Future Resilience for African CiTies And Lands (FRACTAL)

Lead Research Organisation: Aurecon
Department Name: Cape Town

Abstract

The problem: Building climate change resilience necessarily means building urban resilience. Africa's future is dominated by a rapidly increasing urban population with complicated demographic, economic, political, spatial and infrastructural transitions. This creates complex climate vulnerabilities of critical consequence in the co-dependent city-regions.
Climate change substantially complicates the trajectories of African development, exacerbated by climate information that is poorly attuned to the needs of African decision makers. Critical gaps are how climate processes interact at the temporal and spatial scales that matter for decision making, limited institutional capacity to develop and then act on climate information, and inadequate means, methods, and structures to bridge the divides. Current modalities in climate services are largely supply driven and rarely begin with the multiplicity of climate sensitive development challenges.
There is a dominant need to address this disconnect at the urban scale, yet climate research in Africa is poorly configured to respond, and the spatial scale and thematic foci are not well attuned to urban problems. Most climate-related policies and development strategies focus at the national scale and are sectorally based, resulting in a poor fit to the vital urban environments with their tightly interlocking place-based systems.
Response: FRACTAL's aim is to advance scientific knowledge about regional climate responses to anthropogenic forcings, enhance the integration of this knowledge into decision making at the co-dependent city-region scale, and thus enable responsible development pathways.
We focus on city-region scales of climate information and decision making. Informed by the literature, guided by co-exploration with decision makers, we concentrate on two key cross-cutting issues: Water and Energy, and secondarily their influence on food security. We work within and across disciplinary boundaries (transdisciplinarity) and develop all aspects of the research process in collaboration with user groups (co-exploration).The project functions through three interconnected work packages focused on three Tier 1 cities (Windhoek, Maputo and Lusaka), a secondary focus on three Tier 2 cities (Blantyre, Gaborone and Harare), and two self-funded partner cities (Cape Town and eThekwini).
Work Package 1 (WP1) is an ongoing and sustained activity operating as a learning laboratory for pilot studies to link research from WP2 and 3 to a real world iterative dialogue and decision process. WP1 frames, informs, and steers the research questions of WP2 and 3, and so centres all research on needs for responsible development pathways of city-region systems.
WP2 addresses the decision making space in cities; the political, economic, technical and social determinants of decision making, and seeks to understand the opportunities for better incorporation of climate information into local decision making contexts.
WP3, the majority effort, focuses on advancing understanding of the physical climate processes that govern the regional system, both as observed and simulated. This knowledge grounds the development of robust and scale relevant climate information, and the related analysis and communication. This is steered explicitly by WP1's perspective of urban climate change risk, resilience, impacts, and decisions for adaptation and development.
The project will frame a new paradigm for user-informed, knowledge-based decisions to develop pathways to resilience for the majority population. It will provide a step change in understanding the cross-scale climate processes that drive change and so enable enhanced uptake of climate information in near to medium-term decision making. The project legacy will include improved scientific capacity and collaboration, provide transferable knowledge to enhance decision making on the African continent, and in this make significant contribution to academic disciplines.

Planned Impact

FRACTAL aims to alter how African cities include climate change in development planning, in a context with no direct historical precedent. This is critical given that the interests of the majority urban population place an inviolable demand (with substantial regional dependencies) on water, energy and associated infrastructure. FRACTAL recognizes that supply-driven climate information (e.g. IPCC) is having limited impact in real world decision making, largely due to messages of limited relevance or robustness at the scales and for the contexts of decision making. We directly address this inadequacy through increased understanding of regional climate information and informed by co-exploration with decision makers. FRACTAL seek s to bring fundamental changes in key decision pathways (around water, flooding and energy) to increase the resilience of city-regions. This will leave a legacy of new knowledge, capacity and learning exemplars in 5 city-regions from which Africa can build. FRACTAL will provide an essential counterpart and balance in a landscape where the majority of climate development actions have non-urban, sectoral or rural foci.

There are four groups of beneficiaries:
a) Policy and decision-makers in government, resource management and infrastructure from local officials (case-study cities) to national-scale line Ministries which oversee urban development and the planning of infrastructure and regional services. These benefit through: co-generation of information and policy guidelines; new frameworks for incorporating climate change information in the context of multiple stressors and competing agendas; deep co-learning benefits led by researchers embedded in city governments; peer-to-peer relationships that lead to learning opportunities amongst the city partners; written materials generated by the project.
b) International and regional development institutions. The project will present research findings to guide development organizations and funders who are important contributors to development and adaptation trajectories. This will be strengthened by leveraging existing networks, such as the consortium's IPCC/WCRP/SASSCAL/Future Earth presence.
c) Academic disciplines and research communities in Africa and internationally. A publication strategy will place papers in disciplinary journals and the work will be disseminated at major conferences. Academics from under-capacitated African universities will benefit through the production of research, teaching tools and supporting publications. New inter-institutional relationships will foster the establishment of critical research capacity within the region to initiate key research agendas. Collaboration with the international community provides much needed reverse flows of knowledge, giving African researchers valuable entry to participate in research governance on the international scale (e.g. WCRP, IPCC, etc.).
d) Society. While largely an indirect process, this grouping has potential to receive the largest impact and benefit. By operating in the placed-based context of the majority of the population, FRACTAL can help steer development to enhance the quality of life and human security of large sections of society, as well as protect the economic system through both enabling opportunities and managing the very high risk of maladaptation with its attendant costs, damages, and inefficiencies. Informed city governance can lead to greater awareness and understanding in the voting population which can introduce major shifts in how nations choose to respond to climate change. Likewise, by changing the policy environment new opportunities for economic engagement are created.

Lastly, a significant cross-cutting impact is the building of trust relationships, dialogue and learning between and within these communities, which fosters growth potential as adaptation increasingly adopts a policy-first approach (versus a science-scenario-first approach).

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We have discovered that climate change is not a priority consideration for key decision makers for African cities. Instead their primary concerns or more short term risks and dealing with existing backlogs in terms of basic service provision. There is therefore not a clearly articulated demand from key decision makers at the city level of better climate change information. Further work during FRACTAL has increased the awareness of climate change risks and the importance of a bottom up, co-exploration approach to adaptation.
Exploitation Route Continuing research (including ours) need to recognize the priority concerns of city level decision makers and find ways to make climate change impacts relevant. Further development of bottom up approaches and co-exploration of climate change risks in order to co-discover possible and long lasting solutions for effective decision making.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.fractal.org.za.
 
Description Our involvement in the City Learning labs and the discussions with the various cluster groups have contributed to additional research questions being developed, We have also contributed to a working paper on defining climate resilience for Africa cities, which we hope will inform future thinking about developing resilient infrastructure for cities.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Inegrating Climate Change into the City of Cape Town Water Strategy
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact We are currently working to integrate the learnings from FRACTAL and recent climate change scenarios into the development of a Water Strategy for Cape Town including determining possible future climate scenarios and providing advice on appropriate adaptation and water supply augmentation options.
 
Description Integrated FRACTAL climate narratives into update of the City of Windhoek Water Masterplan
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact It has contributed to the consideration of future water supply options to the City of Windhoek and lessons learnt from the FRACTAL study.
 
Description Integrating Climate Change in to the Windhoek Water and Sanitation Masterplan
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact We are currently integrating the learnings from FRACTAL into the development of the Windhoek Water and Sanitation Master Plan.
 
Description Water Supply Policy brief for Lusaka
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description 14th International Water Association (IWA) Specialist Conference on Watershed and River Basin Management 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The conference addressed cutting edge issues related to sustainable watershed management, with a special focus on emerging issues related to climate change. Activities included plenary and parallel sessions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.rbm2017.com/index.php/home
 
Description 18th WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP-SA Symposia, Swakopmund, Namibia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented a paper "Integrating climate change information into planning and design for water related infrastructure in Windhoek and other African cities". It was a collaborative paper between FRACTAL partner institutions that answered a question that emerged from the Windhoek learning Lab. The included input from a flood practitioner, embedded researcher, social scientist, climate scientists and an engineer. Information was requested pertaining to the study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.waternetonline.org/downloads/proceedings
 
Description FCFA WASH series contribution 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Was interviewed for a series of journalistic style articles on the FCFA work across sub-Saharan Africa, and spoke about the application of WASH in Lusaka. This was an opportunity to share work done on FRACTAL with a broader audience in a more informal manner.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://futureclimateafrica.org/news/lusakas-water-security-needs-integrated-planning-and-governance...
 
Description FRACTAL Annual Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The activities included reflections as well as detailed discussions on the approach to learning, and group work on the approaches and operations within FRACTAL that facilitate knowledge production.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.futureclimateafrica.org/news/challenges-and-successes-reflecting-on-a-year-of-fractal/
 
Description FRACTAL Annual Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Two day workshop to review the progress made with regards to FRACTAL and to reconfirm and redefine planned working groups and research objectives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description FRACTAL Annual event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Main activities involved taking stock of project progress to date within the project, a focus on next steps and a networking opportunity across cities and within research themes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.futureclimateafrica.org/news/reflections-from-fractals-annual-meeting/
 
Description FRACTAL Inception Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an inception workshop for the representatives of the FRACTAl consortium that included researchers and some city level decision makers from a number of cities in Africa. The purpose was to discuss the objectives of FRACTAL and to get an understanding of the particularly climate change risks and challenges experienced at the city level that can be addressed through the FRACTAL project.;
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description FRACTAL Learning interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The interview looked at how does transdisciplinary research support learning for dealing with uncertain and emergent climate-related problems in southern African cities. Some of the sub-questions included: what are the main goals for the different groups of people with regards to being involved in such research? Have these goals been met? How do these goals differ across groups (e.g. researchers from more technical fields, government and civil societies or NGOs)? Do these learning processes contribute to agency for making decisions in uncertain conditions with regards to the effects of climate change in developing southern African cities? Do the tools, games and discussions that have been incorporated in engagements contribute to learning or agency and if so, how? This was an opportunity for personal reflection and to share my experience within the FRACTAL project in a way that would contribute to someone's research of similar processes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description FRACTAL Learning retreat 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The retreat was for trialling a set of virtual methods that would help us consolidate key learnings from the first phase of FRACTAL (2015-2019) and set in motion the activities of the bridge funding phase (2019-2021). This retreat was a key milestone in the lifespan of the project and contributed to a more effective costed extension phase. Lessons from trialling virtual methods were also captured and shared to support the move towards more virtual (less carbon-intensive) events in the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description FRACTAL annual event 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact FRACTAL is in its fourth and final year; the last annual meeting was held from 13-15 February with the overarching objectives to:
1.Collaboratively articulate a big picture of FRACTAL work that has been undertaken during the project;
2. Unpack the FRACTAL-related impacts in cities and the frontiers in science; and
3. Collate recommendations from team members for carrying FRACTAL work forward at an individual, institutional and community level.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Frontliner for FRACTAL writeshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact To facilitate the process of capturing as much as possible before the end of the project FRACTAL hosted a write-shop from 19-22 November 2018 in
Klipbokkop Mountain Reserve (Worcester). This write-shop served as a pivotal milestone in the ongoing process of producing key FRACTAL
outputs. Frontliners described a research process and put themselves forward to lead (after discussing within their research group). Each frontliner received feedback on how to update their research/writing process so that they better talk to the key framing concepts, integrate with one another, as well as adequately articulate important FRACTAL
messages. Feedback was provided on an ongoing basis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Future Climate For Africa mid-term conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The annual event devoted to showcasing progress across the consortia in FCFA. Activities included keynote addresses in plenary sessions, thematic breakout sessions, and poster presentations. Was involved in a poster presentation of a city-centric approach to achieving water security for Lusaka in an uncertain future climate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.futureclimateafrica.org/news/future-climate-for-africa-programme-conference-delivers-stim...
 
Description Lusaka City Dialogue on Water Security 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Contributed to a dialogue of key stakeholders from Lusaka on the water resources issues and associated climate change risks for the city. The dialogue provided a realization of the need to undertaken some initial analysis of potential climate change impacts before reporting back to influence key decision makers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Lusaka City High level breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A breakfast meeting was organised by the Future resilience for African cities and lands (FRACTAL) projects in order to engage the key policy makers and decision makers in the city of Lusaka. The aim of the breakfast was to bring together researchers, academicians and policy makers to discuss water issues in the city of Lusaka in relation to climate change and decision making for adaptation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.futureclimateafrica.org/news/blog-partnerships-and-collaboration-key-to-addressing-water-...
 
Description Lusaka City Learning Lab 2 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The second City Learning Lab for Lusaka was held on Thursday 6th July, 2017 at Radisson Blu hotel.Activities included a report back on progress and activities, presentation from Lusaka city council, national water and sanitation council, and the Zambian meteorological department. A vision was work-shopped for the for water in Lusaka. I personally presented the concept of a water supply stress test to the participants.Activities also included a site visit to an informal settlement, Kanyama to view their water supply system.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lusaka City Learning Lab 3 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Activities included a site visit to the Iolanda treatment works and the Kafue River, water-related thematic groups drove discussions around policy briefs, climate information, nexus issue and solution mapping and next steps
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lusaka City Learning Lab 5 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 5th and final Lusaka city learning lab took place from 13-14 November near the Kafue gorge. The workshop aimed to launch the policy briefs, map project progress in Lusaka, present findings of the work I did for the systems mapping of the water system and the use of bottom-up decision support and expand on the distillation process. There was also a future focused session for "where to from here?"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Lusaka Councilor dialogue session 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Contributed to a climate change dialogue session with the councilors of Lusaka. Facilitated a session to identify the main water related issues experienced by councilors in their respective wards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lusaka training on climate science and information 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Activities included training on climate fundamentals, climate models and how they are used for understanding climate change, as well as games relating to the hydrological impacts of climate change and understanding climate risk narratives
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lusaka urban Caucus 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact FRACTAL has worked in a number of Southern African Cities and is aiming to convene a gathering to share these insights and to promote possible decision-making pathways for climate resilience in Southern African cities. The caucus organized a trans-disciplinary gathering involving researchers, technocrats and mayors from the 9 cities and to facilitate stimulating dialogue around pressing urban challenges and climate resilience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Maputo Learning Lab - 5th and 6th February 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Paulo Lehener Junior participated in the Maputo Learning lab providing technical inputs particularly with regards to the development of water infrastructure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Oral presentation co-author at AGU 2019 Fall meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact An oral presentation on which i was the co-author was presented at the AGU fall meeting. The title was: Resilient Adaptation to Hydro-climatic Risks in Data-sparse Regions.The presentation suggested that whilst the production of appropriate information is often the starting point for dialogue between scientists and decision-makers, institutional change and enhanced technical capacity are vital to promote resilient adaptation policies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm19/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/545450
 
Description Presentation at Africa Water Week: Integrating Climate Change into water and sanitation infrastructure planning 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Future Climate for Africa hosted a technical breakout session on "Inclusive and sustainable urban water, sanitation and drainage services under climate change - lessons from African cities" at the 7th Africa Water Week in Libreville (Gabon), from 29 October - 2 November, 2018. The session drew together the latest research findings with the lived experiences of flooding and sanitation in several African cities. Speakers included experts across several international research programmes focused on climate change and African urban WASH contexts, as well as local city representatives. The session was hosted through a series of virtual presentations and short videos, available below. I presented on integrating climate change into water and sanitation infrastructure development in Africa and including examples of work done as part of the FRACTAL research project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://futureclimateafrica.org/news/africa-water-week-2018-inclusive-urban-wash-services-under-clim...
 
Description Regional conference on water stewardship for sustainable hydropower 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a regional conference organised by the International Water Stewardship Program (IWASP) to discuss the development of sustainable hydropower in Africa. It included a number representatives from governments across East Africa and including a number of international agencies, such as the International Hydropower Association (IHA), as well as donors (GIZ, etc) and project developers (engineers, designers, financiers, etc). I presented on both decision making under uncertainty as well as approaches for integrating climate change into decision making for hydropower in Africa. This was supported by the Future Climates for Africa Program and included learnings from the FRACTAL research program.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Specialist Workshop at AFRICA 2019: Incorporating Climate Change into Reservoir and River Yields in Semi Arid and Arid Countries 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A specialist workshop was held at the start of AFRICA 2019 conference on hydropower and dams that addressed the challenges with regards to reservoir and river yield assessments in arid and semi-arid areas. I presented a session on integrating climate change into determining reservoir and river yields and including some of the examples from the FRACTAL research project using decision scaling as an alternative approach to the traditional top-down approach. The audience was from a number of African countries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Windhoek Learning Lab 1 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The collaborative learning lab processes in FRACTAL provided a forum in which issues around climate change were deliberated by scientists, engineers and local stakeholders (i.e City of Windhoek, NGOs) together. This led to the identification of the critical risks and possible research questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Windhoek Learning Lab 2 - 31st October 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The second Windhoek Learning Lab consisting of a wide range of stakeholders and key decision makers from the City of Windhoek. The outcomes from the Learning Lab were incorporated into the development of the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Windhoek which will inform future decision making. I presented a case study of assessing potential climate change impacts on increased flood risk in Windhoek as an example of a framework for integrating climate change into water infrastructure decision making.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop at Nairobi Innovation Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact We facilitated a workshop focused on determining narratives for the rehabilitation of urban rivers as a necessary requirement for building urban resilience for African cities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016