The Company

CityScapes is print publication issued twice a year. The magazine explores discourses around contemporary urbanism in Africa and the global south but also follows the individual everyday experiences and activities of individuals actively involved in shaping cities across the continent and the developing world. Content is a mix of both verbal and non-verbal, ranging from long form journalism, opinion pieces, interviews, data and info-graphics to photography. Article topics are extensively researched and target exceptional journalists, people interested in policy, photographers and writers across the global south as contributors. Cityscapes is a project of the African Centre for Cities, published in conjunction with Tau Tavengwa.

The Challenge

CityScapes needed an online home for their magazine. They required a membership site with the ability to restrict content to members only. Members needed to be able to register for free and get access to content easily. At the same time new sign ups should be able to subscribe to the CityScapes newsletter seamlessly. Above all, the site needed to sport all the different content types within their own unique layouts and be readable in all devices that access the web.

The Solution

The WordPress Groups plugin by itthinx allows new user roles to be added that can be used to show portions of the post content to members only. Using a couple a shortcodes directly inside the post content, CityScapes is able to show only a few paragraphs of text and a sentence explaining that membership is required to read the entire article. From there there is a link to the login/register page, a custom solution that LightSpeed integrated.
CityScapes uses newsletters to promote their magazine and the content on its website. We made sure that the registration form captures the required info and can automatically subscribe new signups to the CityScapes mailing list. For this LightSpeed uses Gravity Forms with the MailChimp addon that exists for integrating the MailChimp Newsletter Campaigning software. LightSpeed also coded the custom newsletter template that CityScapes needed.
CityScapes presents beautiful photo galleries with some of their editorial pieces. Ordinary WordPress galleries would not do, so we coded our very own custom post type called Photo Essays, any images attached to the post uses a custom slider to present the images and display the captions added via the new WordPress Media Library.
Each issue gets a page on the website that displays the content featured in the issue. For this a new taxonomy called Issues has been added to every post type. This allows for every issue to be added as a term to the Issues taxonomy. This means every post or photo essay can be mapped to an issue and therefore pull into the feature page for each volume of the publication.

Only very simple events publications were required for this project. Like we do for all our sites we integrated the brilliant Modern Tribe Events Calendar plugin for WordPress. It displays events in list view or a calendar and looks fantastic.

LightSpeed did responsive layouts for everything from very large screens to iPads or other tablets, but mobile phones will call an entirely different theme we built with the WPTouch Pro plugin. We did some heavy customisations on this one and we are very happy with how it came out. The site really is a breeze to navigate in your palm!

This is one of our favourite publication sites we have ever built. From function to design, the solutions are elegant, easy to use and look fantastic no matter what kind of platform you’re using to read from CityScapes.


  • WordPress Development
  • Child Theming (using Canvas by WooThemes)
  • MailChimp Newsletter Integration
  • Custom Newsletter Templating
  • Custom Page Templates
  • Custom Post Types
  • Responive & Mobile
  • WordPress Training
  • Membership Integration
  • Content Strategy
  • Design / Wireframing / Prototyping
  • Design to Code / CSS

The Result

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