We have a Request for Proposals for The Built Environment Integration Task Team (BEITT) Practioner Profiles. Deadline for submission is 24 June 2019. Read more.

The South African Cities Network prepares and publishes regular editions of a State of the Cities Reports for South Africa. These reports, with their thorough research, provide a basis on which to start looking at how to make South African cities better places in which to live, work and play.

The first edition, in 2004, provided a first-of-its-kind overview of how the nine largest cities in the country had performed between 1996 and 2001 against the thematic ideals of productivity, inclusivity, sustainability and good governance. It became a key reference work for public policy development across the spheres of government, strategic planning (particularly by provinces and the cities) and further academic work by a range of researchers.

A second edition, in 2006, was much wider in its scope and provided a clearer picture of the trends in urban performance and the dynamics that shape cities in South Africa. It looked at how city development strategies stimulated economic growth and the extent to which cities had provided access to services, amenities and opportunities for all residents.

A third edition, in 2011, The 2011 SoCR, which was themed "Towards Resilient Cities", laid the foundation for the guiding theme for SACN's 2011-2016 five-year strategy: "South African Cities as effective drivers of local and national development. 

A fourth edition, in 2016, "South African Cities as effective drivers of local and national development" is the theme of the fourth edition of the SoCR. It is a product of the accumulated wisdom of five years of knowledge generation and engagement by the SACN and the broader fraternity of urban development practitioners, scholars and analysts. The reports aim is to improve our understanding of the role of cities and what is required to ensure their success.

Socr publications

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The 2018 Urban Conference will follow on from the 2017 event which focused specifically on communication and engaging with urban stakeholders on the content of the IUDF. At this follow up event, the aim is to further embed the IUDF agenda by focusing on what implementation means in practice. A series of sessions will focus on the themes and sub-themes and will be designed so that there are theoretical and evidence-based inputs but also space for thinking through what practical implementations of the IUDF means for the various spheres of government and in different sectors.

The objectives of the conference are as follows:

  • Harvesting: Pulling together towards and all of society approach. Mapping what is happening in the urban space, where there are opportunities for collaboration and co-producing effective urban responses.
  • Engaging: Working through what multi-stakeholder engagement looks like in practice. Thinking through creating and generating partnered responses.
  • Mobilising: Talking, reflecting, planning together as a collective towards action. How do we develop individual and collective plans to achieve our long term urban agendas?
  • Monitoring: Benchmarking where we are now in order to measure progress over time. Determining what our qualitative and quantitative measures are for determining progress and success.

The SA Urban Conference 2018 will be taking place over the 30-31 October 2018 in Gauteng. The venue is to be confirmed soon. 

If you would like to register for the conference please click below:



African cities are experiencing the most rapid urbanisation. Cities in South Africa are no different. To ensure that our cities are able to provide opportunities and access to all their residents, we must learn to plan and implement better and make more strategic investments. Despite significant advances and progress made in cities challenges remain, and inequality and exclusion keep growing. For many people in our cities, life has not changed. Their situations seem even more dire. Why are things not working? And whose job is it to get things moving? Who does what? And what is required for us to build more inclusive and productive cities?

To build these cities we need the right kind of skills and capacity (in government as well as in private sector). Cities must get creative and innovative to achieve transformative outcomes that change lives. This may mean that plans are co-created with the people who will benefit from them. Which means that we need to encourage built environment professionals, especially planners, to do things differently and to be more responsive to finding solutions for the spatial challenges within cities.

So, we must engage young professionals to think about how they can actively and creatively influence the urban realm to make cities inclusive, resilient and sustainable, productive, well-governed spaces. It is important to involve them as contributors towards building the kind of cities we would all love to live in.

How To Enter:

Entrants are encouraged to enter individually or as a team. Each entrant/team should provide an input that responds to the following:

  • Select a City Development Strategy (CDS) of any city in South Africa and critique its strategy. This critique should include a reflection on the participatory planning process that was undertaken and how this may be improved. You may decide whether you want to select a block, street, or bigger area as your focus. Reflect on an approach to drive collective/co-created place making. You should show how this inclusive planning process contributes to a future vision for the area that makes it part of a more liveable and inclusive city.

The format for submission can be any (or a combination) of the following:

  • A written essay
  • A photo essay
  • An edited video

Deadline for submission is Friday, 7 September 2018, 11pm. All submissions are to be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information about the competition including the full Terms & Conditions please click here.

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