GCRO participates in Joint Summer/Winter School hosted by University of Johannesburg and CEPT University

  • Date of publication: 08 March 2024

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) and CEPT University, India, organized a Joint Summer/Winter School from December 4th to December 13th, 2023. The program brought together 28 people, including Indian students, professionals, and professors in the fields of architecture, urban planning, housing, and infrastructure. The program focused on improving metropolitan cities through Smart, Inclusive, and Climate Resilient Urban Development. The program covered a range of topics, including decentralization, participatory urban governance reforms, local implementation of urban planning and financing frameworks, inclusionary housing frameworks, smart city frameworks, and climate resilience frameworks in urban development. The GCRO hosted the delegation at the GCRO office on 11th December 2023 and delivered an interactive session showcasing their experiences in the Gauteng City-Region related to the above topics. The discussion also centred around the value of urban observatories and how countries like India can adopt the GCRO model in developing urban observatories. A closing workshop on the 13th of December 2023 was held at the University of Johannesburg in which the student cohort presented their cross-comparative cities analysis (i.e. Gauteng municipality versus corresponding cities/districts in India) across five thematic areas: Inclusionary housing, Climate resilience, Smart cities, spatial planning and urban governance. The GCRO’s Executive Director, Mr. Rashid Seedat, and senior researcher, Dr Laven Naidoo, took part in the workshop as panellists and provided feedback on the students’ work.


Emerging from this Joint Summer/Winter School, Mr. Rashid Seedat was invited to present at an online HLC technical round table on "City -Regional Urban Observatory- A Case of Gauteng City Region, South Africa" on 16th January 2024, which was jointly hosted by UJ, CEPT, and the Government of India. The topic centred on the need, structure and key activities of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory. Other talks focused on the reflections from the Indian states and cities. Esteemed members from a variety of governmental body structures within India attended the round table and provided feedback. These international collaborative and information-sharing initiatives further highlighted the overall importance and need for the existence of urban observatories.

Urban observatories perform three key areas of work: assisting governments and local authorities with urban development information, enhancing knowledge and urban indicators for policy formulation and urban management, and facilitating the collection and dissemination of results of monitoring activities, as well as disseminating good practices in the use of urban information worldwide. We strongly advocate for nations to establish observatories for their localities to generate value-based urban data and distribute information by coordinating various sectors and partners within the city or country.



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