This project aims to explore the role and function of cities and the applicable national law frameworks in the South African and German contexts in the pursuit of safe and sustainable cities as envisioned in international law and international relations.

In this project established and emerging scholars work on issues of safe and sustainable metropolitan and other municipal areas from the Northern and Southern hemispheres as well as from legal and other scientific fields. During the course of the project, participants will generate novel responses to the questions posed with reference to the international, German and South African contexts. Some project participants focus on local government in the collective e.g. on the role of international and regional city networks and the power of networks in the shift from government to governance. Other participants will focus on relevant aspects in the domestic contexts of Germany and/or South Africa.

The mix of research expertise and focus facilitate the cross-pollination of new and existing knowledge on safe and sustainable cities and the sharing of lessons from law and other disciplines in the context of both developed and developing countries. The project participants individually and as a team explore the meaning and features of safe and sustainable cities as seen through the lens of international, regional and domestic law.

Project objectives

  1. To devise a systematic and novel conceptual framework in the fields of law and governance that reflects new knowledge from the international level, developed country (Germany) and a developing country (South Africa) on the following topics:
    1. The social, political (including the institutional) and legal parameters of ‘safe’ and ‘sustainable’ cities in terms of international law;
    2. The social, political (including the institutional) and legal parameters of ‘safe’ and ‘sustainable’ cities from the perspective of South African and German law;
    3. The role of cities in international security from the perspective of international law and international relations theory;
    4. The role of cities in the international pursuit of sustainability from the perspective of international law and urban studies theory; and
    5. The domestic law instruments necessary for cities to be ‘safe’ and ‘sustainable’ in South Africa and Germany – i.e. lessons to be learned from the developed and developing country perspectives.
  2. To critically explore and explain in the developing and developed country contexts the interdisciplinary links between governance at the city and international levels, domestic and international law and international relations, and sustainability and issues of security as international policy objectives; and
  3. To make a consolidated new scholarly contribution through publications and the outcomes of discussion forums (a start-up workshop, research visits and a conference) with specific recommendations for law, policy and governance reform and policy making in the fields of urbanisation, security and sustainability in the German and South African contexts.