8.0 – Meeting ACC @ UCT

On our way back to the city from Sweet Home Farm we stopped to have meeting with the director of African Centre for Cities, Edgar Pietersen. ACC is an University of Cape Town multidisciplinary initiative that has a mission: The 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. The meeting was basically about the possible future collaborations between Aalto and UCT. ACC and UCT pay a lot of attention to Sustainability, and transformation, as does Aalto. I’m not sure if it led to any consensus but the meeting it self was truly interesting.

ACC and Edgar do a lot of really interesting, topnotch and cutting-edge research and project work in reforming urban planning, education, local democracy – just to name few. I highly recommend you to take you good time and go through ACC webpage that is really content heavy.

In the meeting we talked about multidisciplinary initiatives within universities. Although post-formal science is already pretty well established method for paradigm shifting thinking, it has its structural stiffness issues – especially in university funding. Funding is based still on the barrack or silo form of science making, each department receives funding based on papers published, researchers working, professors, graduations etc. so interdisciplinary projects are hard to fund since in true sense no department could coin the results. ACC was founded to function between different departments as an separate body, that is funded by the public sector. An interesting part of ACC is that they bring professional practitioners back into the academy sphere, to feed back to the academic knowledge pot, and also to learn something new – basically facilitating academic knowledge to effectively move from uni to society at large and back.

Another super interesting initiative, well not just an initiative but an established entity, that Peter told about is The Indian Institute of Human Settlement – of which ACC is a global partner for, among such entities as MIT and IDEO. IIHS is basically an effort to establish an national institute to India that is an university designed and planned from clean slate, that aims all its activities to benefit the society at large, so that the country can respond with wise and timely solutions. I’m seriously thinking of applying to their new Master in Urban Practice program.

There’s so many good things going on here.. and there. All these projects, programmes and initiatives led me to think about how we really are definitely transforming back to plural existence and togetherness, that is future and sustainability minded – in the true sense of sustaining. The future is going to be so very interesting.