In the framework of the celebration of the Italian Research Day 2022, the event “Rethinking Urban Futures – Building the Sustainable African City of Tomorrow” will take place in Durban on 28 April 2022, organized by the Embassy of Italy in Pretoria in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
During the Day, Italian and South African researchers will discuss the most recent approaches applied to urban planning and regeneration as well as innovative solutions to enhance the resilience of cities. The event will be held also online, via Zoom (register to the link in the program attached).
The Day will take place in a particularly critical moment for the KwaZulu-Natal Province, whose Durban represents the most important town, following the recent flooding that has severely hit the area, causing more than 400 deaths and huge damage to homes and infrastructure. “The worst damage occurred in the newer townships. Neighborhoods that grew quickly, created by occupying the spaces of land that were still free and therefore more exposed to dangers, often right on the banks of rivers, near dry streams or on steep slopes. ” writes Dr. Federico Monica, an expert architect of Africa and one of the speakers who will participate to the debate. “The emergency is now also environmental, due to the spills reaching the sea and above all to the huge amount of plastic transported downstream from landfills or destroyed houses; a colorful river that clogs the riverbeds near the bridges and is even blocking the docks. “
It is therefore, now more than ever, essential to rethink the relationship between city, environment and climate, identifying strategies that make it possible to create safe, livable, resilient urban infrastructures in harmony with the surrounding environment. Objectives that are at the heart of Rome’s candidacy to host EXPO 2030 “with the aim to focus on the people and their ability to reinvent the habitat, the city, balancing development and environmental sustainability”, thus creating a “new model of city: inclusive, interconnected, sustainable and shared”.