legislative reforms considering land expropriation without compensation are unfolding at the same time when the state is accused of paralysis and inertia in releasing well-located land it owns for the purposes of affordable housing and social amenities.
Many advocacy groups are critical in their assessment that spheres of government are unable to release state land for public benefit and much-needed housing programmes to address urbanisation and substantial housing backlogs.
In June this year the Development Action Group (DAG), along with Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU), SASDI alliance, the Legal Resources Centre, the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and UCT’s Professor Vanessa Watson held a virtual public meeting to discuss the merits of releasing three state-owned land parcels in Cape Town, namely: Wingfield, Ysterplaat and Youngsfield. These advocacy groups suggest these well-located land parcels could house in excess of 120,000 Capetonians and 40,000 homes.
This episode revisits the propositions made at that meeting and we hear from three of the participants: Adi Kumar from (DAG), Chadernnay Glenn (CORC) and Michael Clark (NU).
The public sectors voice is missing from this episode and, as you’ll hear, it’s something we aim to address in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, enjoy the episode and thoughts from passionate representations from the NGO sector.
Recorded Tuesday 17th August 2021.
Episode 36 - Part 2: Inclusionary Housing: What's the Deal? What's Been Done? and What's Being Done?
Following on from our introductory episode this second and final part (for now!) considers:
- What is it that Province is advocating for the Inclusionary Housing policy – isn’t it just another method of taxation?
- What are the negotiable variables and thresholds that have been used in Joburg?
- Why do the NGOs suggest that micro-units aren’t helpful in the Inclusionary Housing debate?
- How has the language and skill sets of contemporary planners been challenged by the Inclusionary Housing negotiations on policy and applications?
- What have been the unintended and unresolved aspects from the Joburg experience?
- How have the tribunals who adjudicate on applications responded?
- What the response to the Provincial policy been so far?
- What does the research in SA since 2007 tell us?
Our guests are Eric Raboshakga, City of Johannesburg, Dylan Weakley Senior Specialist: Strategic Urban Planner, City of Johannesburg; Lorraine Nzimande: Masters Graduate University of Witwatersrand and former CoJ; Robyn Park-Ross, researcher, Ndifuna Ukwazi; Willard Matiashe Lead Researcher, Development Action Group; and Catherine Stone Director Spatial Planning (Western Cape Provincial Government.
There’s still an opportunity to respond to the Provincial policy via: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/eadp/news/western-cape-inclusionary-housing-policy-framework-open-comment
Recorded 30th June 2021
Episode 36 - Part 1: Inclusionary Housing: What's the Deal? What's Been Done? and What's Being Done?
Our guests on this first of a multi-part episode looking at the vexed issue of Inclusionary Housing in South African cities are Eric Raboshakga, City of Johannesburg, Dylan Weakley Senior Specialist: Strategic Urban Planner, City of Johannesburg; Lorraine Nzimande: Masters Graduate University of Witwatersrand and former CoJ; Robyn Park-Ross, researcher, Ndifuna Ukwazi; Willard Matiashe Lead Researcher, Development Action Group; and Catherine Stone Director Spatial Planning (Western Cape Provincial Government.
In this first episode each participant sets the scene - What is it? Why is it important? And, what have been some of the challenges for City of Johannesburg in implementing their policy, adopted by CoJ Council in 2019?
Consider the perspectives of City and Provincial officials, advocacy groups and academia at a time when the public sector and development community are grappling with the complexity and governance aspects of a policy framework that is implementable, effective and meets the ambitions of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act. We also learn about how Inclusionary Housing "fits" within Land Value Capture (LVC) theory and practice.
The epsiode comes at a time when the Western Cape Provincial Government has published a Policy Framework for Inclusionary Housing for public comment. This episode sets the tone for an informed response to that document - find it available via the web @ https://www.westerncape.gov.za/eadp/news/western-cape-inclusionary-housing-policy-framework-open-comment
Part 2 to follow!
Recorded 30th June 2021
NZCB Deep-Dive Series Finale Live Webinar Recording
We close our "deep-dive" series on the Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon Buildings Programme with this edited recording of our live webinar hosted in association with Sustainable Energy Africa and C40 Cities. It was a special way to conclude with a global audience with guests from around the South African cities and guests from afar afield as Nairobi and London.
You'll hear from experts in the advocacy field; public sector professionals who are making the difference in the metros who have signed up to the C40 Cities NZC Buildings programme; academics and the private sector. There's plenty to consider and reflect on, whether you are coming to this topic new or have followed our process over the last four months as we've built the series.
We'll be sure to check in with our partners in the months to come and this is sure to be a recurring theme in our discussions on transformation: of cities; of habits and of climate outcomes.
Enjoy the episode and do check out the preceding episodes if this episode inspires:
Episode 1: Foundations and Aspirations - https://lnkd.in/dnQJUNM
Episode 2: Governance & Leadership - https://lnkd.in/gns7YtY
Episode 3: Market scale transformation - https://lnkd.in/ghGGsxb
Episode 4: Leaving no one behind – NZCB & informality - https://lnkd.in/dNJwY7N
Twitter: @TalkingTransfo1 @SEA_UrbanEnergy
Recorded 27th May 2021
NZCB - Deep-Dive Series Episode 4 (of 4): #Leave_no_one_behind - The Net Zero Carbon Building Programme & Informality
Within informal settlements, “shacks,” are generally built poorly out of tin and other materials. There is often limited sanitation, plumbing and electricity. So, what is the relevance of the NZCB programme to these communities and others within the lower-end of the property market?
Most importantly, how can the custodians and champions of the programme ensure that net zero carbon building includes and embraces informality and low income households?
In this concluding session of our deep-dive session, we consider:
the context of a severe housing backlog, will NZC retard low-income housing development through the burden of having to meet additional requirements?
is NZC a luxury we can’t really afford?
what are the opportunities that may arise from savings for the household?
what are the opportunities to use alternative and more economic building materials?
can Government’s state sponsored housing programme provide the impetus to lead the NZC market – particularly important during a recession.
To assist us with answering these questions, we are joined by, Liana Strydom – City of Johannesburg; David Gardner - Inhlabathi Investments; and Marc Sherratt - MSSA
Recorded, May 4th 2021
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Episode 35: Mr Cape Town - Andrew Boraine, Reflects on Urban Governance and Leadership
In this latest episode of the Talking Transformation Podcast, I’ve nicknamed our guest “Mr Cape Town”.
However, that’s only half the truth: Andrew Boraine is a globally respected thought leader and expert in urban and economic development. His influence extends well beyond the Western Cape and is deep into four decades of service and involvement in the political and administrative spheres of South Africa.
His own self-penned LinkedIn profile describes him as a student leader, activist, advisor, negotiator, government planner, city manager, chief executive, facilitator, partnership specialist, designer, communicator, writer and photographer. I knew about most of the above but not the photography!
Serving under the first Mandela-led National government, Andrew was actively involved in drafting the chapter of the Constitution that resolved the powers and competitiveness of local government. He reflects on the inspirations and mentors who shaped his formative years via student politics and civic organisations.
I wanted to tap Andrew for his thoughts on his journey; the state of play of leadership in contemporary government and within our communities; and what is inspiring him after 45 years of effort and lessons learnt.
This a rewarding interview, rich in insight and wisdom and I’m indebted to Andrew for the time and memories he so willingly shared.
Recorded 28th April 2021
NZCB - Deep-Dive Series Episode 3 (of 4): Supporting market scale transformation in the building sector
In this 3rd episode of our Deep Dive Series on Net Zero Carbon Buildings, hear from four leading experts on the transition efforts of the built environment sector. The Talking Transformation Podcast is delighted to host colleagues from both the private and public sector: Lesley Sibanda and Mary Haw (City of Cape Town), Chilu Lombe (Solid Green) and Megan Sager (Sustainable Solutions). They reflect on a series of themes including:
- Can the private sector handle the transition and to date, what has the response been?
- The sectors, companies and land uses - who is leading / who is following?
- As regulation and communication techniques improve, how will owners and tenants of budlings adapt their choices and behaviour?
- The role and importance of data informing choice, policy and targets; and
- What are the collaborations between the public and private sector that are supporting shifts in behaviour and tactics?
It's a welcome third conversation building on the demands and the challenges being placed on the industry but also reflecting strongly on the opportunities that exist and the critical mass of effort which is help shape that change.
Recorded: 6th April 2021
Episode 34: Densifying the City - Global Cases and Johannesburg
Another episode – another book review and another chance to revisit Johannesburg! I’m delighted to welcome the editorial team for the book - Densifying the City - Global Cases and Johannesburg - on this episode: Alexandra Appelbaum, Alison Todes, Margot Rubin and Philip Harrison.
For regular listeners, you’d know that Phil was our very first guest way back in July 2019 and that Margot has been a guest on another episode that dealt with backyard rentals, the last episode before the national lockdown if my memory serves me well.
A new publication has tackled the complexities of the processes and policies of density. The book draws on experience and inputs from a host of leading academics and practitioners and considers 25 inputs from some of the South Africa’s leading academic minds. Densifying the City – Global Cases and Johannesburg does what it says on the cover…It takes the reader on a series of case studies as diverse as Istanbul (Turkey), Sydney (Australia) and the poster child for TOD- Curitiba (Brazil). There’s plenty to digest- globally and locally: density in both its formal and informal forms, the drivers of density and the evolution of policy and urban management approaches.
Closer to home and through Johannesburg as the primary case study, the book considers the forms in which density takes via different spaces, processes and participants. The ambition and realisation of density through Transit Oriented Development adds a third dimension to the conversation. We considered the issue of Johannesburg’s Corridors of Freedom in our second episode and this conversation gives us an opportunity to update the perspectives and thoughts on this issue.
It promises to be a rich conversation with colleagues at the pinnacle of their game.
Recorded March 6th 2021
NZCB - Deep-Dive Series Episode 2 (of 4): Governance & Leadership – Just how ready are cities to make the shift?
Listen in to this second deep-dive TTPod Episode and hear from five of South Africa’ leading authorities on SA’s transition to energy efficient cities and decide for yourself:
- Are Cities ready to implement NZC-Buildings and the C40 South African New Buildings Programme?
- Do cities have the mandate (powers and function) to drive such an ambitious programme?
- How are the plans and regulations aligning – between corporate and environmental planning and between the spheres of government?
- Who is responsible for what – Constitution vs By-laws v National Building Regulations (NBR) Who leads and who follows?
- What adaption is needed for building officials’ skills and competencies to support and facilitate the private sector and to drive professional adaption in the built environment?
- Why is it important that cities adapt and take the lead? How do we shift from strategy to action and implementation? Who else needs to make that shift?
- How can we build in speed and efficiency in the administration to incentivise the shifts?
With thanks to co-guests Hlengiwe Radebe and Megan Euston-Brown from Sustainable Energy Africa and C40 Cities
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NZCB Deep-Dive Series Episode 1 (of 4): Foundations and Aspirations - Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon Buildings by 2030
In 2018, as part of the C40 Cities Climate Change Leadership Group (C40), four South African Metros—Johannesburg, Cape Town, eThekwini, and Tshwane—signed the Global Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration.
As signatories to this commitment, these cities are working towards look to achieve sustainable buildings, powered by renewable energy for new buildings by 2030 and existing ones by 2050. Not only does this declaration align with the imperative of the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, but also follows South Africa’s national strategy, and the post-COVID recovery approach of ‘building back better.’
Partnering with C40 South Africa Building Programme, the cities are supported in developing and implementing transformational building energy-efficient policies and by-laws. The approach is rooted in South Africa’s existing national and national climate change commitments and as such, complements existing policies. Although the programme’s focus is primarily on the point of construction, it is mindful of the broader spatial, resource, social, and economic context.
In Episode 1 of the Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon Buildings (NZCB) by 2030 series, four passionate city officials join us to discuss how they are rising to the Net Zero-Carbon challenge:
- Discover the C40 South African New Buildings Programme within the context of City climate responses.
- Understand what is meant by net zero-carbon for cities, and how does this fit with the national regulatory environment?
- Learn about an ambitious, pioneering new direction and challenge for South African cities,
- Share the knowledge and challenge - what do the cities have to do to move from their current status quo to net zero carbon buildings?
With thanks to C40 Cities.
Twitter: @TalkingTransfo1 and @SEA_UrbanEnergy
Recorded February 16th 2021
TTPod Bulletin - Countdown to Zero! Introducing TTPod Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon Buildings Series
Our first bulletin of 2021 kick-starts a forthcoming five-part series where we explore the South African New Buildings Programme. Our experts, Hlengiwe Radebe and Megan Euston-Brown from Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) introduce us to the topic and walk us through what listeners can expect in the upcoming discussions over the next few months.
We learn about the need for the series, the ambition of the programme and what themes we will be covering. Listeners can also consider registering for a concluding online, live-event that will conclude the programme. More on that to follow.
Join us over the coming weeks to explore:
- what IS net zero carbon and what have buildings, green or otherwise got to do with it?
- the cities and partners in involved in the programme;
- the extent of the challenge and what a net zero carbon pathway might look like;
- Can Cities ‘go beyond’ national government building regulations?
- The market response to more stringent efficiency requirements;
- Why it is so critical that we find a way to meet the commitments?
The series will tackle the challenging questions of the moment:
- Can Cities lead on ambitious climate action without compromising national interests and the recovery efforts from a technical recession and the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Do Cities have the capacity to deliver the programme?
- Can this find traction given economic recession and a backlog in low-income housing delivery;
- How does this relate to the hard reality of growing informality?
We hope you will join us on this road in the coming months!
Recorded 3rd February 2021
Episode 33: Protect, Contain, Disrupt! The foundations and future of the township economy
Our conversation invites the three authors of the book Township Economy: People, Spaces and Practices: Andrew Charman, Thireshen Govender and Leif Petersen to talk about the transformative potential of the informal economy and the power relations and adaptive strategies that allow micro-enterprises to thrive or falter.
Having bought the book and been intrigued by the case studies and spatial data they’ve incorporated, I wanted to ask them more about the inspiration for their book, the research methods and their findings. What are the opportunities, the trends and the risks faced by those who are reliant on the informal sector for their livelihood? What is it we should be doing better and how best to facilitate and unlock the growth and potential of micro-enterprises?
Looking at 9 South African case studies and one in Namibia they consider diverse themes and explain the practices and people shaping them in our communities.
Their thoughts will appeal to any practitioner or academic who is looking at issues associated with socio-economic development, anthropology, and use and urban design and entrepreneur behaviour in South Africa. There’s something for everyone in this episode.
At a time when a national lockdown has disrupted fundamentally both the formal and informal economies the content and recommendations made by Andrew, Thirshen and Leif are vital resources for us to consider.
Episode 32: Blue Moon Rising – the Blue Moonlight Constitutional Court Judgement a Decade On - Guest: Zunaid Khan
Our guest Zunaid Khan - Chief Director at the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation – Office of the Presidency - revisits 2011 and the landmark Blue Moonlight housing case. This Constitutional Court ruling provided that the state is liable to provide alternate – temporary - accommodation to unlawful occupiers who may be rendered homeless due to an eviction from private property. The case also indicated that a private owner’s right to property may be limited by the right to housing of unlawful occupiers.
Zunaid was on the frontline of the City’s response and legal case and I asked him to reflect on not only the merits and details of the case and what the ruling meant but also the reality and pressure of being a civil servant in the legal firing-line.
He recently spent almost a year acting as Deputy Director General and has a distinguished career spanning almost two decades. He has worked within the private sector and served with local and National government. Presently, he is the Chief Director of Spatial Planning at Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation within the Office of the President’s Department of the Monitoring and Evaluation.
We also take a quick look at the spatial planning horizon for 2021 – what are his hopes and fears – beyond the pandemic, beyond the economic challenges we face. What can we hope for from national and where should we be looking…
Episode 31: Agonism and Strife in Johannesburg - Dr Li Pernegger Author "The Agonistic City"
Last month saw the publication of a new book that looks at the challenges and conflicts that have accompanied Johannesburg’s post-democratic growth and development. The book, titled “The Agonistic City? State-society Strife in Johannesburg” questions the realities and potential of the state's agonistic practices in response to service delivery issues as diverse and complex as the water conflict in Orange Farm, informal trading in the Joburg CBD, and the billing crisis. Each of these examples has challenged the city to respond to these many grievances lodged by its citizens across the spectrum of communities: from the privileged, to the marginalised.
Author, Dr. Li Pernegger is ideally placed to reflect on these issues having spent almost 15 years working within the City of Johannesburg administration between 1989 and 2006: a period of massive change in South Africa and the municipalities of the pre- and post democratic dispensation. She has observed some of these issues first-hand and as they happened. Through her doctoral research, her past roles working with municipalities for local and national governments in SA and the UK, and her current role, as advisor to National Treasury’s Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) she has considered these events within the academic environment and with the benefit of hindsight as a practitioner.
As a former colleague of Li, I am really looking forward to understanding her main conclusions and what the lessons for other cities and municipal administrations could be. I was delighted when she accepted the invitation to join us on the TTPod to reflect on the journey and to give a preview of what you can look forward to from the book.
It was great to chat to Li and revisit a city I still think of as home.
Recorded December 16th 2020
Bonus Episode: Cape Town Future Energy Festival - In conversation with Jodi Allemeier
In this episode of the talking transformation podcast our content is taken from the 2020 Cape Town Future Energy Festival.
To date, this is the only episode where I am wearing my City of Cape Town hat! The conversation is with a friend of the talking transformation podcast, PWC's and urban issues blogger Jodi Allemeier. You may remember Jodi was one of our FutureCast episode guests back in January this year, before COVID hit South Africa, before lockdown and before 2020 changed irrevocably. We recorded this at the Hotel Verde near Cape Town Airport on the 14 October and it was a refreshing change to sit across a room and have a face-to-face chat.
In this conversation, we talk about urban and spatial planning and its role in shaping more sustainable, resilient and equitable cities. Within the context of the future energy conversations that were taking place as part of the festival, the idea of carbon neutrality and a net zero carbon city by 2050 form parts of the discussion that you’ll hear. We consider some of the key challenges and opportunities for Cape Town some of the issues relating to public transportation, spatial transformation and opportunities that we have not yet fully explored. Jodi touches on some of the key elements that are changing our landscape and how potentially we can think about some of these opportunities in more detail.
Our discussion is just one of a series of conversations that will be published on different social media platforms in the coming week and we hope that through our talking transformation podcast we can publicized not only this event but some of the broader challenges that are being faced here in Cape Town.
You can find out more about the Cape Town Future Energy Festival 2020 by visiting their Capetownfutureenergyfestival.co.za. You'll also find them on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Twitter and LinkedIn. A number of the conversations in this festival series are already available on the festival website and YouTube. The video of this conversation will be published on Thursday the 3rd of December and we encourage you to go and check out the diverse conversations and personalities that are reflecting on these opportunities and challenges. Other guests included the African Climate Foundation, GreenCape, Team Mahili, silver medallists in the Solar Decathlon 2019 competition in Morocco. The episode opens and closes with a short address from Mary Haw from the City of Cape Town's Energy Efficiency and Renewable unit. It was this Sustainable Energy Markets Department that made the festival possible and I am indebted to Mary and the team for allowing us use of the material.
Recorded 14th October 2020
Episode 30: Micro-finance and city building: the future for Africa’s housing market?
Adding to the rich content of housing conversations – in particular Episodes 14, 22 and 27 – in today’s episode we take a closer look at the private finance models available to micro-developers; what progress has been made and what ambitions this emerging sector has.
Currently making a dent in the housing market in Cape Town, Bitprop finance’s mission is to create assets and income streams for underdeveloped markets by upscaling of backyard rental properties. Innovative thinking, technology and securing title deeds are also key approaches they employ to make a dent into the 65 Million housing units required across Africa at a cost of $10 trillion.
The approach is not limited to credit only and applies economic and spatial transformation and urban management fundamentals: Securing ownership, homeowner education, rental management capacity building and building and enhancing neighbourhoods.
What’s exciting is the potential reach of the programme; the diversity in investment sources; and the monthly income and returns for the lending homeowners. Is this the basis for an upscaled human settlement approach? What can be done to support the efforts and does the public sector have a role in resourcing further? To help us understand the potential and approach, today, we hear from Claire du Trevou Architectural Project Manager at Bitprop. An architect by trade, she is a graduate of the University of Pretoria and is about to celebrate her second full year working within the Bitprop team.
Where I get confused by the UKs Britpop movement of the 90’s characterised by Oasis and Blur and the Bitprop finance movement characterised by spatial and economic transformation – the fault is entirely ours.
Episode 29: #Legacy? 2010 World Cup – Assessing Transformation a Decade On
Just over ten years ago, the final whistle blew on the highly anticipated FIFA 2010 World Cup held here in South Africa. Expectations were high and the question remained before that kick off: could SA deliver. Deliver it did, staging a remarkable global event which bought SA goodwill and recognition for the event and the manner in which it was held. Crime fell, footballing tourists flocked to the stadiums and investment in fan parks and playing areas around the world suggested a new era of nation building on the back of other successful sporting ventures like the 1995 World Cup Rugby victory. Sport and infrastructure were seen as powerful catalysts for transformation and economic growth.
Having spurned the country in 2006 in favour of hosts Germany, it was surely inconceivable that Nelson Mandela would be dismissed twice. South Africa broke the bank to host the event. Both financially and in playing its ‘Madiba Magic’ trump card there was a sense of inevitability that the tournament would finally be hosted in Africa. But at what cost? And was it worth it?
SA invested billions of rands in new build projects: upgrades of airports and stadiums; in public spaces and public transport systems – some of which have operated successfully and other that have yet to operate since the event. It was a massive gamble diverting public funds that critics argued – with some justification – could have been better spent on housing, infrastructure and public services. The debate raged before, during and after the event.
In this episode of the TTPod, we explore the legacy of FIFA 2010. We try and consider in an objective way the means of assessing this legacy. To help us, we are joined by eminent historian, and best-selling author of Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa, Dr. Dean Allen. An Englishman who has made his home South Africa, Dean was part of the assessment team employed by the City of Cape Town in 2010 to survey different perspectives from some of the tournament’s leading figures. He has taken an ongoing interest in the assessment of the legacy as a historian, author and public speaker. We are delighted that he accepted an invitation to join us on the TTPod and discuss his perspective and findings. His views on transformation through the ages are compelling and thought-provoking.
Recorded 29 and 29th October
Episode 28: "One Year On" - Reflecting on and celebrating a year of Talking Transformation
It’s been over a year since the launch of the Talking Transformation Podcast, and to celebrate the first anniversary, we’ve taken a moment to reflect on how far we have come and where we want to go!
In this episode host, Pete Ahmad, is in the hot seat, where he shares some of his insights from the past 12 months. We get to know the man ordinarily behind the mic and learn about his journey as a planner.
We also find out what catalysed the creation of the podcast and how it has done in terms of achieving its aims. These aims have included: extending the South African urbanism and transformation discussion; creating inclusive conversations; and establishing an archive for various interest groups.
Pete reflects on some of the conversations that have surprised him, as a planner, the most along with the many valuable skills he has gained. We also introduce the newest Talking Transformation member, Amaal Salie, a UCT City and Regional Planning graduate and writer who joined the team recently to help behind the scenes. The show wraps up with a look at what is in store for the Talking Transformation podcast in the months and years to come. Be sure to tune in / download and share today!
• Pete’s background; his frustrated start in planning, and where he is now.
• Some of the rewards and frustrations of being a planner in South Africa.
• The motivations for starting the Talking Transformation Podcast.
• Initial successes and how the show has yet to fulfil all the objectives.
• The major lessons that Pete has learned from creating the podcast.
• The most surprising episode and what Pete realised after this.
• Difficulties that come with collaboration in the planning space.
• Encouraging words for young graduates.
• Pete’s current academic pursuit and how the podcast inspired him to return to university.
• What’s on the horizon for Talking Transformation.
Like What You Hear? Get In Touch with TTP:
Recorded October 6th 2020
TTPod Bulletin - Sept 2020 Showcasing Urban Festival 2020
A quiet month of September from the Talking Transformation Podcast ends with a bulletin communicating the Urban Festival 2020 event and program with festival coordinator, Rashiq Fataar.
Rashiq talks about the diverse and extensive program during the course of October. He communicates how you can get involved both real time and via the recorded material.
Find out more via the excellent website:
Quoting from their website:
"Urban Festival is a series of virtual engagements hosted by South African Cities Network (SACN), Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN), The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Open Cities Lab (OCL), WITS Journalism and Media Lab (JAMLAB), Our Future Cities (OFC), ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, and others. The festival will run from 1-31 October 2020, culminating on World Cities Day.
The first edition has an overarching focus on inclusivity, accessibility and digital innovation. The programming will comprise a Main Programme of speakers from government, civil society and industry. This will be complemented by an Emergent Programme of wide-ranging additional presenters and organisations who have responded to our Open Call."
Episode 27: "Masterclass!": Reflections on global approaches to urbanisation and settlement upgrading - Claudio Acioly Jr.
In this Talking Transformation Podcast episode we hear from renowned architect and urban planner, Claudio Acioly Jr.: the latest in our "We've GOT to talk about housing!" - 26 Years and counting! 'Deep-Dive Series’.
Four decades of practical and research experience working across the world establishes Claudio as one of the leading housing and settlement upgrading experts globally. Until recently, he headed up the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. He has worked for global organisations, advised national, provincial, and local governments around the world; worked closely with community-based organisations and lectured to international students via the IHS, Netherlands. Simply put, Claudio has “been there, done that, designed and worn the t-shirt”. Closer to home he is a Board Member of the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) – friends of the TTPod and featured in Episode 14.
His diverse and rich insights come during a period of increasing land invasion and informal settlement growth during the lockdown period: the tangible, spatial consequences of the pressures of urbanisation and faltering national and regional economies. These are the challenges faced by cities in South Africa and globally.
During this episode we consider: What can informal settlements offer cities at a time when supply and demand is adversely impacted by the impact of the pandemic? What is it that cities fail to learn and need to accept / adapt to maximise the opportunities? How do these differ in during and after the crisis? Where can we look for inspiration and innovation?
Presentation material referred to in the podcast can be accessed via: https://claudioacioly.com/
Find us on twitter @Talkingtransfo1 or leave us a voice message on our voice message service on the Anchor Podcast platform.
Recorded September 2nd 2020
Episode 26: "New Arrivals and New Horizons" Insights and reflections from founder of Women in Planning South Africa (WiPSA): Gugu Ngobese
As Women’s Month draws to a close, we thought it fitting to hear from the newest voice and professional organisation in the planning collective - Women in Planning South Africa, WiPSA.
In this episode, Founder, Gugu Sithole-Ngobese, sheds light on their organisational aims and objectives. We discuss the notion of gender mainstreaming and how this extends both to the spatial planning policies and the planning profession itself. Gugu also discusses what the reception to the organisation’s launch, which happened during the lockdown, has been.
While there have been some doubts around WiSPA’s founding, Gugu explains how their mandate differs from existing organisations’ and why rather than seeing a new voice as crowding the space, it should be viewed as means to achieve a common goal.
Throughout the conversation, Gugu outlines the importance of working together and including all narratives to make sure that the outcomes of planning decisions truly help women. Along with this, the discussion also covers the role that planners should take in ensuring resources are channelled to serve the correct needs, WiPSA’s internship programme, and what’s on the horizon for organisation in the months to come. To hear this and more, tune in today and hear:
•Gugu’s motive for WiPSA and founding objectives.
•Her personal educational path and journey as a planner.
•How WiPSA’s formation has been received.
•Some of the reservations encountered by WiPSA.
•The role of social media in WiPSA’s growth.
•Why access to social infrastructure & housing are focus areas.
•Why planners need to play a leading role in gender issues.
•WiPSA’s internship programme and Gugu’s personal experience with mentorship both as a mentor and mentee.
•WiPSA’s membership structure, registration fee, and offering.
•Looking ahead: the year ahead for WiPSA.
Recorded August 24th 2020
Episode 25: The Future of Planning (in South Africa) - reflections and aspirations from recent online survey
The survey ran for two weeks and sought responses and views on these topics. You can access it here.
It was inspired by the social media debate that has been very evident online, many professionals young and old sharing personal and professional perspectives on their hopes and fears… We asked questions of value for money of organisations, what were understood to be the most critical issues; employment status; engagement and communication with planning organisations.
We heard from the RTPI in our last episode - it was clear where they were going, what is driving them and what conversations and engagements need to be had…where are we? In this episode we test the responsiveness here in SA: what HAS and what more CAN be done? In this episode nine professionals from across the country share their thoughts and reflections, not only one the report but their own hopes for the future - how should we be having conversations with, what topics, what action? Each has played a role in contributing to the conversation and served in one role or another within several of the organisations mentioned in the survey including - SACPLAN, SAPI, SAACPP.
Stuart Denoon-Stevens - Free State University
Phanos Maphupha – online petition organiser
Tshepo Tsotetsi – job seeking TUKS planning graduate
Peter Dacomb – SAACPP North
Cor van der Merwe – SAACPP South
Recorded 15th July 2020
Episode 24: #PlantheWorldWeNeed - Learning from the Royal Town Planning Institute’s response and value add during the pandemic
The Royal Town Planning Institute – RTPI - formed in 1914 – has over 100 years of history serving its members and the interests of planning and built environment community. Based in the UK and Ireland it is an organization that has international reach and a membership of greater than 25,000.
The RTPI recently launched a Plan The World We Need campaign calling on the UK and Irish governments to capitalise on the expertise of the planners to achieve a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign resonates with our own South African built environment issues reflecting on:
•Regeneration and repurposing of land, buildings and public spaces
•An accelerated shift in land use towards homeworking
•Economic recovery and stimulus
•Carbon emission targets
In today's Talking Transformation Podcast, we hear from RTPI president 2020, Sue Manns. We hear her passion for the industry and learn of her ambitions leading this globally recognised and respected organisation. She gives us her view of the value proposition of the RTPI; and the lived experience of her presidency in this period unprecedented economic crisis and job insecurity.
Sue is a private practitioner working from Birmingham, England. Over an impressive 40-year career she has served within the both the public and private sector and lectured on planning law and practice.
At a time when we are looking for answers and solutions to complex professional and built environment issues here in South Africa we ask how are they engaging? What are they learning from their members? What can we look to introduce here in South Africa and are there experiences that we can share with them that they could learn from us?
Recorded 15thJuly 2020
Episode 23: Talking 'bout the next generation...2020 SACN Young Planner and Designer Competition
It’s Youth Month here in South Africa and to celebrate, the Talking Transformation Podcast sits with three young planners: the winner, the runners-up and co-ordinator of the South African Cities Network’s Young Planner and Designer Competition, 2020.
All three provide refreshing, powerful, and personal takes on the challenges our cities have and the future cities they want to shape. They explain how they considered these issues and themes in their submissions and the evaluation of competition entries.
Based in Glasgow, Scotland - but a Joburger at heart - we speak to winner Zubeida Lowton about her winning entry looking at historic Fox Street, Johannesburg CBD and how she is integrating that work into her Doctoral Research at the university of Glasgow. She practically explains how safety and security and issues of urban connectivity can be considered now and in future Johannesburg.
We speak to runner-up and recent graduate of the University of Pretoria, Tshepo Tsotetsi. He speaks with passion about future cities and the role planners have in shaping them. He recognises the complexity and enormity of the challenges and sets out a compelling agenda for change that should inspire and provoke in equal measure.
Our third guest is SACN Research Intern, Tlholohelo Mokgere. She adds a welcome third young voice to the discussion, explaining the themes and aspects that shaped the competition and the judging of the entries. She shares her own observations and perspectives on the issues with clarity and enthusiasm.
We conclude our discussion with a broader discussion about the youth and their contribution to the future, recognising just how challenging it is to be setting out on their built environment journeys.
All three are remarkable young talents.
They represent the best SA has to offer and hope for our future. We celebrate their achievements and efforts and trust you will enjoy the episode.
Recorded 20th June 2020
TTPod COVID Diary 12: Integrating Health in Urban and Territorial Planning
A new Sourcebook “Integrating Health In Urban And Territorial Planning” has recently been launched by the World Health Organisation and UN-Habitat. It could not be more appropriate and timely given the COVID-19 pandemic. It also considers a range of long-standing health challenges that impact constantly on mortality around the world.
The necessity for the different planning and health authorities to work closer together to address the immediate challenge and long-standing health issues are obvious now and in the future.
History shows us that standards and approaches are reshaped in the aftermath of these health challenges and we can imagine there is more to come once the immediate shock of the pandemic is addressed.
The sourcebook offers a comprehensive variety of resources, including frameworks, entry points, guidance and tools, as well as specific case studies illustrating recommended approaches to bring together planning and public health.
In this episode we talk to Mexican Architect, Pamela Carbajal who works with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and spent the last two years co-ordinating the sourcebook. We speak to from her current base in Nairobi.
She states: “Cities have a central role in preventing diseases. Urban Planning and policies define the air we breathe, the quality of spaces we use, the water we drink, the way we move, our access to food, and also the treatment of diseases through adequate access to health care for all.”
In addition to championing the report, Pamela also supports different countries in Latin America on National Urban Policy development process and targeted City-wide public space assessments.
Recorded 16th June 2020
TTPod COVID Diary 11: “When the Streets Have No Names” The importance of addressing as the basis for responsive service delivery and governance
The ability to track and trace movement of citizens to assist with monitoring and evaluation of COVID-19 has been one of the main responses of governments health authorities globally. Mapping where new infections are occurring, where patients have recovered and who has received – when developed - vaccines is fundamental to an effective health response. However, that mapping implies the ability to place a case “in space” and the credibility of the monitoring system will be determined by the accuracy of the placement.
But what happens when you don’t have an address that is recognised by a land, postal or health system? Globally two-thirds of households do not have an address. The implication for most is limited or no delivery services, limited right and lands security. Having or not having and address impacts on civic identity, urban information systems, tax systems, land management, tenure, informal settlement upgrading, and ultimately, the economy. The implications for planning, service delivery and co-ordination are obvious.
Carsten Bjornsson helps us understand these implications. As an experienced GIS expert and land surveyor by profession, he has almost 20 years of service working with ESRI and is currently their Land Administration Lead. He’s also served as Assistant Professor at KVL University in Copenhagen, Denmark.
We ask him about some of the fundamentals of addressing – why it’s important, how can we go about creating an address and what are the benefits during a crisis response period and more longer term in terms of the land information systems that underpin our property markets and rates and revenue base?
He is no stranger to South Africa and visited Johannesburg last year where his keynote address reflected innovation to support street addressing. We are indebted to him spending time with us and reflecting on the approaches and opportunities that are available.
Recorded June 4th 2020