The New African Urban University


This one-year project is funded by the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Research Development Fund and led by the University of Cape Town, with the Universities of Sheffield, Ghana, Cape Town, Bergen, Bristol, Makerere and Nairobi. 

This project is concerned with strengthening the role of African universities to co-produce urban knowledge to advance SDG 11 sustainable cities. It is based on the assumption that harnessing the promise and potential of African cities to shape global environment and development trajectories over the next decade hinges on amplifying and supporting the New African Urban University to engage with the visioning and shaping of local societal benefits.

By advancing the idea of the New African Urban University, this project engages with the promise and potential of African universities to support transdisciplinary research as a means to foster just and sustainable urban transformations.

By comparing how WUN universities in diverse global South and North contexts are leveraging their role(s) in sustainable urban change, it will set the agenda for a more global and inclusive understanding of the scope of system changes required by universities in Africa.

The network is designed to foster research collaborations and help stimulate larger collaborative projects via four engaging workshops throughout the year, focused on agenda setting. The project serves as an amplifier – by making visible what is already happening – and finds ways to support universities and academic practices, drawing on the strengths of dissimilar comparisons evident in North-South partnerships.

The project builds on the Urban Institute’s history of research, teaching and impact with African institutions and contributes to Faculty research strengths around the potential for new modes of knowledge production to address challenges of infrastructure and rapid urbanisation. This collaboration builds on long-standing networks between UCT and the University of Sheffield, and was developed as part of Dr Patel’s Visiting Fellowship in the UI and links with UI themes: Coproducing Urbanisms, Climate Urbanism and Urban Humans.


Zarina PatelBeth PerryAbdouMaliq SimoneVanesa Castan BrotoTom GoodfellowPaula Meth | Prof Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, University of Bergen | Prof Leon Tikly, University of Bristol | Dr Warren Smit, University of Cape Town | Dr Austin Ablo, University of Ghana | Assoc Prof Richard Vokes, The University of Western Australia | Prof Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University | Dr Elvin Nyukuri, University of Nairobi