Cape Town Inspiring Change Gathering: 18 – 20 November

The climate is changing, what about you?With COP17/CMP7 hosted in Durban during November and December 2011, climate change issues are in the spotlight. While Climate Change solutions are central to South Africa’s future, we need an increased focus on the issues and challenges faced by Cape Town to become a more resilient city. We also need to take advantage of the many opportunities this represents, such as advancing a low carbon economy, creating jobs and living more sustainably.

From Friday 18 November to Sunday 20 November, the Climate Smart Cape Town Coalition in association with the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town will host an Inspiring Change Gathering. The  aim is to stimulate fresh thinking and share ideas about our city as well as foster conversations beyond policy in order to point toward new possibilities, moving the discussion away from what we have to give up toward what we can create.

It presents a rare opportunity to raise good questions and explore creative solutions in an optimistic and real-world way, with colleagues and leaders who can make practical contributions.

Why cities and climate change?

Cities are places of flux and for some innovation and adaptation come easily. In looking for solutions, officials in Cape Town and the Western Cape are being stretched by increasing climate change impacts and the need for novel ways of managing urban spaces and the growing number of people that occupy them. Cape Town is also competing for its portion of the future economy. Climate change is not about to go away and the need to both slash greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the consequences of the changes that are already unavoidable, will reconfigure competitive advantage and create a new set of winners and losers.

If Cape Town gets this right there will be new business, new investments, better services, more tourists and the type of living environment that attracts and retains skilled people. There will also be new ways out of poverty for people trapped by an industrial economy that may have offered a blueprint for development sixty years ago, but now finds itself operating a long way down the value chain and generating exactly the type of environmental degradation that perpetuates poverty.

Successful cities will place a new urgency on developing and adopting innovations that foster growth while reducing material throughput of the economy. But the most progressive cities acknowledge that innovation on its own is unlikely to deliver the scale or pace of change required. The structure, layout and functioning of cities has to change simultaneously, and some cities are doing better than others in managing this process.

Inspiring Change Gathering details

WHEN: 08h00 to 16h30 (optional evening Carrotmob*) Friday 18 November, 08h00 to 17h00 Saturday 19 November and 11h00 to 15hoo for Climate smART in Green Point Urban Park on Sunday 20 November 2011

WHERE: First two days at Cape Town International Convention Centre, Roof Terrace & via the Internet, Sunday’s event is at Green Point Urban Park

PROGRAMME: More information on the programme is available online or by downloading the Inspiring Change Announcement PDF.

REGISTRATION: There is no fee for the gathering. A limited number of spaces are available for physical participants, but any number of virtual participants. Register online at

*What is a Carrotmob? Large groups of customers are organised to “mob” a restaurant where they purchase food and drink. In return for the higher revenue earned that day, the business agrees to invest a certain percentage of the revenue into reducing its environmental footprint.

More about virtual participation

All the presentations and discussions on Day one will be broadcast in real time via the web allowing for simultaneous virtual participation by delegates around the world, including through Twitter and Facebook.

A pre-gathering schedule of online discussions will be developed to raise awareness, help delegates become familiar with the issues (and one another), and focus the discussions that will take place during the actual gathering. Participants will be encouraged to contribute thoughts and content to a webpage that all can reference.

During the course of pre-gathering online discussions, changes to the format of various presentations can be proposed and specific questions suggested for speakers and participants to come prepared to address. The intention is to enable participants to have a voice in shaping the content of the gathering to better meet their needs and expectations.

Inspiring Change is hosted by the Climate Smart Cape Town Coalition in association with the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, and is generously supported by Siemens.

Inspiring Change Gathering in Cape TownFor more information contact:
Julia Karl
021 487 2785 / 071 026 2393

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