Building a national urban knowledge exchange for Southern Africa

Project Status: 

In partnership with a range of national stakeholders, the CSIR is soon to launch the Urban Knowledge Exchange Southern Africa. The research and development of the online platform has been funded by the Department of Science and Technology. The project is steered jointly by a series of departments and agencies with direct roles in supporting the improvement of the built environment and human settlements.

CSIR researchers along with software developers are currently finalising the online knowledge hub ready for launch towards the end of 2018.  We are also building organisational networks around knowledge sharing activities to ensure optimal use and to improve the reach of the site.

This initiative places the CSIR in a strong knowledge brokering role in close partnership with a range of specialised thematic content partners. The verified assumption that the initiative builds on is that the efficiency of delivery of much-needed infrastructure in cities and towns can be improved through sharing of good practice.

The purpose of the Urban Knowledge Exchange Southern Africa project is to deliver better quality human settlements, towns and cities by making reliable, evidence-based knowledge more widely accessible. The online repository hosts reliable content on sustainable human settlement development and management, better infrastructure and services, access to well-located land, efficient and innovative shelter production, a more functional residential property market, improved transport networks, more equitable urban development, good governance, building resilience and responding to climate change, and promoting more affordable housing finance.

The hub provides an exciting opportunity to enhance sharing and learning between government, civil society organisations, private sector agencies, research organisations and tertiary institutions working in the urban and settlement development sector and ultimately improve policy and programme formulation.


The national departments of Human Settlements, Science and Technology, Cooperative Governance, Environmental Affairs, Finance, and Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. Agencies such as the South African Cities Network, the Housing Development Agency, South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), City Support Programme (CSP), Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC). Content partner forums will be established to represent private sector, tertiary, civil society and other interest groups. 


Department of Science and Technology

Contact Person

Dr Mark Napier