Using biomimicry systems thinking and multi-stakeholder processes to develop a way forward for integrated catchment management in Hout Bay, Cape Town.


The project takes a systems perspective on complex urban challenges, and is focused on creating green economy opportunities related to water and waste. These opportunities are underpinned by social and ecological well-being objectives such as fairness, participation, creativity, opportunity, freedom, sustainability, stewardship and regeneration.

We have partnered with Cordaid, Thrive, Hout Bay Partnership, Cape Town Partnership and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology on a shared learning journey with the Hout Bay community. A sustainable world already exists and that the ecosystems that surround us are the genius of this story. We value nature not for what we can extract, harvest or utilise, but what we can learn, enhance and enable.

With a commitment to fairness and the creation of green economy opportunities, we offer a way to deliver a visionary future for water and waste in Hout Bay, for both the formal and informal sectors. The development of a collaborative model for the delivery of services will enhance both efficiency and effectiveness by linking together the people of Hout Bay, government, and the NGO and business sector. Through this we seek to enhance the beauty that people treasure; while creating quality opportunities and social cohesion.


This project employs a process of a shared learning journey in Hout Bay to discover the genius of the natural world (biomimicry) that can inform new and innovative ways to clean the environment that we depend on. This links together the people of Hout Bay as stewards of their shared environment, enhancing the beauty that people treasure while creating business and job opportunities that are underpinned by social well-being objectives.

Part of this shared learning journey includes a number of multi-stakeholder engagement activities. The initial phase of the project involved stakeholder research and collaborative fact-finding to understand the challenges facing the Hout Bay community. We are now developing a common agenda for projects in Hout Bay through facilitated co-design multi-stakeholder meetings, and in particular the formation of an inclusive, cohesive and socially representative community of change (COC) in the area, that is representative of the system. The COC will be responsible for driving identified projects in the area forward.