The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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CSIR Built Environment


An effective built environment increases productivity, social development and growth. Environmentally sustainable and efficiently operated socio-economic infrastructure is therefore critically important for the development and well-being of the country. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) supports the country’s response to national priorities by drawing on its multidisciplinary science, engineering and technology (SET) skills base.

One of the CSIR’s focus areas is developing, improving and maintaining the built environment – the economic infrastructure and human settlements. The organisation contributes to sustainable infrastructure development, asset preservation, socio-economic growth and global competitiveness in and for the built environment. The fundamental need for socio-economic development, the cornerstone of societal well-being, can be addressed only when people have access to basic services and amenities such as electricity, water and sanitation, as well as housing, schools and hospitals.

The CSIR’s impact is grounded in research, development and innovative (RD&I), through relevant technologies that enjoy international standing and in a team of committed and dedicated specialists. The CSIR conducts RD&I in support of the government’s increased focus on infrastructure development and service delivery.

Core Focus

The CSIR’s contribution lies in the use of science, engineering and technology to contribute to the development and maintenance of the country’s economic infrastructure and the transformation of human settlements.

The organisation’s main focus areas are the integration of data in decision-support systems for planning and maintaining settlements; improving the efficiency of buildings and developing new building materials and construction methodologies; developing design methods and maintenance procedures for road, port and railway infrastructure; and developing models and methods for more efficient public and freight transport.

Within our mandate, our activities support government’s medium-term strategic framework with a focus on:

  • supporting the maintenance, upgrading and management of the country’s transport, water and sanitation infrastructure and coastal and port developments
  • supporting service delivery in the built environment
  • assisting city regions to plan and implement policy within the built environment
  • developing well-functioning, sustainable settlements and safer communities.

Looking ahead

The built environment locally and abroad is a complex system. We see out activities focusing primarily on logistics and infrastructure operations; transport infrastructure; sustainable human settlements; information and communications technology (ICT) and sensors. Read more...

About this section
Research Areas
Building Science and Technology
Hydraulic Infrastructure Engineering
Spatial Planning and Systems
Transport Infrastructure Engineering
Transport Systems and Operations
Agrément South Africa
Accelerating sustainable water service delivery
Annual State of LogisticsTM Survey for South Africa
Combating crime with remote sensing and GIS
Development of a cross-border transport model
Development of the Khalifa Port for Abu Dhabi
Heavy vehicle simulation results in cost-effective road design
Improving government’s long-term planning capacity
Long-life roads technology
Long-term accommodation for drug-resistant TB patients
Special Infrastructure
Sanitation Technology Demonstration Centre
Ports and Harbour Infrastructure key in Advancing SA's Economy
The CSIR Advanced Materials and Testing Laboratory
The CSIR Advanced Materials and Testing Laboratory
The CSIR Bituminous Binders' Laboratory
Accelerated Pavement Testing with the Heavy Vehicle Simulator
Urban Sim Platform
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