Although it is the poorest metropolitan area in South Africa, Durban has become a global leader in climate change adaptation. But informal neighborhoods and poverty undermine resilience and social cohesion. In this environment, Durban is actively exploring ways to adapt institutions, systems, and processes in order to facilitate integrated, innovative, and flexible planning. This approach can help build the foundation for a more resilient economy, government, and society.

At a Glance

Population: 2,837,000 (2009)

Mayor: James Nxumalo

Languages spoken: 

  • English (49.8%)
  • Zulu (33.1%)
  • Xhosa (5.9%)
  • Afrikaans (3.6%)
  • Other (7.6%)
Link to Durban in Google Maps

Durban's Resilience Milestones

  • 2009

  • Attacks on Informal Settlement - September 2009

    Attacks on an informal settlement in Durban claim two lives and destroy 30 shacks.

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  • 2011

  • Flooding Kills Durban Residents - November 2011

    A violent storm causes flooding and widespread damage, killing eight people when their homes collapsed.

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  • 2013

  • Cato Crest Homes Are Demolished - September 2013

    Home demolitions in the Cato Crest informal settlement in Durban lead to a mass political mobilization in protest.

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  • Heavy Rains and Floods - December 2013

    Heavy rains flood Durban's central business district, and police are dispatched to assist the public caught in the moving water.

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Resilience Challenges in the News

Read more about the challenges faced by Durban on the Resilience blog.

In Durban, a Neighborhood Builds a Just Path

Can Freeways Make a City More Resilient?

Durban Moves Its Slum-Dwellers Into Converted Office Buildings

Durban Finally Gains Ground in Its 100-Year Battle Against Sand

Hobbled By Apartheid-Era Planning, Durban Announces a Transit Transformation

Durban Loses a Third of Its Drinking Water Before It Reaches Its Destination

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The resilience conversation on Durban

What is this best example of urban resilience you've seen—in this city or another?

Share your thoughts in the discussion on the right.