- Wits-TUB Urban Lab: Interdisciplinary Bilateral Postgraduate Studies Programme for sub-Saharan Africa
- – School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg – Habitat Unit, Technical University Berlin – Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS) – African Urban Research Initiative (AURI) – Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN)
Given the critical role of tertiary education towards implementing the SDGs and NUA, collaborative initiatives have formed to refocus curricula in the habitat field. This networking event brings together such initiatives for the sub-Saharan African region.
In its vision statement, NUA envisages sustainable and 'participatory' towns and cities (s13(b) (c)) in which 'fundamental freedoms' are enjoyed by all (s12). NUA calls for its urban paradigm shift to be achieved through 'people-centred' and 'integrated approaches' (s15(c)), with 'multi-stakeholder partnerships' and intergovernmental 'cooperation' (15(c)(i)). NUA acknowledges political situations in the context of 'conflict' and 'post-conflict' (s19). Linked to this are complex realities such as 'informal settlements' and 'internally displaced people' (s20). Alongside an emphasis on law/rights, the strengthening of coordination and collaboration feature strongly in NUA's implementation plan (s28, 29 and s85-92).
The event addresses these aspects of NUA in an interactive way. A panel will introduce the event theme, provide analysis of the SDGs and NUA and introduce emerging pedagogic approaches and research. Groups will then deliberate on four critical themes which the Wits-TUB Urban Lab elaborated in workshops with local and international stakeholders in 2016 and 2017:
1) Politics and policy of the urban,
2) Understanding complex urban systems and effecting relevant integration,
3) Managing change processes,
4) Coproducing knowledge between theory and practice
Report-backs from these deliberations will inform a forward looking discussion towards strengthening alliances towards not only more capacity building but, crucially, a radical conceptual rethinking of curricular in sub-Saharan Africa.