Capital Cities Project launched in conjunction with City of Tshwane

Posted on October 10, 2013

The Capital Cities Project is a new cross-faculty research project initiated by the Faculty of Humanities that also involves several other faculties within the University of Pretoria community. Researchers and postgraduate students from the faculties of Humanities; Law; Health Sciences; Natural and Agricultural Sciences; Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology; Theology; and Economic and Management Sciences will collaborate by asking new questions about Pretoria as a capital city. Research conducted on the city will be based on a variety of disciplines, including the arts and language, architecture and urban planning, social work, criminology, law, history, drama, psychology, anthropology, political science and economics.


The Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof Norman Duncan, said the project will provide the University of Pretoria with the opportunity to significantly contribute to cross-faculty and cross-university collaboration; these are the critical ingredients for creative and innovative research – as are interventions aimed at enhancing the systems that structure the lives of those living and working in capital cities. He said the project will also provide the University with the opportunity to produce research that will deliver both long-term and immediate social value and utility.


‘This project has enormous potential to not only contribute to the University of Pretoria’s commitment to being a research-intensive institution, but also to improve the quality of life of people in Tshwane, as well as other partner capital cities,’ said Prof Duncan.


Cities with a mutually beneficial relationship with their local universities are a global phenomenon. The same is true for the University of Pretoria, which has a history of contributing to the development and growth of Tshwane. The University of Pretoria has partnered with the City of Tshwane on a number of entrepreneurial development projects, aimed particularly at the youth. It has also assisted the city in training micro, small and medium enterprises in the Pretoria community.


The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Cheryl de la Rey stated: ‘The University believes that it has a unique responsibility to make a contribution to the city. We also recognised that the success of our vision is dependent on the city’s – therefore, it is in our interest to participate in its planning.’


According to Prof De la Rey, the University of Pretoria’s partnership with the City of Tshwane has brought positive results and has stimulated the city’s economy. She also hailed the synergy between the University and the City of Tshwane, recently strengthened by the signing of the project’s memorandum of understanding. ‘The launch of the Capital Cities Project will build a virtuous circle of strong and excellent links between the University of Pretoria and the City of Tshwane. This is a milestone which will mutually benefit our academic teams and at the same time make a difference in our communities,’ she said.


Both institutions have been working together on reviewing their long-term strategies, which include the University of Pretoria’s Strategic Plan (UP 2025) and the City of Tshwane Growth and Development Strategy 2055 (GDS 2055), both of which are aimed at contributing positively to the growth of the city.


The City of Tshwane welcomed collaboration with the University of Pretoria’s new IRT. Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the City of Tshwane undertakes various initiatives aimed at strengthening its relationship with the plethora of academic and research institutions within Tshwane, with the aspiration of positioning Tshwane as a knowledge economy. ‘Cities have an increasingly significant role to play in defining the trajectory of economies across the globe. A city’s failure ultimately affects the poorest in society.’


Executive Mayor Ramokgopa said the partnership between the City of Tshwane and the University of Pretoria demonstrates to the rest of the country that it is possible for a public institution to partner with a research institution to resolve practical challenges in society.


‘This partnership, with the University of Pretoria as a key strategic partner, has a role to play in profiling the capital city of the Republic so that it competes with its peers around the world. We look forward to a productive relationship in an endeavour to position ourselves and occupy an unassailable position as a leader of all metropolitan municipalities in the country and on the continent – and to compete favourably with others on a global scale. Ultimately, the inhabitants of Tshwane will be the beneficiaries,’ he said.

City of Tshwane Executive Mayor, Councillor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa and Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria

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