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Inclusive smart cities appropriate to the South African context – Key findings of a CSIR study


Year published: 2020
Categories: Report

Author / Authors:

  • Tinus Kruger
  • Engela Petzer



In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in June 2019, the President of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, expressed his dream of building a South African smart city. In the February 2020 SONA, the President announced more concrete plans to develop a smart city in the country. These statements ignited various debates regarding the notion of smart cities within the South African context. What emerged from these debates is the lack of a common understanding of the concept of a smart city amongst different stakeholders. Even though the concept has been part of the urban discourse for more than 20 years, there is no universally accepted definition of a smart city.

In 2019/20 the CSIR conducted a study in an attempt to clarify some of the misconceptions surrounding smart cities. The purpose of the study was to develop a deeper understanding of smart cities in South Africa. The intention was furthermore to identify opportunities and challenges that may influence decisions when considering the development of settlements that are not only smart, but also inclusive. In conjunction with this CSIR funded study, the CSIR team also examined “smart cities for a sustainable future” for the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) with funding from the GIZ Natural Resource Stewardship Programme (NatuReS).

This booklet summarises the results of the CSIR study. The aspects that are addressed include an international perspective on smart cities, a South African interpretation of a smart city, factors to consider when planning smart cities, and an outline for a draft smart-readiness decision-making framework.

Published by the CSIR
July 2020
© CSIR, 2020
Ref. No. P1BP400
ISBN: 978-1-990974-85-4

Contact person:
Engela Petzer
CSIR Smart Places
PO Box 395
0001 Pretoria
Tel: +27 12 841 4380
Email: epetzer@csir.co.za


  • Report