With a surplus of drivers for the adoption of alternative and innovative technologies in the built environment, particularly in the human settlements sector, the effective application of science, technology and innovation (STI) can be a transformative instrument in addressing South Africa’s most pressing and significant social risks.
South Africa’s population is expected to increase to about 80-million by 2050, which contributes to the need for greater transformation in the housing and human settlements sector.
Speaking at the opening of the Off-The-Wall Human Settlements Showcase, in Pretoria, on Friday, Department of Science and Technology (DST) deputy-director general of socioeconomic innovation partnerships Imraan Patel told delegates that the event formed part of a process to develop and adopt the STI for Sustainable Human Settlement (STI 4 SHS) Roadmap.
The roadmap is scheduled for completion in September and sets out a decade-long plan for “coordinated investment and collaboration between key stakeholders, recognising the demand for alternative and innovative technologies in the built environment to help achieve citizens’ right to adequate housing and improved quality of life”.
The roadmap also falls in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, which are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Patel further said that global risks, such as climate change and resource depletion, required governments to rethink how resources were managed. The STI 4 SHS is aimed at using STI to respond to these risks, and to strengthen not just partnerships across sectors, but transform the human settlements sector and create coherence between all involved parties.
Using the STI 4 SHS framework will fall in line with South Africa’s National Development Plan, a Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and National Home Builder's Registration Council (NHBRC) representative said on Friday, adding that the innovative building technologies would need to be flexible, and be able to respond to and support emerging innovative technologies.
The NHBRC is investing about R3.5-million for the construction and use of innovative building technologies in 2018 and 2019.
Meanwhile, the showcase will be hosted by DST entity, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, at its grounds in Pretoria, and other partners such as the DHS, which are involved in the development of the roadmap, on Friday and Saturday.
The event will feature exhibitions and pitching sessions, wherein exhibitors showcase new ideas for future houses and neighbourhoods.
The event also aims to initiate discussions with potential investors and collaborators for the STI 4 SHS roadmap project.