Water and Fire: Enhancing capacity and reducing risk through 15 ‘Best Bets’ for transformative adaptation with vulnerable residents on the Cape Flats was funded by the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund through the Equitable Resilience theme. 

The project was a collaboration between the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa) and academics working at the Universities of Stirling and Glasgow in the UK and the Universities of Cape Town and Western Cape in South Africa. The core project team includes expertise in community-based research, adult and community learning, water and energy infrastructures and geographies, crime and governance. 

Between 2019 and 2022, the core team worked with community co-researchers and other residents in three areas of the Cape Flats that are already experiencing the impacts of global climate change on a daily basis: Delft, Overcome Heights and Sweet Home Farm.  

Co-research in Overcome Heights

Using a range of creative co-production methods, we explored the ways in which community members experience, respond to and manage repeated experiences of water scarcity (Delft), runaway fires (Overcome Heights), and localised flooding (Sweet Home Farm). 

You can find out more about each of these three neighbourhoods, and the methods we used to enable residents to tell their own stories, elsewhere in this website.

Importantly, Water and Fire did not aim to simply describe the experiences and responses of people who are already facing the impacts of climate change. The research processes have facilitated the identification of a series of “Best Bets” – context-dependent, community-driven recommendations for improving local resilience – by our co-researchers.

The project has included a deliberate, carefully planned programme of engagement with key stakeholders and policy-makers in the Cape Town city region in which these Best Bets have been put forward. You can find out more about these site and hazard-specific Best Bets elsewhere in this website.

Now, we are also seeking to engage stakeholders and policy-makers in Scotland. One thing that has become increasingly clear is that EVERYONE has a stake in this: no part of the planet is immune to the impacts of Climate Change. We have therefore begun to offer local community groups opportunities to engage with the materials generated by the South Africa-based co-researchers and to produce their own creative responses. Finally, we are asking you to engage yourselves, as you hear what the residents of Delft, Overcome Heights and Sweet Home Farm have to say.