Urban development, integration tops summit agenda

Urban development and integration are at the top of the agenda of the Human Settlements Development Summit which kicks off today.

This is one of five important areas that will be subject to intense discussion at the summit taking place at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg.

According to Department of Human Settlements, the summit will also look at shifting trends and how policies could be refined to meet other challenges speedily.

The department said there are about five commissions that will look at scenarios for human settlements policy and programme choices, re-imagining finance for housing and human settlements development programmes and integrated development and the new urban agenda in South Africa, among other things.

According to a discussion document “Integrated Urban Development and the New Urban Agenda in South Africa”, which has been prepared for the summit, planned urbanisation should be a priority for the South Africa if the country wants to meet the goals set out in the National Development Plan (NDP).

The NDP has estimated that by 2030, the urban population will grow by an additional 7.8 million people.

The discussion document also says that South Africa’s national urban policy, the Integrated Urban Development Frameworks (IUDF) also highlights the urgency of addressing the rapid urbanisation taking place within the country.

It says that projections estimate that by 2030, South Africans residing in the urban areas will constitute 71.3 percent and this will increase to at least 80 percent by 2050.

It is hoped that the summit will come up with refined approaches on how the country could quickly prepare itself for these scenarios.

Last month, the department in partnership with the University of South Africa also convened a mini-summit to look at problems in the Human Settlements sector as part of Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s efforts to find inclusive solutions to ensure there was sustainability, integration and affordability.

During her Budget Vote Speech in Parliament this year, Minister Sisulu said her department would ensure that every family in South Africa was settled in relative dignity, security and had access to opportunities that would allow everybody to realise and fulfil their dreams.

Minister Sisulu said this was an essential first step for South Africa to tackle all the social ills faced in society.

– SAnews.gov.za