Through contributions in original research, technology development and application, as well as knowledge transfer, the Urban and Regional Planning research group has as its main aim, making a contribution towards the sustainable development of cities, towns and regions and contributing towards an enhanced quality of life of people in those areas.
The specific focus of research and development in the group is two-fold, namely on:
- Effective and efficient strategic analysis and planning technologies, processes and systems that supports government and decision makers to effectively prioritise, allocate resources and effectuate development and reconstruction within complex urban and regional systems.
As a well established research area of the group the magnitude of research, as well as policy and technology development in this field conducted over the last number of years includes for example: development of modelling and simulation tools and technologies for the recently introduced Urban Dynamics Lab (UDL), (CSIR, ongoing); research into the application and enhancement of sustainability science in development planning (CSIR, 2007); work done to harmonise and align intergovernmental investment and activities for the National Spatial Development Perspective (NSDP) District Application Project (Presidency, 2006-2007); Harmonisation and Alignment Framework (Presidency, 2004); Guidelines and Assessment of Provincial Growth and Development Strategies (Presidency, 2005-2007); effective development of long-term city development strategies (CSIR, 2005), development of municipal planning and implementation processes and technologies for the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) Guide Packs (dplg, 1997-2000).
- Strategic analysis of regional space economies and socio-ecological systems, as well as strategic development alternatives, informing evidence-based decision making and high-impact infrastructure investment and development outcomes.
As a fairly recently established research area, research and application are currently focused at a regional level. At a broader regional level this includes for example research and strategic analysis done for The National Spatial development Perspective (Presidency, 2006 and 2003), the Gauteng Spatial Development Perspective (Gauteng Province, 2006), as well as research on the new geography of regions for the UDL (CSIR, ongoing). At a city scale this includes research and strategic analysis done on the Gauteng City Region (dst, ongoing) and at a sub-regional level this includes strategic analysis of space economies and identification of key leverage areas for development undertaken for 13 district municipal areas partaking in the recent NSDP District Application Project (Presidency, 2006-2007).
The Group's work has mainly been done as part of collaborative efforts with key government partners and through multi-disciplinary teams, involving collaborators from other groups within the CSIR, as well as from strategic partners such as the University of Pretoria and a range of researchers and consultants across the country. The group is based in Pretoria and consists of five researchers with mostly geography, urban and regional planning and development management backgrounds.