CSIR launches roadmap to address challenges that hinder smart settlements in South Africa

22nd June 2021 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has partnered with the departments of Science and Innovation (DSI); Human Settlements (DHS) and Water and Sanitation (DWS) to launch a Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Settlements Roadmap.

The roadmap, meant to upscale transformative innovation in South African homes and communities, was created to clarify obstacles that stand in the way of the development of smart settlements.

The roadmap identified several major challenges, namely a general lack of innovation in updating and mainstreaming in the housing sector; a lack of investment in innovation; sector conservatism; and a less modernised approach to human settlements.

The roadmap is considered to be a strategic transformation framework that lays the groundwork for planning, coordination, and decision-making in the DHS and DWS.

These efforts are aimed at transforming human settlements into smart and sustainable ones, while also reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and harnessing the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the CSIR says.

CSIR Smart Places Cluster’s Peta de Jager and her team were in charge of drafting the roadmap, which is aimed at providing a proposed action plan for achieving a brighter future for human settlements. 

The DSI increasingly strives for the National System of Innovation to focus on mobilising the power of innovation to drive structural change in socio-technical systems and address societal challenges.

The DSI’s position is in line with the CSIR’s ideals of working with stakeholders from all sectors of society to strengthen and improve its capabilities.

“To put the roadmap into action, a community of practice, collaborative research centre and project management office will be established following the launch.

“This will provide information on the existence and progress of relevant initiatives, allowing for systematic learning of the good practices, unlearning bad practices and sharing of lessons, as well as identifying potential synergies and matching of interests, to monitor and, where possible, establish foresight on international and local trends, and support an investment portfolio,” explains De Jager.