Journal article

Facilitating Urban Sustainability through Transdisciplinary (TD) Research: Lessons from Ghana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe

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Publication Details

Author list: Thondhlana G, Mubaya CP, McClure A, Amaka-Otchere ABK, Ruwanza S

Publisher: MDPI

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Sustainability

Volume number: 13

Issue number: 11

Start page: 6205

Total number of pages: 18

ISSN: 2071-1050

eISSN: 2071-1050



The notion of sustainability has been integrated into many aspects of development to emphasise human needs now and in the future. Sustainable urbanization objectives are pertinent in the context of rapidly expanding African cities, in which urban inhabitants experience challenges associated with poor sanitation, climate hazards, and energy and food insecurity. There are increasing calls for embracing transdisciplinary (TD) research for mapping pathways towards sustainability in these ever-growing cities, particularly by integrating academic, practitioner, and societal knowledge to design effective and contextually relevant responses to existing and emerging challenges. Though transdisciplinary processes are growing in developing countries, dispersed literature on and a growing number of projects applying TD research in different contexts make it difficult to learn from and develop useful frameworks for implementation. To make lessons more accessible to a growing audience, this paper provides a reflective account of two urban sustainability TD projects that were designed and implemented in Ghana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The contexts within which these TD research projects took place are described, as are ways in which relevant stakeholders were involved in and benefitted from the codesign and realisation of the respective projects. Based on experiences, the paper reflects on the challenges of and opportunities for TD research in Africa for urban sustainability, which provides insights for enhancing this practice in Africa. The paper ends with considerations for TD practice and theory.


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Last updated on 2021-11-06 at 11:42