Swakop to become a ‘smart city’
First draft of a customized structure plan presented
10 July 2020 | Local News
“To realize government’s vision, visionary urban planning is required, which is supported by the development of infrastructure,” according to a draft structure plan that was recently published.
The more than 100-page report can be downloaded digitally from the municipality’s website (www.swakopmun.com) and the public and residents have until 17 July to submit comments.
The Swakopmund Structural Plan 2020-2040 was developed in collaboration with town council and several affected parties as the first policy document that contains a set of goals and strategies that will guide urban development for the next 20 years.
The vision of the Swakopmund Structural Plan 2020-2040 is “to create a sustainable, liveable and inclusive city”.
The municipality commissioned Stubenrauch Planning Consultants to prepare the report.
In its current format, several “key issues” have been identified and suggestions have been given to remedy them. Two of the main issues of concern, are the unfavourable location of the airport and the train station. The airport will have to be relocated to the northern entrance of the town, while the railroad tracks will also have to be relocated.
The report specifically also mentions numerous other urban challenges. These include the need for incentives for local economic development; affordable housing which is currently not the case; restrictions on the development of the town centre (conservation area), which leads to its depopulation; the isolation of the town from the ocean; urban sprawl and apartheid planning that have resulted in the poor living far from amenities; the need for soil remediation after cessation of mining and quarry work; and the need for educational institutions and other socio-economic institutions.
The plan aims to create “liveable spaces” by supporting urban planning, town planning, architecture and engineering, while at the same time creating opportunities for diversifying land use. Copenhagen (Denmark) is mentioned as an example of where this approach has been successfully implemented. Copenhagen is therefore recognised worldwide as a “model city”.
Swakopmund should thus also transform itself into a “smart city” where the principles of “living, working and playing” apply.
Other problems and challenges the town faces are detailed in the report.
The current economic situation is seen as an opportunity to lay the foundation for an “all-inclusive” urban environment.
“In Swakopmund, liveable spaces need to be created instead of continuing to spend resources and energy on providing affordable housing,” the report states, going on to say that the latter is associated with considerable financial costs anyway while accelerating urban sprawl.