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CSIR Launches Roadmap To Address Challenges That Hinder Smart Settlements In South Africa

  • 2 min read

A roadmap to upscale transformative innovation in South African homes and communities has been launched.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) partnered with the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DHSWS) to come up with a Science Transformative and Innovation for Sustainable Settlements Roadmap. The roadmap 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 updating and mainstreaming in the housing sector; a lack of investment in innovation; sector conservatism; and a less modernised approach to human settlements.

The Science, Technology, and Innovation for Sustainable Human Settlements Roadmap is a strategic transformation framework that lays the groundwork for planning, coordination, and decision-making in the Department of Human Settlements, Water, and Sanitation. 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.

Peta de Jager and her team in the Smart Places Cluster of the CSIR were in charge of drafting this roadmap. The roadmap’s goal, according to De Jager, is to give 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 aimed at structural change in socio-technical systems to address societal challenges. This approach re-examines the relationship  between the government, the market, people  and science. It emphasizes responsible research and development, as well as experimentation and societal learning. It adopts a position of foresight and constant reflection. 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 monitorand, where possible, establish foresight on international and local trends, and support an investment portfolio,” explains de Jager.

The roadmap can be found here: