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CSIR launches new online platform for information-sharing on human settlement development

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

CSIR, in partnership with the Departments of Science and Technology and Human Settlements, launched the Urban Knowledge Exchange Southern Africa (uKESA), an online platform designed to support government, industry, the private sector, civil society, and academic partners in improving urban development and human settlement practice.

“uKESA is a collaborative contribution aimed at ensuring that the knowledge that has been, and will continue to be generated during the development of sustainable and inclusive human settlements, is not only captured but also remains accessible to stakeholders within the public, private and civil society sectors,” says CSIR principal researcher, Dr Mark Napier.

Contact Person

David Mandaha

+12 841 3654/ 072 126 8910

dmandaha@csir.co.za

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in partnership with the Departments of Science and Technology and Human Settlements, launched the Urban Knowledge Exchange Southern Africa (uKESA), an online platform designed to support government, industry, the private sector, civil society, and academic partners in improving urban development and human settlement practice.

“uKESA is a collaborative contribution aimed at ensuring that the knowledge that has been, and will continue to be generated during the development of sustainable and inclusive human settlements, is not only captured but also remains accessible to stakeholders within the public, private and civil society sectors,” says CSIR principal researcher, Dr Mark Napier.

 “Such relationships will enhance innovative, evidence-based decision-making, debate, policy formulation and practice,” he says. “Ultimately we want to help advance Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals, to make our cities and human settlements more and more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

According to Napier, an online survey conducted during the early development of the uKESA platform highlighted the nature of the demand for knowledge sharing in South Africa. In that survey, participants, decision-makers and practitioners reported that “they often lost good material produced and there was very limited interaction between human settlement stakeholders; meaning that opportunities for peer-to-peer learning were also lost.”

He adds: “Officials needing reliable information urgently, often ask where the academic research on various topics can be found.”

According to Napier, these survey responses are typical of the experiences of many of the actors in the sector and point to an absence of a stable set of repositories for dependable urban and human settlement knowledge and information. Linked to this are generally inconsistent protocols to not only manage this information but also to ensure that such repositories could be appropriately connected to one another.

About the uKESA platform

The first phase of the development of the uKESA platform was funded by the Department of Science and Technology. It was developed with the support and guidance of a steering committee made up of representatives of a range of national departments and agencies including the Departments of Human Settlements, Science and Technology, Cooperative Governance, Treasury (Cities Support Programme), and agencies such as the South African Cities Network, South African Local Government Association, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and the Human Sciences Research Council. A wider set of stakeholder forums are currently being established, involving academia, professionals, industry partners and civil society.

The editorial policy and terms of use that have been put in place ensure that uploaded resources are of good quality and that each resource is vouched for by its contributor. Resources are assigned appropriate metadata to make them easily searchable, regardless of how big the database of resources becomes. The content in the platform, including resources, events and forums, will remain available and accessible over the medium to longer term.

“We anticipate that this platform will be hugely beneficial to the human settlements sector,” says Napier. “The emphasis is on pro-active sharing among stakeholders interested in improving the life of the people of our country and the region.”

For more information about uKESA, visit http://www.ukesa.info

Enquiries:

David Mandaha: CSIR Media Relations Manager
E-mail: dmandaha@csir.co.za
Tel: +12 841 3654
Mobile: 072 126 8910

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