Research & Project Outputs
Research papers, published research and project documents
This is Part 1 of a 3 Part Report prepared for the Sustainability Institute by MCA, a Cape Town - based development planning consultancy. Funded by CORDAID, this report provides the basis for future policy work on sustainable infrastructure options.
Katherine Hyman - Economic Development, Decoupling and Urban Infrastructure: lessons from Cape Town's urban system. Paper based on her Mphil thesis research presented at the World Resource Forum, Davos, August 2011. Abstract: While the current economic development trajectory, as determined by global resource flows, is fundamentally unsustainable, decoupling can be adopted as an alternative growth paradigm which allows human development through non-material growth, without the environmental and social casualties of the incumbent model. Particularly, decoupling at the city scale, using networked urban infrastructure as the intervention point, has the greatest capacity to contribute to the resolution of environmental resource constraints. By nature cities are responsible for the majority of production and consumption activities attributed to environmental degradation while simultaneously acting as the primary location for economic, institutional, and human capital which promote innovation. Innovation systems, in particular sustainability orientated innovation systems that stimulate urban transitions are pertinent to the successful implementation of decoupling. The case of Cape Town offers valuable lessons in light of the advanced understanding of urban resource flows and the potential to realise an urban scale transition.
Keywords: Decoupling, Innovation System, Sustainability Orientated Innovation System, Socio-technical, transition.
Lead authors: Dr. Camaren Peter & Prof. Mark Swilling, School of Public Leadership, Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch University, Jeremy Wakeford.
Contributing authors: Peet du Plooy (TIPS, Pretoria), Prof. Martin de Wit (School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University), Johan Lanz (Doctoral Researcher, School of Public of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University), Gareth Haysom (Sustainability Institute), Candice Kelly (Sustainability Institute), Dr. Anthony Turton (Consultant), Prof. Alan Brent (School of Public Leadership and Centre for Sustainable and Renewable Energy Studies, Stellenbosch University), and Kyle Mason-Jones (The Green House, Cape Town), Yvonne Hansen (The Green House, Cape Town), and Brett Cohen (The Green House, Cape Town).