Organizations in the urban development field

This section describes the following organizations in respect of their research interests, publications and education activities with a focus on identifying potential (digital) urban knowledge on the Global South.

  1. African Centre for Cities (ACC), University of Cape Town
  2. African Cities Research Consortium
  3. Agence Française de Développment (AFD)
  4. Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  5. Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU-UCL)
  6. Cities Alliance
  7. C40 cities
  8. Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF)
  9. European Commission
  10. Global Urban Research Group (GURG)
  11. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
  12. Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
  13. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
  14. Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
  15. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP)
  16. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  17. Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  18. Shack/Slum Dwellers International
  19. South African Cities Network – SACN
  20. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)
  21. World Bank (Urban Development)
  22. World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Name of OrganizationWhat it does and for what it stands
African Centre for Cities (ACC), University of Cape TownThe ACC seeks to facilitate critical urban research and policy discourses for the promotion of vibrant, democratic and sustainable urban development in the global South from an African perspective
Contact detailsAfrican Centre for Cities (ACC)
Rm2.11, Environmental & Geographical Science Building
Upper Campus
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa
Tel: +27 21 650 5903
Fax: +27 21 650 2032


The site’s publication section has more than a hundred (working) papers on the following broad themes: Climate Risk and Urban Resilience; Informality; Multi-level Governance; Public Culture and Heritage; Sustainable Infrastructures; Sustainable Urban Transitions; Urban Food Systems; Urban Health and Urban Research, as well as having the following regional coverage: Africa; Cape Town; Global South; International; South Africa; Southern Africa and University of Cape Town (UCT). There are also books and chapters of books mentioned in the books section. In addition, the publications section has a periodicals section which covers the Cityscapes Magazine that aims to provide a mix of content – both verbal and non-verbal – ranging from long-form journalism, opinion pieces, interviews, data and infographics to photography and three editions of the African Cities Reader. A lot of material in this section is downloadable.
Research AreasIn terms of projects the organization “aims to produce credible new knowledge on the drivers of urban crisis in African cities with an eye on systemic solutions.”
EducationThey offer an 18-month MPhil in Southern Urbanism covering the themes: Everyday Urbanism, Multi-level Governance, Urban Science and a two-year MA in Sustainable Urban Practice, covering the themes Multi-level Governance, Sustainable Infrastructures, Sustainable Urban Transitions.


Name of OrganizationWhat it does and for what it stands

African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC)

This new initiative aim is to generate insights and evidence that will help improve the living conditions, services and life chances of all city residents, particularly for disadvantaged communities. They have identified 13 initial cities within sub-Saharan Africa with the potential and need for urban reform: Accra (Ghana) Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Bukavu, (Democratic Republic of Congo); Dar es Salaam (Tanzania); Freetown (Sierra Leone); Harare, (Zimbabwe); Kampala, (Uganda) Khartoum, (Sudan); Lagos, (Nigeria); Lilongwe, (Malawi); Maiduguri, (Nigeria); Mogadishu, (Somalia) and Nairobi, (Kenya). Led from The University of Manchester, the consortium includes centres of research excellence, frontline humanitarian responders, effective policy influencers, vibrant local government networks and deeply rooted civil society groups. It is funded with UK aid from the UK government until 2026.

Contact details

African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC),
Global Development Institute (GDI),
University of Manchester,
Oxford Rd,
Manchester, M13 9PLE,
United Kingdom


At the time of writing (July 2021), they had a general brochure about the project, four downloadable City Scoping Studies (Accra, Addis Ababa, Freetown and Maiduguri) and Working Papers were pending.
Research AreasThis is still to be formulated in conjunction with (local) partners. The project’s approach is to explore urban development domains. These broad fields of power, policy and practice go beyond sectorial silos, and they are seen as having the potential to unlock reform. Topics include Structural transformation; Neighbourhood and district economic development; Land and connectivity; Housing; Informal settlements; Health, wellbeing and nutrition; Safety and security and Youth and capability development.
EducationThere does not seem to be any specific activity that addresses education and/or training and capacity building. However, it seems that much of the research will be in conjunction with local partners, so there may be certain spin-offs regarding capacity development.

Name of OrganizationWhat it does and for what it stands
Agence Française de Développement (AFD)The funds, supports and accelerates the transitions to a fairer and more sustainable world. Focusing on climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban development, health and governance, its teams carry out more than 4,000 projects in France’s overseas departments and territories and another 115 countries.
Contact details

AFD Headquarters
5 rue Roland Barthes
75 598 Paris CEDEX 12
Tel: +33 15 344 3131 
Fax: +33 14 487 9939


As of July 2021 there were 92 documents on Sustainable Cities, and of these 15 were Evaluations, 20 were Institutional Documents; 37 were Research Document and 20 were

Videos. Among the Research Documents is a publication by David Dodman (and others) of IIED from 2015 entitled: Understanding the Assessment and Reduction of Vulnerability to Climate Change in African Cities : a Focus on Low-Income and Informal Settlements. AFD have sponsored a number of World Bank publications including: Cities and climate change : responding to an urgent agenda (2011); The informal sector in Francophone Africa : firm size, productivity and institutions (2012); Financing Africa's cities : the imperative of local investment (2012); Land delivery systems in West African cities : the example of Bamako, Mali (2015). In their own right they also published: Panorama of the urban and municipal sector in India (2014) Institutional pathways for local climate adaptation : a comparison of three South African municipalities (2014)
Research AreasTheir Library also include some policy briefs that discuss social housing in several African countries
EducationAFC promotes on its website a French professional masters entitled Maîtrise d'ouvrage pour le développement (MODEV) that focuses on project management and the challenges of sustainable development.

Photo by Alexandra Nicolae on Unsplash

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes