COVID-19 Updates    Mayor's Blog   
Indigenous knowledge an important part of planning

Date: 2021-11-15 14:31:00

Indigenous knowledge an important part of planning

Harvesting indigenous knowledge and incorporating it into modern plans is one of the critical facets in fostering co-production with communities.

Emphasis was placed on this and an array of other arguments during deliberations at the two-day World Planning Day webinar held on 8 and 9 November. The webinar saw professional planners and the public meet with the aim of looking at town planning from a global perspective. 

The webinar was held in partnership between eThekwini Municipality, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the South African Council for Planners, the International Society of City and Regional Planners, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the South African Cities Network.

Discussions were held under the theme ‘Strengthening the co-production paradigm in planning’.

Delivering the keynote address, eThekwini’s Acting City Manager Musa Mbhele said the way people organise themselves within their spaces and the solutions they develop are all critical in planning. He said planners would only be able to identify these when a proper co-production and co-creation process is made possible. 

“Back when I was a junior planner, we would ask ourselves ‘How do we make use of indigenous knowledge systems and align them with these grand plans that we were coming up with, particularly around influencing human settlements in the rural areas of northern KZN’,” he said.

Mbhele said when communities are passive recipients of services, they will not have the full appreciation of the effort it takes to design and deliver particular services and will not recognise limitations. 

SALGA’s Head for Built Environment Seana Nkhahle said countries, towns, and cities being planned for are an ecosystem of multiple parts, making it vital to include all those parts in the planning process. “If we deliver in any part of that ecosystem while disregarding other parts of the ecosystem, our reflections on progress will be misleading,” said Nkhahle. 

Various speakers from across the globe delivered presentations and held panel discussions under sub-themes including Co-production and Urban Infrastructure, Planning and Economic Development, Promoting Healthy Cities, as well as Building Resilient Cities.