Redefining Africa's Smart City Narrative

Luke Boyle is a Researcher at the Urban Real Estate Research Unit at the University of Cape Town. We explore Africa’s smart city narrative, the role of technology, financing future cities, the role of open data, socioeconomic development and how cities may change over the next 5 years.

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This episode dives into:

  • How cities in Africa are harnessing technology to support urban development and city government objectives.
  • Country-specific examples that stand out and the key lessons learnt.
  • Definition of a Smart City in the African context.
  • Redefining Africa’s smart city narrative.
  • Financing options for future smarter city developments.
  • The foundations for Open Data in South African Municipalities: Overview, current status, and future prospects.
  • Overcoming challenges to socioeconomic development.
  • How cities may change over the next 5 years.

About Luke Boyle

Luke Boyle is a passionate researcher with a particular interest in urban innovation and sustainability in African cities. He is an early-career urbanist with a focus on development issues in cities of the Global South. Luke holds a Masters of Philosophy in Urban Management and Sustainability for which his dissertation on developing a sustainable urban development framework for South African cities earned him the prestigious Joseph Arenow award from the University of Cape Town.

Luke has been involved in a number of pioneering urban research projects spanning multiple disciplines and is currently URERU's full-time researcher. Luke is also the manager of the Journal of African Real Estate Research, a peer-reviewed publication that showcases the work of emerging African academics. The journal strives to advance the real estate research community in Africa and facilitate dialogue between researchers engaged on research into real estate issues on the continent. Luke's primary research interests centre around sustainable urban development in marginalised communities as well as smart city development.

Outside of the office Luke is an avid surfer and hiker and spends most of his free time outdoors around the Cape peninsula.


About Urban Real Estate Research Unit at the University of Cape Town
The current and projected growth in African cities creates significant opportunities for real estate on the continent but also presents serious challenges in the form of infrastructure deficits, urban management and the financial viability of cities in general. While many of these opportunities and challenges are experienced elsewhere in the world, the nature and scale of them are unique to South Africa and the rest of the continent. For this reason, the main aim of the Research Unit is to provide a unique inter-disciplinary research platform for academia that promotes the identification of issues and seeks solutions to urban real estate investment, finance, economics and management problems in Africa.

The key issues facing urban real estate include sustainability, inclusivity, globalisation, rapid technological change, economic sectoral change, urban management, fiscal sustainability, urban growth management and infrastructure provision. Hence the unit focuses on four main areas of research:

Urban Real Estate Markets, Dynamics and Trends.
Urban Real Estate Investment and Finance.
Urban Land Economics and Management.
African Urban Real Estate Markets.

There is a growing acceptance that successful research should not only respond to the needs of society, but should also be undertaken with the participation of a number of stakeholders. The unit offers a unique research alliance between UCT, industry and society at large.

The unit is located in the Department of Construction Economics and Management which offers internationally benchmarked qualifications in real estate/property, quantity surveying, construction management and project management.


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