This project is a three-year collaborative research and exchange project between Stockholm Resilience Centre and the African Centre for Cities/Environmental and Geographical Science Department at University of Cape Town (UCT).
The research focus is to investigate ways by which ecological processes are managed and understood in greater Cape Town. The research builds on a body of knowledge generated from urban social-ecological studies in Stockholm and the project seeks to scrutinize this framework that has emerged in a wealthy Northern city through testing it in Cape Town, a major urban area in the global South located in an ecological hot spot with left apartheid structures, high inequality and urban poverty.
The work is organised around issues of scale, social networks and urban wealth/inequality and draws on urban ecology, sociology and cultural geography.
Several in-depth case studies have been made by researchers and students, these include: study of neighbourhood mobilization through ecological rehabiliation of a wetland in Grassy Park (Henrik Ernstson, SRC); critical analysis of a decade long co-management process at Macassar Dunes (Marnie Graham, MSc, SRC, with H Ernstson); comparative study of shifts towards people-centred biodiversity conservation at four nature reserves and the role of the bridging organization Cape Flats Nature (Elin Israelsson, MSc, SRC, with H Ernstson); and various work on urban resilience, water scarcity and food security.
The ESCAPE project is also an exchange project and has facilitated for several centre and UCT reserachers and students to visit and work at the respective institutions and to do field work. The project has also greatly facilitated the writing of several articles and research proposals.