Generating transformative capacity: ICLEI Africa’s urban natural assets for Africa programme

Jessica Kavonic*, Harriet Bulkeley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Over the past five years, there have been growing calls for transformative responses to sustainability challenges, supported by increased transformative action in the pursuit of environmental justice. In parallel to this development within the policy arena, the concept of transformation and its potential is also attracting more attention within the research community. This paper uses the example of the Urban Natural Assests for Africa (UNA) programme to explore what transformative change might mean for cities and how this might be achieved through enacting just processes. It explores in some more detail different approaches to transformative change to explain how and why an enabling perspective on transformation is considered to be fruitful in developing the understanding of transformative capacity for change. The paper then explores how the programme was able to foster this capacity, with what consequences for the African cities and what it implies for the nature of change for urban social and environmental justice in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-917
Number of pages18
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Urban/Cities
  • Africa
  • transformational capacity


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