Urban riskscapes and crisis response in Cape Town: addressing knowledge gaps for resilience building


Project Team

This research project investigates the role of urban knowledge and evidence in shaping resilient urban strategies at the city level, in the context of social crisis. It looks at a) how cities learn from crisis and which urban knowledge is  generated/used in the context of immediate crisis response and in the anticipation of risky events; b) which type of urban knowledge systems are created to build resilience and strengthen cities abilities to respond to future crisis. It is interested in the type of urban knowledge mobilised and created, as a result of crisis events, but also in the governance of such knowledge. Understanding which actors are involved in resilience building strategies through the process of knowledge production about urban risks and vulnerabilities is central to this research project. It focuses on the city of Cape Town, with a specific focus on the social and economic components of urban riskscapes.


The city of Cape Town is currently facing a number of social pressing issues, including: high unemployment rate among the youth, social unrest in the post apartheid context and racial tensions. By adopting a historical perspective-starting with the recovery from the 2008 xenophobic attacks which killed 62 people in Cape Town- the research aims to understand how urban knowledge systems can be created to inform urban strategies aiming to reduce violent crime against migrant population. By analysing the formation and consolidation of urban knowledge systems in the context of social crisis, the research will provide insights on the relationship between knowledge productions processes and the building of more inclusive urban strategies.