Master Series: What can southern cities learn from each other when planning for climate change

Date: 23-09-2015
Location: Indian Institute of Human Settlements(IIHS), Bengaluru, India
Brief Description:
This masterclass continues from Sumetee’s last class titled “Are Southern Cities Adapting to Climate Change?”. Sumetee practised as a public sector consultant for more than a decade in South Africa, in the domains of integrated strategic planning and performance management across national, provincial and local government.

In this class she discusses whether administrative structures and planning instruments at municipal level in South Africa, offer lessons for Indian Cities to tackle the interlinked challenges of urban development and climate change adaptation. The focus will be on municipal structures and processes in Durban and Cape Town in South Africa, and Bangalore and Surat in India.

Key Learning Outcome

– A systems framework for understanding the vulnerability of cities
– Examples of adaptation practice in Southern Cities
– Challenges in adopting a systems framework for climate adaptation in Indian cities
Click here to read detailed description of the event.

Event summary

At the start, each of the participants gave information about their background and motivation to attend this lecture. Like the instructor, majority of them were from architectural or planning background. 2 like me are from engineering and one of them was from economics. At the core of this lecture was recent assessment report of IPCC(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which has dedicated chapters on urban and rural areas for the first time. Like, last lectures on this series, this is also going to focus on South Africa.In this lecture, some key lessons from South African cities will be covered and their adaptability in Indian context will be taken into consideration.

Initially, we learn a bit more about South Africa. The history of South Africa, colonization, the 4 different capitals and the demographic categorization. It has been evident that much of the thinking towards sustainable development has started after 1994. It was the year when apartheid law has been totally abolished. The post 1994 Local governance in South Africa can be categorized into 3 different categories.

Category A: Metropolitan Municipality
Category C: District municipalities (similar to Indian administration system)
Category B: Local municipalities
Setting the context: 1913 (Colonization of Africa)

To improve the status of everyone after the 1994, local governance has been given prominent role in planning and implementation of plans. Challenge of post apartheid cities were status, finance, capacity and legitimacy at International level.

Introduction to planning:
Many of the policies were adapted from United Kingdom(UK) planning methods. In case of South Africa, many level of influence is played down with different kind of people. Every different stakeholders voice were taken into consideration. This was a participatory process where Local government can object to the plans of the central government. The freedom of planning and implementation at local level allowed municipalities and city governance to align their goals with the national policies. The idea of planning as a process, rather than simply a blueprint design has been adapted.
Before the anti apartheid law came into picture in 1994, cities were developed differently. The segregation at some places is still visible and bringing everyone at equal level from these different societies led to development of new methodology.

IDP(Integrated Development Plan)
The role of different actors like mobility(transportation), infrastructure (roads), facilities (hospitals, education) has been felt for the sustainable development of any city. The IDP enabled municipalities to assess, prioritizes,set goals, plan, budget, execute, monitor and evaluate.

The instructor than continued on different aspects of IDP, how different stakeholders influences the decision making process in the past decade. After a short break, we then moved into understanding of CapeTown’s action plan for energy and climate change. An handout containing list of measures taken by Cape Town city council has been provided to use. You call can read the list of measures taken here:

Case of Bangalore
After learning a lot about the systems in place in different municipalities in South Africa, instructors asked to reflect something in relation to Bangalore. We were asked to form a group among ourselves to discuss following questions in relation to Bangalore:

Where do you think planning for climate change has to be located?
What kind of instrument would you recommend?
How could you prioritize in the different context?
What kind of time frame would you be looking at?

After 10-15 minutes of discussion, each of the group has presented their findings to other people.

About the instructor

Sumetee Pahwa Gazzar is a consultant with IIHS and has worked as a design consultant in her early career in India. She worked as a policy and strategic development planning consultant and trainer for the South African public sector. She has taught strategic and development planning to municipal officials and worked on policy analysis of environmental, development and climate change regulations and legislation, systems analysis of business processes towards reduced emissions and waste streams, and city development strategies for sustainability.

More about her publications, academic profile can be read here.

About the Unpacking Urbanism Series and Master Class
Unpacking Urbanism is a series of short courses taught by IIHS faculty and advisors which will engage with the theories and debates of urban practice. Through a curated set of master classes, courses and case studies, the series will unpack central ideas and frameworks that affect how we understand the urban.
The master classes are 3 hour sessions which are free for public and will be conducted in a seminar format. These sessions will be a critical exploration of the various dimensions of ideas that are understood in different ways. The master classes seek to raise questions, open debates, and challenge our understanding of different facets of the urban.You can view more about this masterclass in this link

More information:
My blog on ‘Are Southern Cities Adapting for Climate Change?’
Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Facebook page
Indian Institute of Human Settlements, website
Unpacking Urbanism – Master Class : ‘What can Southern Cities learn from each other when planning for climate change?’, Facebook Page

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