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September 1, 2016

Urban Sustainability in South Africa

by Rakesh Gupta, Management, Marketing and Decision Sciences

In June 2016 Professor Gupta participated in a CIEE Faculty Development Seminar in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, South Africa. We asked him to share a brief account of his time there.—Ed.

Tsouth-africahirteen faculty members from across the US came together to see what NGOs in South Africa are doing in the field of Urban Sustainability. We visited a number of “informal settlements” that have sprung up on the periphery of cities; these spaces are dealing with a myriad of problems, including access to water, food, energy as well as pollution––food waste, human detritus, gray water, etc…. The NGOs are experimenting with novel strategies––solar energy, waterless toilets, composting, community vegetable gardens, conservation, waste separation, etc. Of course, the problem of finding financial resources underlies everything!

The idea is that lessons learned and best practices in South Africa (and in other parts of the world) can be shared for the betterment of such communities everywhere.

Cultural immersion, in addition to learning, was also on the agenda. We got to meet ethnically diverse people, shared meals with them, and listened to their music.

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