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Sustainable Futures in Southern Africa’s Mountains

Multiple Perspectives on an Emerging City

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  • Open Access
  • © 2023

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  • This open access book presents a multidisciplinary approach on developing cities
  • Places the UN SDG's at the heart of research questions
  • Serves as an example to researchers, policy makers, and practitioners
  • This book is available open access, which mean that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Sustainable Development Goals Series (SDGS)

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Table of contents (13 chapters)


About this book

This open access book presents multiple disciplinary perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in the South African mountain city of Phuthaditjhaba. These challenges are embedded in the complex environmental, socio-cultural and political contexts of the region. Established as the capital of the QwaQwa ‘homeland’ under Grand Apartheid, this city is now home to between 400,000 – 700,000 people but in many areas lacks formal infrastructure and services. Each chapter of this volume addresses a different aspect of the city’s development and all take the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a common framework to guide their reflections on potential sustainable futures for Phuthaditjhaba. While the circumstances in Phuthaditjhaba will be familiar to many researchers of informal and growing cities in developing regions, the mountain setting of the city brings its own set of challenges and opportunities linked to the rugged and steep terrain, remoteness and natural resources. This book serves to showcase the diverse research taking place in this emerging mountain city and provide reflections on how a sustainable future can be ensured for its environment and inhabitants.  

Editors and Affiliations

  • Afromontane Research Unit, University of the Free State, Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa

    Andrea Membretti

  • Afromontane Research Unit and Department of Geography, University of Free State, Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa

    Sue Jean Taylor

  • Global Mountain Safeguard Research (GLOMOS), United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Bonn, Germany

    Jess L. Delves

About the editors

Andrea Membretti (PhD in Sociology) is Assistant Professor of Territorial Sociology at the University of Pavia (Italy) and Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, Afromontane Research Unit (South Africa). He is also Research Affiliate at the Department of Cultures, Politics & Society of the University of Turin (Italy), where he leads a national project on new peopling in the Alps. His main field of research is migration and mobility to/from mountain and remote regions, in relationship to sustainable development.

Susan Jean Taylor (PhD) is a development consultant with experience in researching, writing and lecturing about climate change and social/development issues in South Africa and Africa. She has worked in the research sector doing crop biotechnology, in nature conservation and in the NGO sector as a climate change activist, and then in the academic sector as a science writer. Her current interest is cities and climate change adaptation.

Jess L. Delves is a researcher at Global Mountain Safeguard Research (GLOMOS), a joint research programme of the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (Germany) and Eurac Research (Italy). Her research takes a political ecology perspective in investigating land degradation and water management in Lesotho and South Africa.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Sustainable Futures in Southern Africa’s Mountains

  • Book Subtitle: Multiple Perspectives on an Emerging City

  • Editors: Andrea Membretti, Sue Jean Taylor, Jess L. Delves

  • Series Title: Sustainable Development Goals Series

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-15772-1Published: 31 January 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-15775-2Published: 31 January 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-15773-8Published: 30 January 2023

  • Series ISSN: 2523-3084

  • Series E-ISSN: 2523-3092

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIV, 192

  • Number of Illustrations: 6 b/w illustrations, 33 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Sustainable Development, Human Geography, Climate, general

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