Polytech launches N$6.6 million urban planning research project

Windhoek: The Satakunta University of Applied Sciences from Finland and the Polytechnic of Namibia yesterday launched a new research project on urban resource efficiency that covers housing, renewable energy and clean water in Namibia.

The two-year pilot project will be carried out in Walvis Bay. NamUrban – as the project is known – is financed by the Finish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, as well as nine Finish companies to the amount of N$6.6 million.

Rector of the Polytechic of Namibia Dr Tjama Tjivikua said the launch takes place at the right time, just six days after the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr. Itah Kandjii Murangi, officially announced the gazetting of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Act.

“This announcement effectively means that the Polytechnic has finally been conferred university status, or rather affirmed as a technological university, and the name will come into operation as soon as the commencement date of the Act is announced by the minister”.

He said the Polytech – soon to become a university – are no strangers to innovation and technology transfer. “Our university has sufficient capacity to realise the goals of the NamUrban project through our faculties of computing and informatics, engineering, health and applied sciences, human sciences, management sciences, natural resources and spacial sciences. Our centres of excellence are structured conscientiously to respond to the national development agenda, that is, to make a distinct and visible contribution to our national development imperatives and processes.

About land management and urban planning Tjivikua said the university provides an array of relevant qualifications, such as architecture, engineering (civil, electrical, electronic, industrial and mechanical), town and regional planning, land surveying, geomatics, geo-information technology, land administration, and property studies.

He said the specific focus areas of NamUrban are based on their analysis of the current needs in terms of urban technology and communication systems improvement in Namibia.

“The priority areas of the project are logistics, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture, which are in line with the national guiding documents, such as Vision 2030 and Namibia’s fourth National Development Plan (NDP4). These plans strive to increase income equality, employment creation, and high and sustained economic growth”.

Dr Tjivikua said the new research project would be the first to study and develop a sustainable technological concept for urban environments in developing countries, using the harbour town of Walvis Bay as the pilot site.