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The HDA, together with the National Department of Human Settlements (NDHS), hosted a Town Planners’ Workshop in Pretoria on Friday, 24 October 2014.

The workshop was organised with the aim of obtaining inputs from the town planning sector to the Master Spatial Plan (or MSP) that has been developed by the HDA. The MSP is a framework aimed at enabling the department to direct amenities and resources  to where human settlements are located, as well as to plan ahead for the provision of necessary infrastructure and amenities for future human settlement developments.

The workshop was attended by delegates from municipalities, municipal support agencies, professional associations, select built environment non-governmental organisations, national government departments and specialists from academic institutions.

Commissioner Mitchell Silver, of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and also the immediate past president of the American Planning Association (APA), was a keynote speaker. He is an award-winning planner with almost 30 years of experienceand is internationally recognised for his leadership in the planning profession.

Silver shared insights into how an in-depth study and analysis of a country’s demographic changes can help achieve and implement a sustainable spatial plan.

“A good plan is one that responds to emerging demographic trends,” said Silver. “Plan with a thorough understanding of demographic changes.”

He further emphasised that what South Africa needs is urban innovation instead of urban replication: “Good planning will drive good economic investment,” he said.

The workshop resulted in several recommendations including instituting an implementation team to carry the workshop outcomes forward, and to ensure integration of the MSP with sector and national plans and policies in all spheres of government.