July 2017 SUS participates in Planning Seminar

Gert BreugemNews

SUS was asked to contribute to the Planning Seminar at Gaborone university, July 2017

Introduction and background Gaborone:

Gaborone is a relatively new city, which started its history 50 years ago, when Botswana became a nation. The city was meant to be a small capital with approximately 50.000 inhabitants. The city would be the homebase for all the governmental institutions, like the parliament, ambassies and the ministries.

The city started with a plan, based on the Garden city, a city with a small center and a lot of green inside and decentralized villages.

Soon it was clear that the city would grow much faster then expected. Today the city has already more than 200.000 inhabitants and the entire region hosts up to 1 milion inhabitants, which is half of Botswana’s population.

It is clear that after those 50 years the city needs a vision on its next phase of development. Therefore the Town and country planning department currently is preparing a long term vision (with a scope of 30 years) for further expansion, uplifting of the public realm and redevelopment of the extensively used and older settlements within the city . The vision also provides guidelines for a better connection of the villages as part of the metropolitan region.

The Dep. Of the Town and country planning are also involved of a national plan, aiming to determine urgent planning issues and to develop guidelines for developments and projects on the national scale, like a vision (with an operational agnda) on ecological corridors between the major national parks and landscapes.

Invitation SUS by the Pula institute of planning
The Pula Institute of planning is a general platform for planners and people related to the building practice within Botswana. At the 7th of July all planners from local and national government and people from the private sector and lecturers and students from the University of Gaborone where gathered to have a debate about Gaborone’s challenges and necessary planning issues.

Botswana therefore asked the support from expertise Netherlands to participate in the debate and contribution by handing over fresh and different planning practices, approaches and strategies.

The discussion after different lectures about the current issues of planning focused on the following issues:

  • Institutional collaboration
  • Priorities
    Collaboration government and private sector
  • Collaboration local stakeholders/participation planning
  • Urgencies: traffic reform (city is too car dominated), redevelopment public realm,

Conclusions and recomendations

There are 4 major conclusions, noted during the discussion of the seminar:

  1. Reform planning system at institutional level:Need better embeddness of planning and urban design in the governmental system, in order to be able to implement and realize visions.
  2. More transparancy in finances and investment capacity: Better collaboraiton with the private sector, decentralisation of budgets and fundings to local authorities and cathalyzing international fundings by generating interest
  3. Focus with planning and densification on the existing city: The government was intend to start with new extensions (newly built settlements outside the city perimeter), while there is plenty of space within the existing city perimeter for densification. The city needs to be densified because of the major problems of congestion and traffic and the movements of economic centers towerds the periphery, which affects the older facilities and centers enormously.
  4. Need improving the public realm: The city currently is a collection of inside oriented buildings, parks and can therefore be characterized as a fragmented city with a little connection between the build area and its public space. Due to the wide roads, the city exists of a devided and scattered city, with few cohesion and interaction between all different districts, residential areas and centers.

Strengthen collaboration Botswana and the Netherlands

After the Planning Seminar the Botswana planners where convinced about the effectiveness and value of Dutch planning practice in their future challenges. This because of the integrated approach in planning and multi stakeholders approach, that guarantees a strong connection between visions and implementation.

SUS will get involved into future planning projects. The first introduction is there.