chevron_left Back to Projects

African Cities Research Consortium

We bring together stakeholders to generate insights and evidence that will help improve the living conditions, services and life chances of all city residents.

top right mosaic bottom left mosaic
African Cities Research Consortium

Years active:

2021 - 2026

Visit the website

Visit the ACRC website arrow_outward

Follow on social media

Related ICLEI Pathway(s)


Accra, Ghana; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Harare, Zimbabwe; Kampala, Uganda; Khartoum, Sudan; Lagos, Nigeria; Lilongwe, Malawi; Maiduguri, Nigeria; Mogadishu, Somalia; Nairobi, Kenya

Project summary

From the beginning, our research and engagement is focused on generating a rich, nuanced understanding of the city. By combining a systems approach with political analysis, informed by a wide range of perspectives, we will identify complex problems. Working with local reform coalitions, we will explore new approaches to tackle recognised urban challenges.

To address the systemic nature of these challenges, we focus on urban development domains. These broad fields of power, policy and practice go beyond sectorial silos and provide the potential to unlock reform.

We will bring together community organisations, local government and agencies to co-produce knowledge and evidence. Once complex problems in focus cities have been identified, we will undertake action research alongside urban reformers to help catalyse transformative changes for all residents. We are committed to reaching marginalised groups including women, children and those with disabilities with financially robust, environmentally sustainable and politically achievable reforms.

Emerging insights of what works and potential solutions to urban challenges will be continually shared across the continent and beyond.

Project aims

Our research is structured under four key themes, which will be explored over three sequential phases of work, with uptake running throughout:

Phase 1: Inception

Phase 2: Foundation

Phase 3: Implementation

>> uptake >> 

Four themes:

Theme 1: Rethinking African cities – concepts and theory.

Theme 2: Understanding cities as systems.

Theme 3: Tackling priority complex problems to unlock urban systems.

Theme 4: Research uptake, including pathways to impact and synthesis.

“The long-term prospects for much of Africa will hinge on creating more sustainable, equitable and inclusive cities. The African Cities Research Consortium will enable us to tease out the complexities and highlight potential solutions to improve urban centres across the continent”.
- Professor Diana Mitlin

Project highlights

Highlight 1

Publication of city scoping studies; Accra, Lilongwe, Freetown and Harare

Highlight 2

Inception interim workshops:

  • Accra interim workshop; 16-17 February 2022
  • Freetown; 10-11 March 2022
  • Lilongwe; 13-14 April 2022
  • Harare; 16 July 2022

Highlight 3

ACRC consortium workshops; Accra, Lilongwe, Freetown and Harare

Highlight 4

Project partners

team manager

Main project contact


Dr Funmi Adeniyi

Manager: Rights-Based Approaches
African Cities Research Consortium