I’ve migrated to Substack, so more people can read more, for free.

My first post there is about another way

Chase’em, rob’em, fight’em in court? Is this the approach to homelessness? Or is there another way….


“We tend to think of government as doing things…but we should also think of government as a platform that lets things happen.” -Tim O’Reilly

I remember the first time someone explained the concept of an open source platform to me — “imagine the green board of a Lego kit, underneath is all the data from different sources, on top of that you can build anything you want, as long as it is it is informed by what is underneath — you don’t really have to figure that out; it’ll either fit on the blocks, or it won’t”. …


“Appointment of a panel of service providers” is the new norm in tender documents. Everything from engineering, to legal, to training — you name it, it's the procurement honey jar — for officials, its shaving months off every job they need done, and for suppliers, once you’re in — you’re in, and you can grow your team and business accordingly.

Panel tenders are not unique to South Africa — they’re used all over the world for the benefits they offer.

A panel tender is a tender where a set of service providers is appointed at a set rate, for a…


Update: Vetus Schola have invited me to attend a hearing on this matter.

We live in a traumatised country. Women live in fear of when the worst will happen (again), black men feel undermined and remember at a cellular level what white men did to them or their fathers; and white men are confused and petrified that the (petty) jobs they’ve offered aren’t enough to prevent a gun against their head.

On Saturday, I heard screaming outside my house. I’m pretty used to this – I’ve lived in much “rougher” neighbourhoods than the leafy suburbs of Paarl, and worked in…


As a city strategist an “urbanist” I shocked a few people when I made the move to Paarl — in many of my Capetonian friends’ minds — a small town that is not quite as interesting as Franschoek or Stellenbosch and not quite far enough away to make it a weekend away destination. (Actually, I’ve even heard similar comments made by people living in posh estates in the area — who’d rather drive into one of those towns, or the City, than into Paarl for an evening out or a weekend activity.)

There are two reasons I moved to Paarl…


I was asked this question on response to my Amazonification piece, by a person concerned about the “flooding risk”.

Gaining some perspective, from Khayelitsha Wetland Park.

I’m not an expert on the flooding risk. What I do know is, most of Cape Town has been built, since the earliest colonisers, by managing water. This is not to say this is “right” (I too, dream of “Reclaiming Camissa”). It is, however, our reality — out city is built on a flood plain — the “flats” we call it. This includes the suburbs neighbouring the site who benefit from the existing canalisation of water.

There are ways that this…


“And that is Cape Town. It is the City of unresolved complexes. We do the right thing and then we undermine it. We are the Cape of Storms and the Cape of Good Hope at the same time. We are hostile to outsiders but we are also the most welcoming and assimilating of places. We are generous and mean-spirited. We are innovatively global and insufferably parochial. Unity versus diss.”

— David Schmidt, Dynamic Leadership in Cape Town, Counter Currents. 2010.

Artists’ rendering of the River Club development, where Amazon is set to relocate

I lost my first husband to two tech cities – he’s a digital health R&D consultant living part time between…


I recently wrote a piece about the 7 biggest threats to Cape Town and the region.

Here’s a view on the 5+ biggest opportunities:

  • Berry bonanza (an increasingly diverse and sophisticated agricultural economy)
  • Community Action Networks
  • Micro-developers (and the next frontier: mixed-use)
  • Fundamentally, we’re still attractive
  • Transition and crisis leaders
  • Plus a few almost-there-but-not-quite

(But 5+ isn’t 7! Its quality not quantity. Plus, Medium stats say ya’ll don’t read my longer posts).

1. Berry bonanza

Ok, I stole this title from Cape Talk.

Agriculture has for a long time been our regional strength, and there’s no reason to be shy about this as…


One of my colleagues likes to talk about the classic categories of spend in local government as:

  • Keep the lights on: maintain existing service levels, maintain water, sanitation and energy infrastructure, roads, street lights, etc.
  • Keep up with growth: invest in new infrastructure and capacities to keep up with growth in population and economy
  • Catalytic/Aspirational and transformative projects: a percentage of the budget to long-term, catalytic projects, as well as alignment of the rest of the budget with transformative outcomes. (I’d add that these days this is often diverting resources towards a “burning issue” or unexpected crisis)

As a person…


If I’m a City with a big C (i.e. City of Cape Town, the institution) manager, I’m going to have a dashboard looking at things like infrastructure and asset performance, revenue management, spend against capital programme, supply chain risks, customer satisfaction and internal HR metrics, for example.

But the city with a small c, i.e. the place, Cape Town, faces a wider range of risks. Maybe the proverbial “we” should keep a watching brief (and even roll up our sleeves) on these?

In no specific order:

  • Racism and other forms of prejudice
  • Climate change
  • Affordability and range of choice
  • Economic…

Urbanjodi

Archive of thoughts. Imperfect, incomplete and not assumed to be my final position. My actions speak louder than my words. Learn more: https://jodi.city

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