Tristan Görgens is the acting director for human development in the Policy and Strategy Unit, Department of the Premier, Western Cape Government.
He is responsible for driving crossdepartmental policy making, such as the recently completed Food and Nutrition Security Strategic Framework, and the facilitation of strategic, transversal planning and decision-making structures across the province.
The focus of this work is to improve collaborations between departments and other stakeholders so that responses to the many wicked problems in the Western Cape are multidimensional, coherent and learning-orientated. Tristan was previously the urban land researcher for the Isandla Institute, a public-interest think tank which builds communities of practice between communities, academics and government officials to drive urban transformation.
Their focus was on working with communities and NGOs to understand the potential of the right to the city in a South African context and to build a body of practice and an advocacy agenda to influence the approach to informal settlement upgrading in the country. This culminated in a co-edited book, Upgrading Informal Settlements in South Africa: A partnership-based approach, published recently by UCT Press. He has also lectured at the University of Cape Town and has been involved with a number of NGOs working on community-driven development and disability rights.
Tristan is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar and a Steven Bantu Biko Leadership Fellow.