Cape Town’s natural assets and biological diversity are part of what makes the city a unique and desirable place to live, work and visit. However, it’s no secret that the city is also very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. After all, in in 1488, Bartolomeu Dias called this part of the African coastline the “Cabo das Tormentas” (i.e. the “Cape of Storms”) for its relentless winter temperaments.
Today, the recent Western Cape drought has revealed just how severe the impacts of climate change can be on the metropolis. It caused significant disruption across a wide variety of Cape Town’s systems. Similar extreme climatic events are expected to become more frequent and intense in the future.
In preparation, the City has been taking steps to reduce its vulnerability and increase its climate resilience. Several long-term city-wide transformations are underway, each with unique goals, that are delivering new investments and actions each year, including the:
However, while long-term city-wide transformations are underway, shocks, including climate change in Cape Town, can strike at any time. This is why a partnering between the City government and Capetonians is being further strengthened. After all, supporting actions that build resilience relies on unity in this regard. This is why it’s not surprising that there are a number of initiatives working towards city-wide impact through combined actions taken by households, businesses and communities.
The City of Cape Town Resilience Strategy emphasises the growth of partnerships that strengthen transportation systems and improve mobility. The spatial form and social fabric of the city have been negatively affected by the legacy of apartheid urban planning and this has led to environmental impacts too. While this is continuously being rectified on a socio-economic level, climatic shocks like localised flooding and power outages, are also being addressed. For example:
The City of Cape Town Resilience Strategy also emphasises engaging communities and the private sector in efforts to further improve public spaces. This kind of place-making can inspire people to collectively re-imagine and re-invent public spaces in communities. For example:
The City of Cape Town Resilience Strategy also emphasises building climate resilience through adaptive responses to the impacts of climate change in Cape Town. These are spread across a multitude of government, organisational, and community plans. This highlights areas that require particular focus in building climate resilience, particularly those areas of higher vulnerability identified in the context of the recent drought. For example:
There are at least 204 informal settlements in Cape Town that have been established in response to rapid inward migration. The City of Cape Town is always innovating for improved conditions, service delivery, and well-being in informal settlements. The challenges of daily stresses and intermittent shocks are exponentially higher for Capetonians living in these settlements. The City provides access to basic services in informal settlements, including electricity, water and waste services. However, more initiatives are gaining momentum in areas like:
Contact us today if you’d like to discuss the City of Cape Town’s Resilience Strategy and particularly the elements that go into making the Mother City such a climate-adaptive metropolis.