Anna Taylor Borchers

Research Staff

Anna works on questions of urban adaptive governance and sustainable transitions to address the differential risks, vulnerabilities and impacts associated with climate change. With a background in human geography and environmental science, Anna draws increasingly on conceptual and methodological tools from the fields of organisational studies and political science to address issues of public, collective decision-making that pertains to complex and interconnected environmental, socio-economic and infrastructural systems, especially in cities. She has a keen interest in what knowledge, whose knowledge and how different kinds of knowledge is brought to bear on decisions and actions affecting the resilience of an urban system, which quickly leads to questions of power and (dis)empowerment. In addition to simply understanding these dynamics better, she strives to play an active role in bridging between different disciplines, sectors, communities of practice and organisations to connect domains of knowledge and practice for the purposes of shared learning, more inclusive forms of governance and more sustainable and regenerative ways of growing cities. Anna joined the African Centre for Cities in 2011 to work on her PhD as part of the Mistra Urban Futures programme. This has involved a close partnership with the City of Cape Town municipal government, working as an embedded researcher to analyse and contribute to the further development of climate adaptation processes and adaptive pathways, both at a strategic city-wide level and within the fields of stormwater management and coastal management. She also seeks to collaboratively build a future for the Cape Town Climate Change Think Tank (previously City Lab), which generated many valuable insights and connections during the first phase, under the leadership of Anton Cartwright, Gregg Oelofse and Sue Parnell. The Climate Change Think Tank provides a deliberative space for thought leaders, decision-makers and activists from across Cape Town’s public, private, academic and civil society spheres to build a joint knowledge base, debate problem framings and explore potential courses of action for strengthening climate resilience of the city and within the city.

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