Consider the environment in town planning and housing developments - IPPR
Edgar Brandt Windhoek-Government, including regional and local authorities, needs to ensure that urban building standards and town planning regulations enable and incentivise integrated, flexible, cost-effective and sustainable housing developments. This is according to a report released this week by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), titled ‘Housing in Namibia: Rights, Challenges and Opportunities’. The report, compiled by IPPR research associates, Pauline Ndhlovu and Dietrich Remmert, recommends clear certification processes and concise regulations in place to promote the use of alternative construction materials and methods. The authors recommend that the construction industry should be encouraged to adopt green construction approaches more frequently and that environmental considerations need to be given more weight in town lands and housing developments. The report also suggests that the development of a national integrated spatial planning framework, coupled with the devolution of specific town planning powers to lower levels of government, presents an extraordinary opportunity to review and restructure the existing regulatory framework around housing and urban land. “Government needs to ensure that the timely development of the spatial planning framework is given all necessary financial and human resources necessary for the task. Government should furthermore endeavour to actively engage all stakeholders and the public during the development of this framework, as well as make use of local and international expertise,” reads the report. In terms of finance, the report proposed that the government allocates more funding to the housing sector and urban land development and that it needs to improve the oversight, management and utilisation of budgets for housing initiatives and related activities. “It is recommended that the government reviews allocation for housing initiatives with a view to prioritising the servicing of land, rather than the construction of houses. In turn, housing initiatives should focus on low-income groups. National budgets for housing need to be administered in a more transparent manner, especially at regional and local levels, to improve accountability,” the report recommends. Additional recommendations include regular engagement and information sharing as well as the provision of more tangible resources and practical support to local authorities in terms of land surveying and servicing, town planning and housing initiatives. “Workable solutions developed by local authorities should be encouraged and supported. Likewise, community housing initiatives should be actively supported by the authorities. With regards to local authority administration of urban settlements, human rights and the socio-economic wellbeing of residents should become integral to town planning, development and management,” reads the report. This latest housing report from IPPR provides an overview of the housing situation in the country and provides recommendations for the way forward. Through a desk review, interviews with experts and a survey of inhabitants of informal settlements in three towns, the report identifies the key factors holding back housing in Namibia.
New Era Reporter
2018-03-15 09:24:02 8 months ago