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Edgar Pieterse

African Centre for Cities

Prof. Edgar Pieterse is an urban scholar, writer and curator whose interests include the theory and practice of imaginaries to make cities in the Global South more just, open and experimental. Edgar is founding director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC), holder of the South African Research Chair in Urban Policy, and Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Cape Town. His research and teaching gravitate around urban development politics, everyday culture, radical social economies, responsive design and adaptive governance systems. Through his publications, advisory work, creative output and international public speaking he has demonstrated that it is possible to produce and popularise a sophisticated and contextually rooted perspective on how to reimagine and remake the built environment of tough cities. He routinely provides advisory services to a variety of international and African urban development agencies and foundations.


A new research project focusses on the potential of Radical Social Enterprises to address the systemic economic and service delivery dysfunctions of popular neighbourhoods in African cities. This inquiry seeks to formulate an endogenous theory and application framework on how the linked crisis of infrastructural poverty and economic exclusion confronted by African youth can be addressed through innovative place-making methodologies that are design-driven, ICT enabled and constitutive of an organic circular economy logic in makeshift African cities. This focus stems from his most recent co-authored book: New Urban Worlds. Inhabiting Dissonant Times (Polity, 2017) and a co-edited volume: Africa’s Urban Revolution (Zed, 2014). Professor Pieterse has published two books, eight edited volumes, and more than a 100 journal articles and book chapters.

Our interdisciplinary Finale jury, consisting of distinguished experts in their respective fields, has the difficult task of selecting the next “Falling Walls Young Innovators of the Year”.

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