Ifeoma Ebo is an urban designer and strategist with 20 years of international experience working at diverse scales including building, community and city design. As the Director of Strategic Design Initiatives with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, she leads interagency design and built environment initiatives to transform the public realm while addressing public safety and social justice in marginalized communities across NYC. Ifeoma is a 2016 Forefront Fellow of the NYC Urban Design Forum and Next City Vanguard Fellow. She serves on Advisory Boards for BlackSpaceNYC, the Association for Community Design and the NYC Museum of Modern Art. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Masters in City Planning and Urban Design from MIT.

Lance Greyling graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1996 with an Honours in African Studies majoring in politics and economics. He also received a Post Graduate diploma in Sustainable Energy from the University of Stellenbosch in 2009. During the past twenty years he has held positions in the private sector, civil society and the national government sphere. He first started out as a partner in a production house called Matchframe Pictures, which produced television commercials and raised funding for video programmes. After a year and a half expedition around Africa he took up the position as regional manager for GLOBE Southern Africa, which empowered parliamentarians on issues of sustainable development. In 2003 he entered the world of politics when he volunteered at the newly formed Independent Democrats before being appointed as their researcher and then in 2004 elected in to Parliament. During 2004 to 2015 Lance Greyling served on a number of parliamentary committees including education, finance, public enterprises, minerals and energy and environmental affairs. He was elected Chief Whip of the Independent Democrats and during the merger with the DA he was appointed in 2011 to the position of Shadow Minister of Energy. In March 2015 Lance Greyling left the world of Parliament to take up the position of Director of Trade and Investment in the Mayor’s Office at the City of Cape Town. After the local government elections in August 2016 he became the Director of the newly formed Enterprise and Investment Department. Lance is also a founder board member of the Bulungula Incubator, a rural NGO based in the Eastern Cape while also serving on a number of other boards related to his position such as Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism and the Cape IT Initiative. Lance is also a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative which is affiliated to the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Amira Omer Siddig Osman is a Sudanese/South African architect/lecturer/researcher and a Professor of architecture at the Tshwane University of Technology. Amira studied at the University of Khartoum in Sudan in 1988 (B.Sc.) and 1996 (M.Sc.). She also obtained a diploma from the Institute for Housing Studies in Rotterdam (IHS) in 1992 and PhD in Architecture from the University of Pretoria in 2004. Amira was one of the conference conveners for the World Congress on Housing in 2005 at the University of Pretoria and the convener of the Sustainable Human(e) Settlements: the urban challenge, 2012, hosted by FADA, University of Johannesburg and partners. She also served as UIA 2014 Durban General Reporter and head of the Scientific Committee for the International Union of Architects (UIA) and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA). She currently serves as a joint coordinator for the international CIB Open Building Implementation network.

MY TEACHING STATEMENT: I have constantly aimed to elevate to “mainstream” what is considered “alternative” towards the transformation of the profession. My teaching approach is underpinned by a theoretical framework based on ecosystem thinking, open building and the concept of ‘catalysts’ as an approach to community engagement. My design teaching practice has focused on instilling the values of citizenship and design activism by emphasising the belief that design can make a difference and serve a higher purpose. I have done this by tapping into the unique skills of architects in addition to borrowing from other disciplines. In my courses, architecture is presented as a social act, based on social agreements, serving the needs of ‘the individual’ as well as ‘the collective’, and helping to manage the relationship between them.



Gareth Morgan runs the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) programme in Cape Town, and is embedded in the City of Cape Town. He is leading the development of the first Cape Town Resilience Strategy which is expected to be released for public consultation in April this year. Over the last year he has worked with a number of tools to assess Cape Town’s relative resilience vulnerabilities and opportunities. He has recently collaborated with other cities facing differing water risks to Cape Town to develop a water resilience assessment tool for cities. He has previously served as a Member of Parliament, but left that world in 2013 keen to explore government from the inside rather than the opposition benches. He was educated at Oxford University where he read for a MSc in Environmental Change and Management as a Rhodes Scholar.



Gina Ziervogel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science and Research Chair at the African Climate and Development Initiative at the University of Cape Town. Her work has focused on climate, development and resilience through the lens of water and governance. She is particularly interested in transdisciplinary projects that bring together civil society, government and academics to address problems collaboratively and creatively. Gina has published widely and been involved in international and national initiatives related to climate change adaptation. @GinaZiervogel

Alderman James Vos has an extensive knowledge and understanding of local government and has gained a lot of experience in how the City works while serving as Councillor for the period 2000 until 2014. He has served as: Chairman of the Sub-Council Chairman of the Health Portfolio Committee Deputy Chairman of the Rules Committee Member of the Tourism Portfolio Committee. While serving in the aforementioned structures of Council, he was involved with the establishment of several improvement districts and economic nodes, as well as destination enhancement initiatives. He has completed several courses related to the Municipal Structures Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act. Alderman Vos was elected to Parliament in May 2014 and served as Shadow Minister of Tourism. His involvement with the tourism industry has resulted in some positive outcomes. He was instrumental in the Visa regulations review to ensure improved facilitation of tourism to our country and the development of strategies for municipalities to improve their destination offerings for economic opportunities, as well as infrastructure projects to drive tourism demand. He has also received several civic awards from various NGO’s and other institutions such as the International Merit Award from Lions International for community services recognition, and recently the Melvin Jones Fellowship.

Andy Bolnick is the Director of Ikhayalami, an NGO that focuses on developing and implementing technical solutions for informal settlement upgrading. Andy is an urbanist and development practitioner who has a practical and theoretical base in architecture and urban planning and a degree in Political studies. She set up, Ikhayalami (‘My Home’), in 2006 pioneering work on informal settlement upgrading. Her 20 years experience conceptualizing and working with urban poor communities has been her greatest learning. She is adept at designing both systems and form. Andy views informal settlements as emergencies either because they have suffered the aftermath of a disaster or because they are disasters waiting to happen. She pioneered shack upgrading in 2006 designing a fire and flood resistant shelter that is quick to build, durable and affordable. She has been a driving force behind the idea and implementation of re-blocking: a participative design intervention that couples innovative shelter and infrastructural solutions with the spatial reconfiguration of informal settlement layouts to ones that are more rationalized. This initiative has influenced the state (through partnerships and change in Policy), poor communities and social movements. In addition to disaster response and re-blocking upgrading projects Andy has been focusing on a double story housing initiative in collaboration with the BT community and in partnership with ETHZ/Urban Think Tank, known as the Empowershack project. It focuses on the design and implementation of a series of double story prototypes linking this to the spatial reconfiguration of a settlement in Khayelitsha and the development of new financial models for informal settlement upgrading. She has also conceptualized and helped design a digital re-blocking puzzle game to help augment participative planning processes for informal settlement upgrading.



Olwethu Jack is an alumnus of the Department of Architectural Technology at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) who has worked with the Community Organisation Research Centre (CORC) and South African Slum Dwellers International (SDI) Alliance to support communities as a technical supporter. Currently he is the founder and Managing Director of Ubuntu Growing Minds (UGM). UGM is a group of qualified, skilled and experienced professionals who are designers and community development facilitators in South Africa.



Makhegu Mabunda is a Sustainability Specialist at Woolworths and is responsible for group sustainability reporting as well. Before joining Woolworths, Makhegu worked as an environmental officer at the provincial department of environmental affairs and development planning. She has a master’s degree in biodiversity and conservation biology as well as a postgraduate diploma in Sustainable Development.

Emma has been named one of the top 10 women in Science & Technology in Africa, has twice been voted as one of the top 50 women globally in mobile entertainment, elected one of South Africa’s top business women and one of the 20 most powerful women in technology in Africa. Emma has also been judging the Digital Emmies for the last four years and is a board member for Wiki in Africa. 

As an entrepreneur Emma founded and ran two successful companies, the CEO another company and Executive Director of a Foundation:

Executive Director of the Cape Digital Foundation, ensuring that there is a digitally connected society through Smart Townships

Founder and CEO of Bozza, a global marketplace for African musicians, poets and filmmakers. For this platform, she raised significant funding from Silicon Valley

CEO of Breakdesign which became the top 5 developers globally for Nokia

Founder and CEO of Triggerfish Animation - the largest and most successful animation company in Africa.



Claire Pengelly is GreenCape's Water Programme Manager. She has a Business Science degree and a Masters in Economics from UCT. She is passionate about promoting development in Africa and her work at GreenCape largely focuses on longer-term projects that aim to create system-wide changes in the way that water is understood and valued. During the recent drought in the Western Cape, she has been leading the team that helped businesses adapt to the water crisis, on behalf of the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town.


John has been in the financial services industry for the last 22 years and occupied various senior and Executive roles in companies like Old Mutual, Sanlam and Metropolitan. He is currently the Head of Stakeholder Relations and CSI at Santam. His role is to position Santam as a relevant and responsible corporate citizen with all key and relevant Stakeholders in South Africa. John’s expertise range from Business strategy development, Sales Management and Leadership Development. He serves on various Boards and forums in the short-term insurance industry. John was raised in Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo. He matriculated from Spandau Senior Secondary school and went on to do his pre-and post-graduate studies at UWC in the Western Cape, USB and Milton Keynes in Scotland. He is married to Thandi and has 2 adult children.


Rita is a designer and project manager at Blindesign - a Portuguese social enterprise currently dedicated to developing new strategies for sustainable business models with social impact. She is the curator of DOME Ethical Store - an online store of finely curated products with a positive impact and has developed a deep study about the assessment of sustainability in fashion production. One of the other projects they design is a Capacitation Programme for the Artisan Sector - which includes the development of Training Tools for the transformation of the traditional craft knowledge into a Practical Manual to train new crafters and preserve skills; a Design Thinking Programme for the upgrade of the products and brand awareness and the co-creation of new redesigned products. 

Her shift in a traditional design career happened after working in advertising and with luxury products, where she understood that the potential of transformation through design had to serve a higher purpose - the beginning of exploring the intersection of crafts and the design process. This was the first step towards social design.

In Guatemala she had the opportunity to work closely with a small group of female artisans with the aim to redesign products and to train business and managing skills. This enabled the understanding of the higher meaning of female empowerment in challenging social situations - this is to this day one of the major motivations to start DOME Store and the fueling energy to know the importance of the mission. 


Sanele is currently employed in a special service delivery unit as the Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer Lead in the office of the Premier of the Western Cape. Previously he was head of portfolio in his capacity as the Alcohol Policy Manager at the South African Breweries. His time in this highly regulated environment, and close engagement with regulators, civil society and NGO’s with a real interest in the reduction of alcohol abuse has helped him acquire the necessary tactical skills required to grow a brand amidst challenging policies.


Maxwell Mutanda is a pluridisciplinary artist and architect from Harare, Zimbabwe. Within his architectural practice, Mutanda takes a social focus on design. He is a cofounder of the design firm Studio [D] Tale which explores how design and architecture can resolve social and environmental problems. The firm experiments across disciplines with a portfolio that includes architecture, urban exploration, product innovation to critical design and communications. As an artist Mutanda's deploy meticulously detailed fine lines collages. Mutanda received his BS in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part I) in 2005 and his MA in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part II) in 2008 from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Studio [D] Tale has exhibited at institutions worldwide including the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, 2015, and the Arc en Rêve Centre d'Architecture in Bordeaux, 2015. In addition, Studio [D] Tale was included in the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2014, in the exhibition Young Architects in Africa; the Chicago Architecture Biennial, 2015; the London Design Festival, 2015 and returned to the Venice Architecture Biennale again in 2016 as part of Mission Trans-Missions. Mutanda has been a guest lecturer and visiting critic at the University of Cape Town and the University of Johannesburg respectively, 2016/2017.

Martin Knuijt is a founding partner of OKRA, a prominent landscape architecture and urban planning office in the Netherlands. His strength is defining strategic visions and scenario’s and create strong spatial designs. He is mostly active as designer in complex urban and landscape development projects, untying the knot. He is fascinated and driven to integrate social relevant themes, such as design for all and climate resilient design. Within his work, themes like connected city, vibrant city, healthy city and attractive city are all interrelated with social, economical and ecological sustainability. Some of his projects are, amongst others ‘Metropolitan Zone Copenhagen’, ‘Connected City, a vision for Rotterdam city centre’ and ‘Re-Think Athens’. He is author of several publications on landscape and urban planning, published in leading European magazines. In these publications he argues that within the cities the fundament for change lies in public realm; promoting healthy urban environment and creating efficient transportation systems, connected to the urban network of neighbourhoods and public spaces. Several lectures, workshops and lectures testify of his involvement on the field of landscape architecture and urban planning. He was guest teacher at TU Eindhoven, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht and at Academie van Bouwkunst Amsterdam, jury member of Archiprix01, Jaarboek Stedenbouw en Landschapsarchitectuur and commissie OOR. He tutored international workshops, amongst others Elasa in Versailles, Herbstseminar Neukloster, and at Mimar Sinan Universiti in Istanbul. Martin Knuijt was keynote speaker at the IFLA congress in Calgary, the CCCB Biennale in Barcelona, and the EFLA congress in Prague, at the 75 anniversary of TU Berlin and at Tongji University in Shanghai. He is honourable member of the Russian landscape Federation. THE OKRA APPROACH TOWARDS RESILIENT CITIES The increased number of people living in urban areas requires rethinking what are livable cities about. The new perspective of bringing landscape to the cities can strongly contribute to make cities healthier, resilient, and more vibrant to accommodate all its citizens. The aim to sustainability includes creating a healthy living environment, reducing distances between working and living plus rebalancing traffic and creating attractive and vibrant public realm. To create climate adaptive cities, a coherent and integrated strategy on water sensitive urban design, heat mitigation, biodiversity and urban agriculture plus urban forestry is required. Within the urban context ‘access for all’ needs to be addressed: Re-balancing transportation will and transforming to multimodal mobility have a large impact on spatial qualities of cities. The idea of space needs to change, shifting from vehicular orientated space to pedestrian orientated space. Furthermore, climate adaptive public realm has also social component. In a well-functioning city, public realm consists of vibrant spaces, and people feel connected to their environment, providing opportunities for initiatives that offer chances for social entrepreneurship. Universal are the qualities that emerge from the landscape and that do connect us with mother earth, of change are the new programs that will be drivers for spatial adaptation.