State of the Cities Reporting

South African cities as effective drivers of local and national development” is the theme of the fourth edition of the SoCR. It is the 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 report’s aim is to improve our understanding of the role of cities and what is required to ensure their succes


SoCR 2016 Main Report

The full report including city profiles and annexures.

SoCR 2016 Peoples Guide

A supplementary product to the SoCR 2016 Main Report, aimed at disseminating the main messages to a broader audience.


Chapter 1 – Introduction

The key trends, dynamics and concepts related to the theme “South African cities as effective drivers of local and national development”.


Chapter 2 – Spatial Transformation

The imperative for spatial transformation, and the practical role of space and the built environment in urban development.


Chapter 3 – Productive Cities

How cities can deliver effectively on both growth and economic inclusion (supporting livelihoods).


Chapter 4 – Inclusive Cities

How cities can better enhance local resilience and reduce inequality.


Chapter 5 – Sustainable Cities

How cities can develop in a way that is in balance with natural resource realities and planetary limits.


Chapter 6 – Well-Governed Cities

Whether city governance systems are – or could be – capable, effective and accountable.


Chapter 7 – Finance

How sustainable municipal financing can be achieved in a context where there is not enough money to go around.


Chapter 8 – Enabling Environment

A call for action to all urban actors whose commitments will be necessary to ensure innovative, dynamic city economies and livelihoods.


End-matter (Acronyms, Figures, References)

Acknowledgements, contents, forewords, city timeline, and SoCR overview and main messages.


The South African Cities Network prepares and publishes regular editions of a State of the Cities Reports for South Africa.

24 – 25 November 2009


The State of South African Cities
BOMBARDED with news reports about municipal service delivery protests, revenue crises, infrastructure decay, and corruption, it is easy to be despondent about the state of South African cities. With local government elections on the horizon, this is an opportune time to review empirical evidence of urban development and urban management outputs and results in the cities.

The South African Cities Network’s flagship knowledge generation project is State of the Cities reporting. The first State of the Cities Report was published in 2004 as part of the national 10-year review. A second edition was published in 2006 with an extended series of indicators and more detailed analysis of city performance. Since then, the SACN has prepared ‘state of’ reports on strategically important sectors, including: Municipal finance, EPWP and Land use management.

The SACN intends to publish the 3rd edition of the State of the Cities Report (SoCR3) in October 2010, and preliminary research and analysis has been done. This Urban Development Conference will give participants the opportunity to review emerging data and analysis, and discuss the findings.

The purpose of this conference is to:

Further develop our common understanding of the state of urban settlements in South Africa
Promote knowledge sharing on urban development and urban management strategies and practices between the SACN member cities
Raise awareness of urban development priorities

Download Presentations:

The State of the Building Environment
Building the City: Mr Ian Palmer
Owning the City: Dr Mark Napier
Moving in the City: Mr Philip van Ryneveld
Working in the City: Dr Miriam Altman

First Set of Breakaway Discussions
State of Municipal Finance: Mr Philip van Ryneveld
Municipal Revenue: Ms Yasmin Coovadia
Municipal Borrowing: Mr Conrad Barberton
Employment and Unemployment in the Cities: Ms Shirley Robinson
State of EPWP in the Cities: Mr Ismail Akhalway
State of Urban Food Security: Dr Bruce Frayne
Conditions of Food Security: Dr Battersby Lennard and Mr Kroll
Climate Change in the Cities

Second Set of Breakaway Discussions
Freight Flows: Mr Bongisizwe Mpondo
Tourism and Economic Growth: Mr Nicholas Northcote
Energy in the Cities: Ms Megan Euston-Brown
Air Quality in the Cities: Mr Jongikhaya Witi
Indicators Project Briefing: Mr Nishendra Moodley
Inclusive City Measures: Ms Wendy Ovens
Productive City Measures: Ms Shirley Robinson
State of the Cities in Africa Project Reporting: Ms Ntombini Marrengane

Closing Plenary
SACN 3rd Urban Conference Closing Plenary: Mr Sithole Mbanga

Focus Area: Development Strategy | State of the Cities Reporting | Urban Indicators | HIV/AIDS

Projects: SoCR 2004 | SoCR 2006 | SoCR 2011 | SoCR Lessons | Good Practice Guide | City Summits |Urban Conferences & Expos | Other Reviews and Trigger Articles
The South African Cities Network prepares and publishes regular editions of a State of the Cities Reports for South Africa.


The 2004 and 2006 South African State of Cities reports were both impressive products that had a significant impact. Based on the experiences of producing and disseminating these two reports, there are many lessons that can be learned as to how to undertake State of Cities reporting processes.
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SOUTH African cities are under the national and international spotlight again. Community protests over service delivery, disputes about councillor selection, mismanagement and underspending of municipal budgets, and recurrent billing problems have attracted growing public concern. Yet cities have also been fêted for rekindling a spirit of national unity during 2010, delivering world-class transport schemes and leading the economy out of recession.

The SOCR 2011 reflects on the first decade of a democratic and transformed local government in South Africa 2001-2010.

 cover page SoCR 2011

other socr publications

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