Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL)

START is a partner of the FRACTAL regional research consortium, a newly launched Future Climate For Africa (FCFA) project led by the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town.

Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands

The project’s overarching aim is to advance scientific knowledge about regional climate responses to anthropogenic forcings, and to enhance the integration of this knowledge into decision making at the co-dependent city-region scale that responsibly contributes to resilient development pathways. This is addressed through an iterative, transdisciplinary co-exploration / co-production approach, worked through a set of deep-focus case studies.

FRACTAL will work in three Tier 1 cities, namely: Windhoek, Lusaka, Maputo, and two self funded cities, namely Durban and Cape Town. FRACTAL will also engage with three Tier 2 cities, namely: Blantyre, Gabarone, and Harare.

FRACTAL Kick-off in Cape Town

In August 2015, START joined FRACTAL consortium members for a 3-day workshop hosted by CSAG at the University of Cape Town. Consortium partners as well as representatives from the cities where FRACTAL will be working came together to finalize operational procedures and the work plan for 2015-2016. Read more about the FRACTAL kick-off event here.

Over the next four years, FRACTAL’s work will be focused around three aims:

  1. To advance scientific knowledge on climate processes driving the southern African climate system’s natural variability and response to global change in historic and climate models;
  2. To improve the distillation of defensible climate information, that are informed by and tailored to urban decision making and risk management contexts; and
  3. To test the use of innovative “co-exploration” methodologies as a means to engage urban partners to integrate climate messages within real-world decisions.


City Learning Labs

This initiative will organise ‘City Learning Labs’ in three Southern African cities – Lusaka, Zambia; Maputo, Mozambique; and Windhoek, Namibia – to explore the vulnerability of urban water and energy services to climate-related events such as flooding, extreme temperatures and sea level rise or storm surges. The Learning Labs will help the research team to pinpoint how the three cities will obtain their freshwater and energy in the changing climate of the future – and how climate-resilient investments could safeguard these services. Researchers will be embedded in city governments to act as sounding boards and advisors. FRACTAL will also collaborate with two additional self-funded South African cities, Ethekwini and Cape Town. Read more about City Learning Labs here.

Project Partners

The consortium includes the following member organizations:

  • Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG), University of Cape Town (Lead Consortium Partner)
  • African Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI), University of Cape Town
  • African Centre for Cities (ACC), University of Cape Town
  • Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • ICLEI Local Government for Sustainability
  • Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Oxford
  • Aurecon
  • Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI)
  • Met. Office Hadley Centre
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • European Commission (EC) Joint Research Centre

For more information on FRACTAL, please visit the FRACTAL project website.
FRACTAL is a project of the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) initiative, and is funded by DFID and NERC.

Last Updated on February 1st, 2016