Institutions Involved

Our growing list of partners in this important collaboration include: 



Centre for African Studies of Peking University (PKUCAS), founded in 1998, is an interdisciplinary institution for comprehensive African research. It consists of teachers and research fellows from different departments and institutes at the university, who specialize in African politics, economy, culture, history, sociology, languages and literature. The mandate of the centre is to promote African studies at Peking University, and improve its linkage with other institutions

Development Workshop (DW) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working continuously in Angola since 1981to improve settlements and livelihoods in poor and marginalised communities. DW has developed innovative programs in the delivery of basic services and in the establishment of social enterprises. Drawing on its extensive program experience and research, it has contributed significantly to formulating public policy on water, low-income housing, land tenure and microfinance in Angola. DW has offices in Luanda, Huambo and Cabinda  and currently implements programs in:  Water and Sanitation, Participatory Planning, Land Tenure, Microfinance, Shelter, Peace building and Citizenship, Decentralisation,  and Research. DW's work has won international recognition: two UN HABITAT International Best Practice Award (2011 and 1996) and the 2009 Southern Africa Drivers of Change Award.


The African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town seeks to facilitate critical urban research and policy discourses for the promotion of vibrant, democratic and sustainable urban development in the global South from an African perspective. The central objective of the African Centre for Cities is to provide a base from which critique and alternatives in relation to urban issues can be launched.

The African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport (ACET) is comprised of representatives from three main partner universities: the University of Cape Town (Centre for Transport Studies); the University of Dar es Salaam (Department of Transportation and Geotechnical Engineering); and the University of Nairobi (Institute for Development Studies). ACET’s objectives are to produce and disseminate knowledge on the development and governance of public and non-motorised transport in African cities, to serve as a hub of research and capacity building, and to develop a body of well-networked academics in African universities capable of engaging critically and compellingly with stakeholders on key policy or project decisions.

Beijing Jiaotong University (BJTU) is a national key university of China, under the direct administration of the Ministry of Education and jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Railways and the Beijing Municipality. BJTU is one of the first universities in China authorized to confer the master and doctoral degrees autonomously. 

The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) is the housing finance division of FinMark Trust, a non-profit trust with a mission of ‘making financial markets work for the poor’. The vision of CAHF is an enabled affordable housing finance system in countries throughout Africa, where governments, business, and advocates work together to provide a wide range of housing options accessible to all. CAHF’s mission is to expand Africa’s housing markets for all of its residents, through the dissemination of research and market intelligence, supporting cross-sector collaborations and a market-based approach. The overall goal of our work is to see an increase of investment in affordable housing and housing finance throughout Africa: more players and better products, with a specific focus on the poor.

The Centre for Transport Studies at the University of Cape Town is a multidisciplinary research and postgraduate teaching body that produces research, develops skilled professionals, and advocates innovative practices and institutional arrangements for the management of complex transport systems in the dynamic cities of South Africa and other African countries. The Centre’s priorities in curriculum development, and in undertaking research, are to contribute to the equitable, efficient and safe accommodation of the travel needs of poorer households within urban passenger transport systems, and to the promotion of more efficient and sustainable travel behaviour patterns and transport system operations.

The China Academy of Urban Planning and Design is positioned directly under China’s Ministry of Construction, the entity that oversees all urban development in the country, and is China’s leading planning policy advisor. It is a national research and information centre that is involved in the field of urban planning and architectural design. Its expertise is broad and multi-disciplinary and includes urban development and planning, civil engineering, architectural design, infrastructural planning and design, water system planning and urban conservation.

The China-Africa Development Fund established in 2007 the first Chinese fund that focuses specifically on Africa.  It aims to support Chinese companies to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa and to enter the African market.  Its first phase of funding is provided by China Development Bank 

The College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Beijing University of Technology was founded in 2003 and has three departments: Architecture, Urban Planning and Industrial Design. Its multi-disciplinary academic structure offers a variety of programs in diverse areas of academic research. Beijing University of Technology has become a base for cultivating qualified high-level personnel as well as for scientific and technological innovation, research and development. CAUP has been commissioned by the Beijing Municipal Government for various projects, including Beijing urban water system reform, Beijing’s old city protected areas conservation planning and underground space planning of central Beijing. 

FinMark Trust, an independent trust based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was established in 2002, and is funded primarily by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) through its Southern Africa office.  FinMark Trust’s purpose is ‘Making financial markets work for the poor, by promoting financial inclusion and regional financial integration’ as well as institutional and organizational development, in order to increase access to financial services for the un-served and un-deserved. FinMark Trust commissions research to identify the systemic constraints that prevent financial markets from reaching out to these consumers and by advocating for change on the basis of the research findings.

The Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi, is a premier development research institute in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. Its mission is “To generate development knowledge, promote debate and encourage the utilisation of research findings in postgraduate teaching and training and in shaping the growth of development thinking, theory and practice.” Since its establishment in 1965 within the University of East Africa, the Institute has carried out research on development and influenced policy thinking and practice in the region and Africa in general. The IDS continues to influence policy thinking and shape development knowledge in the region through linkages with research institutions across the world.

Mazingira Institute is a non-profit domestic transnational organization. It was established in Kenya in 1978. Mazingira is Kiswahili for surroundings or environment. Its Vision is to be an activist, reflective and pragmatic participant in the local and global social process, as an organization. Its mission is integrating knowledge and practice to advance human dignity for all, common interest and respect for nature. Its challenge is seeking better ways to develop, govern and manage habitats, environment and change. Its activities are inquiry and prototypes, learning and training, advocacy and campaigns and promoting platforms and networks.

Nanjing University, one of China`s key comprehensive universities under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education, dates from 1902 when it was known as Sanjiang Normal School. In addition to the excellence in teaching and research work, NJU is also known for its vigorous exchanges with the outside world. Starting from 1979, it has established academic links with more than 200 universities and research institutes in around 70 countries, and hosted over 120 international conferences. 

"Urban LandMark" is short for the Urban Land Markets Programme Southern Africa. Urban LandMark is working to make urban land markets work for the poor by: Defining what 'making markets work for the poor' means for urban land and developing a distinctive voice for this approach; Mobilising diverse players, including the private sector and civil society, to come up with innovative ways to achieve this objective; Promoting policy dialogue between people, and bringing about change in government policy and implementation, and in private sector praxis.

School of Architecture and Planning,University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg has responded for over 80 years to the changing cities, communities and built environment in South Africa and to the rapidly globalizing, and urbanised world. Through its teaching, research, creative work, community engagement and public debate the School has a large and positive influence on South African society.