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Housing crisis – IPPR calls for a national integrated spatial planning framework

Housing crisis – IPPR calls for a national integrated spatial planning framework

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) called on government to develop a national integrated spatial planning framework, coupled with the devolution of specific town planning powers to lower levels of government.

According to IPPR this would present an extraordinary opportunity to review and restructure the existing regulatory framework around housing and urban land.

This was highlighted in a IPPR recently published a report by its research associates, Dietrich Remmert and Pauline Ndhlovu: ‘Housing in Namibia- Rights, Challenges and Opportunities’ which takes a look at the surrounding issues and inefficiencies in the way of affordable and adequate housing for the majority of Namibia.

The report further urged government 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 making use of local and international expertise,” the report stated.

It is recommended that government reviews allocation for housing initiatives with a view to prioritising the servicing of land rather than the construction of houses, thus in turn housing initiatives should focus on low-income groups. The report also noted that national budgets for housing need to be administered in a more transparent manner, especially at regional and local levels, to improve accountability.

Government, including regional and local authorities, need to ensure that urban building standards and town planning regulations enable and incentivise integrated, flexible, cost-effective and sustainable housing developments.

“There should be clear certification processes and concise regulation in place to promote the use of alternative construction materials and methods. The construction industry should be encouraged to adopt green construction approaches more frequently. Finally, environmental considerations need to be given more weight in town lands and housing developments,” the report stated.

Furthermore, the report suggested that government provides local authorities with more tangible resources and practical support with regard to land surveying and servicing, town planning and housing initiatives.

“With regards to local authority administration of urban settlements human rights and the socio-economic well-being of residents should become integral to town planning, development and management,” the report recommended.

A full detailed report is available on the IPPR Namibia website. The study was made possible with funding from the German Embassy totalling N$612,000.

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