The following is an extract from a speech delivered by Alderman Belinda Walker at the Mistra Urban Futures Knowledge Transfer Project launch event which focuses on supporting a sustainable future for Cape Town through growing and the sharing knowledge.

“We face many difficult challenges today – both locally and globally – like high levels of unemployment, too many people living in unacceptably poor conditions, and having to deal with uncharacteristically severe and damaging weather events.  Only a thinking City committed to sustainable urban development, can address these issues. “

As a leading urban centre in Africa, Cape Town must strive to be a knowledge leader in terms of innovative urban solutions. We have both the capacity and will to implement cutting-edge thinking. It is our responsibility to lead by example in terms of sustainable urban management and, in doing so, set the bar for combating the socio-economic challenges which are evident in a developing city context.

With four top-rated universities in our boundaries, and many esteemed Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, the City of Cape Town finds itself in a network of truly great minds which can inform and contribute to our achievement of urban development in all spheres. We are seeking to use this knowledge base to ensure that we strive for best practice in how we support and drive our economic, spatial and environmental development.

Today the City of Cape Town launched its new internationally-funded Mistra Knowledge Transfer Project with the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities – an initiative which will allow engagement with top thinkers around urban sustainability. This three-year partnership provides the following opportunities for the City of Cape Town:

The secondment of doctoral or post-doctoral researchers into the City to undertake specific tasks, research and work that will lead to defined outcomes, shifting City policy and frameworks towards economic development and urban sustainability.

The opportunity for high performing City staff to be provided with structured academic engagement to further themselves, build their capacity, engage with international peers, and profile the City’s work in internationally recognised journals.

This knowledge partnership is an example of howCape Townis working to be innovative. We are excited by this opportunity; we plan to learn a lot and hope to have more and more of these opportunities going forward.

 Issued by: Communication Department, City of Cape Town on 2 August 2012

Media enquiries: Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 1381 or Cell: 083 629 8031, E-mail: Belinda.Walker@capetown.gov.za