Durban EPIC - South Africa

Durban EPIC

University of KwaZulu Natal

School of Built Environment and Development Studies

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Following the African regional EPIC-N training in November 2017, the City of Durban and the University of KwaZulu-Natal have begun implementing a pilot EPIC programme within the Durban Research Action Partnership. The Durban EPIC pilot project [SO1] connects Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD) from eThekwini Municipality (city of Durban) and School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN). Upon successful completion of the pilot, DRAP intends to implement a full EPIC programme acorss multiple city line functions and academic disciplines, within the City-funded Global Environmental Change research programme, scheduled to start in January 2019. At the moment only the School of Built Environment and Development Studies with the following disciplines are involved in the pilot: Housing, Planning, Community Development, Development Studies and Population Studies. The pilot will run for a period of just under a year, and will include an internship component for students within eThekwini Municipality, before the EPIC is fully implemented in 2019.

The Durban EPIC will focus providing a set of solutions to challenges raised in the Palmiet Catchment Rehabilitation Project action plan. This includes spatial mapping of green and built infrastructure in the catchment, understanding challenges and solutions for communities residing within informal settlements in the Catchment and solutions to climate change, pollution and waste challenges. The EPIC pilot will be championed by the Community of Innovation that drives implementation of the Palmiet Project.

The Durban EPIC pilot is being implemented as part of the EPIC Africa network that is being established by city/ academic partners who attended the November 2017 training. In the Durban EPIC, three components are being employed to attract students:

  1. Taught EPIC A module

  2. Student research writing dissertations for MSc.

  3. Short term internship within the EPCPD.

Fun Facts about the Durban EPIC

Through collaboration between the city and local community which the Durban EPIC is piloted on, the following research projects were identified as of importance to the community:

  • What is the role of community in waste collection within the informal settlement?

  • What are the impacts of waste in water quality?

  • What are the major challenges for Durban Solid Waste in collecting solid waste within the informal settlements?

  • What are the adaptation responses local community use to adapt to climate change impacts or to extreme weather events (floods, heat waves, etc.?)

  • What are main ecosystem services within the Palmiet catchment?

  • How can the informal settlement be re-blocked to enhance easy access in case of emergency?

  • Profiling risks within the informal settlement

In the next year, the Durban EPIC hopes to:

  • Extend the ‘hub’ of municipal officials, academics and post-graduate students that are committed to and will support the development of the Durban EPIC as it evolves.

  • Engage other university departments and municipality officials about the Durban EPIC with a possibility of working with them in future projects. EPIC is about employing an interdisciplinary approach.

  • The Durban EPIC pilot was presented during the Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact (CKZNCCC) meeting, where local and district municipalities have entered into a Compact to collectively tackle climate change in this provincial region. A number of Compact partners are serviced by UKZN and are beginning similar Compact pilots. The CKZNCCC is the perfect platform to coordinate across EPIC programmes in the City region.

Public or Private Institution | Public
Number of students at institution | 46,539

Year Program Established | 2018
Country | South Africa

Highlight Articles/Videos

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City Partners

2018 | EThekwini Municipality • Population: 3,442,361

Contact Details

Smiso Bhengu
Climate Protection Scientist - EThekwini Municipality

Dr. Catherine Sutherland
Senior Lecturer - University of KwaZulu Natal

Patrick Martel
EPIC A Coordinator - University of KwaZulu Natal