The Cape coastline faces into a turbulent ocean. Climate change will make this naturally stormy sea all the more formidable. Increasingly stormy seas and higher sea levels are beginning to show up the existing fault lines in the engineered, social and institutional strata of this complex coastline. People working within the City of Cape Town (CoCT) today are making decisions about how to manage these vulnerable spaces – decisions that future generations will have to live and work with.
Short-term, piecemeal, opportunistic responses to the threat of stormier seas will only increase how vulnerable the built city, its inhabitants, economic activities, and the natural environment are. The City, led by its Environmental Resource Management Department, is developing a rigorous coastal policy and management framework that will enable politicians, managers and residents to respond consistently and appropriately as they are confronted with an uncertain, dynamic, climate-altered future.
Author Leonie Joubert presents research done by the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities, the Stockholm Environment Institute and partner institutions, working closely with the City of Cape Town, to explore ways to manage changing coastal risks.