Menu Close

Abstract Guildelines

  • The deadline for abstract submissions is 11th March 2024 at midnight South African Standard Time. We will not accept abstracts after this date.
  • All abstracts must be written in English.
  • All abstracts are submitted for a possible oral presentation.
  • Please proofread your abstract carefully and check spelling, grammar, and scientific facts before you submit.
  • The text cannot exceed 500 words. No graphics are allowed.
  • Include a maximum of 6 appropriate keywords.
  • You will be required to submit a short biography for the presenting author of no more than 100 words during the submission process.
  • Please submit your abstract online HERE.
  • All abstracts will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee, and they will make the final selection.
  • We will notify you of acceptance/rejection by 17th April 2024.
  • For those with accepted abstracts, the submission of a full paper for review is optional and possible inclusion in the Town and Regional Planning Journal (TRP). The deadline of 29th May for submission applies.
  • Regardless or not if a full paper is submitted an accepted abstract/s will be included in the Conference Proceedings and made available to the delegates.

    Guidelines for full paper submission can be found HERE.

  • The deadline for registration and payment of presenters is 29th May 2024.We will only include an accepted paper in the programme if we have received registration and payment on time.
  • If your abstract is accepted, the Technical Committee retains the right to change the presentation type and the program. We will communicate this directly to the respective author.


Your abstract should clearly indicate the following:

  • A brief background of the context of your work/investigation/hypothesis in relation to the conference theme and subthemes
  • A summary of the main aspects to be discussed or addressed in your presentation
  • Short/main conclusion resulting from your work/investigation/hypothesis.

Evaluation process

Criteria for evaluating the quality of abstracts include: originality of ideas and methods, concise presentation of methods and results, clarity of application and implementation and quality of writing. Each abstract will be evaluated by two reviewers.

Conference Theme: “Sustainable futures: From theory to practice


Sustainable city development planning in the African planning context?

This theme explores how and why development planning facilitates sustainable city formation in an African context of rapid urbanisation, peri-urban development, and population growth.  Should African Cities be based on Eurocentric notions of development and planning in order to achieve sustainability in city planning practices.? To what extent can planned settlements be coherent with the Sustainable Development Goals? Is a new form of development planning practice needed for the achievement of sustainable cities in 20th century African.

Informality and sustainable development planning – contradictions and compatibilities?

Informality arises when people build their own settlements and start small enterprises to provide for their livelihoods. According to Geyer (2022) informality often has more elements of sustainable planning practices than current formally planned areas (i.e. higher densities, more economic use of resources, local employment, social cohesion and greater diversity of activities than planned monofunctional suburbs.

This theme considers informality through the lens of sustainable development planning. To what extent do informal settlements, from village to city contribute to or detract from sustainable development planning practices? How can informal enterprises enhance the sustainable development planning practice?  (economically, environmentally, and socially)? What kinds of infrastructure and municipal services are required for sustainable development planning practices

The contribution of public and paratransit to sustainability

Transit oriented development planning (TODP) is considered to be one of the key elements of smart/ intelligent and sustainable city growth. Yet few African cities have viable TODP systems that serve the majority of the citizens. How can sustainable development planning facilitate sustainable public or paratransit systems in Africa?  How can TODP and Land Use Management Systems contribute to sustainable public and paratransit systems.

Sustainabile development planning and resilience in the face of climate change

Disasters such as droughts, floods and tropical cyclones – whose intensity is linked to climate change – have devastated urban and rural settlements.  This theme evaluates the impacts and responses to climate change and considers the development planning responses needed in in support of sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change’.

Infrastructure: sustainability vs dreams (the mismatch between the type of infrastructure we should be developing and what people want to have (e.g. flushing toilets)

Many concepts of ideal settlements have been built around resource intensive and environmentally damaging forms of development, such as sprawling, monofunctional, car dependent suburbs. This theme asks if it is possible to create different dreams of the ideal that offers more sustainable forms of development.

Indigenous knowledge for sustainability

Indigenous knowledge systems have been used by communities for centuries for food production, medicinal remedies and various cultural processes. This theme considers the contribution indigenous knowledge systems can make in planning practice. To what extent can the application of indigenous knowledge systems contribute to sustainable development planning in modern Africa? This sub-theme may also focus on how indigenous knowledge systems can enhance or transform current development planning practices, norms and standards.

Sustainability: the balance between social justice, economic development and the environment

The notion of a “Justice based Urban Transition (JUT)” developed in the 1980’s, being the fusion of climate change management and social justice is not well understood in mainstream planning circles. However, the JUT paradigm is currently thematic in the office of the President of South Africa. Can JUT be successfully developed in Africa cities? In 1996 Scott Campbell published his seminal article green cities, growing cities and just t cities. This theme explores the manner in which planners can and should address tensions between social justice, bio-diversity, ecosystem services, and economic development.

The role of local governments in sustainable settlements

This theme showcases the actions local governments have undertaken to develop sustainable settlements through case studies and encourages proposals on how local government can encourage and enable more sustainable settlements.  It further explores the theory and practice of sustainable governance applicable to settlements, land management, strategic planning and regulatory systems – (from Euclidian schemes to form based planning, juridical reforms and transformation).

Breaking and creating resilience: (breaking the dependence on cars or the segregated structure of colonial and apartheid cities) and creating resilience to withstand the effects of climate change etc)

Resilience can be both beneficial and detrimental. The latter is demonstrated by the continued dependence on cars despite their impact on the environment, and beneficial resilience in taking actions to reduce the impacts of disasters such as droughts and floods. This theme encourages discussions on breaking detrimental forms of resilience and creating beneficial development planning processes through the interface between planning notions of resilience and development planning practices based on case studies (e.g scaling up Local Area Development Planning in Ruanda).

Planning Systems in South Africa and its contribution to achieving sustainable futures

Africa in all its diversity (particularly relevant in South Africa) has employed a number of planning systems and approaches many of which have been “borrowed” from other countries.  These systems have invariably been based on the cultures and political systems of those countries and developed over centuries according to the development trajectory of each country.  Currently in Africa there are a continuum of planning systems at play…ranging from its own various traditional land management systems based on structure of rural societies through informal rural and or urban responses (some “planned” some not) through to a range of “imported” formal planning systems. Often these are operating at the same time but not always in concert.

Achieving sustainability requires more informed collaboration, prioritisation and implementation around the allocation and use of land and resources (core functions of planning) so that communities can get access to what they need without completely destroying or depleting the Earths resource base. To what extent are the planning systems that are being employed in Africa contributing to, or working against, sustainability endeavours?