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Between ecology and economy: The changing status of Cape fishing communities?

Despite advances made in natural resource management science, the degradation and the destructive competition for natural resources in most areas of the world has continued more or less unabated. South African fish and seafood stocks, too, generally show no exception. Moreover, there are increasing numbers of applicants, corporations, and communities competing for fishing rights to this shrinking resource. Worldwide, however, various shifts in approaches to the management of natural resources have also emerged from improved understandings of the complex interdependencies between natural and socio-economic systems. In the South African context, a vital concern not adequately included under the current system is that of socio-economic and management issues. Read more or discuss.

Youth focus: can grassroots movements bring in girls' voices?

Data has emerged showcasing the latest trends of our demographic shift — the global population now articulates a 'youth bulge'. The UN-Population Demographic Profile (2010) show children, and 'youths', comprise 1.6bn, and 1.0bn, of the population in less-developed regions. The population is younger; and Sub-Saharan Africa is no exception. Attention is now turning to youths: what young people do, what opportunities they initiate for their families and nations, and what it means to be 'young' in the developing world. However, an important caveat requires recognition: the focus has been particularly male-focused. Our understanding of girls, within both public and private spaces, remains limited. Such is the debate in this blog post — if we are now looking at 'kids' in the city and development, what are the experiences of girls? What can we learn about the city through an engendered perspective? Fundamentally, who is responsible to grant equal rights? Two models of intervention are discussed be, each using alternative methods to provide rights for girls. However, each acts to reinforce the need to improve our understandings on 'being' a girl. Read more.

Nature-related graffiti in Cape Town

Many of us think of urban graffiti as a nuisance, as an illegality, as a challenge to authority. Exactly, especially the last one. And it is also a form a communication, sometimes the only form available to people who aren't so well represented in the media. Alex Alonso wrote an interesting piece on urban graffiti and its typologies, and discussed how graffiti can provide insight into societal attitudes and perceptions. Graffiti includes political commentary, personal or 'existential' messages, gang-related territorial demarcation, simple 'tags', elegant 'piecing' where tags or names are elaborate, and larger works that, more obviously like art, that combine comment with an clear aesthetic. Read more.

Exposing gated cities

Upon exploring how just and inclusive cities can emerge a key component of analysis is social life — how people act in cities, the complex character of sociability, and the factors designing urban life. Multiple concepts have been raised to define what a city is — and has become, and further, what kind of life materialises within urban spaces. Over time cities have been conceptualised as 'misanthropic', expressing disorganisation, violence, and a dense concentration of people whom adopt different mentalities and motives. Such urban personas are expressed through space. Read more.