About this project

Urban Transformation in South Africa Through Co-Designing Energy Services Provision: a collaborative research project

Many cities, particularly those with a legacy of under-investment and inequality, are struggling with the transition to more sustainable and inclusive energy systems. This is particularly the case in South Africa, where a large majority of the population is already urban and cities are characterized by inequitable, fragmented, and carbon-intensive energy systems.

The Urban Transformation in South Africa Through Co-Designing Energy Services Provision project, led by Dr. Federico Caprotti at the University of Exeter, aims to identify solutions to these challenges through a multi-disciplinary perspective that combines social, technical, and political expertise. Building on existing networks in the country, the project engages policy makers, businesses and local communities through knowledge sharing, field research and stakeholder workshops. The project is part of the Newton Fund’s network of urban transformations projects.

The research team developed, in 2016-19, a detailed evidence base on energy access, supply and integration in selected cities across South Africa. A series of case studies will explore in-depth the complex nature of energy services and access. The findings will support the development of cleaner, more effective, and more equitable energy systems in South Africa, with important lessons for other countries in the region.

The project is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK and the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa and runs from 2016 to 2019.

During the first year of the project, members of the research team wrote regular blogs to reflect on the research and the co-design of energy services.