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2019: A Year in Review

12 Dec 2019 - 12:45

It has been an action-filled year at URERU and we are very pleased with our progress and achievements in 2019. The unit has continued to see considerable growth and this year’s end brings a tremendous sense of accomplishment as well as excitement for 2020. This brief review serves to highlight the key milestones achieved during 2019 and what you can expect to see from URERU in 2020.

Research Projects:

This year the unit has embarked on a number of exciting research projects across a broad spectrum of real estate and urban development related topics. The scope of the research was broad and we are confident that the contributions made by the unit this year will be of great use to the real estate industry and broader society.

The Public Land Development Research Programme (PLDRP), an important 3-year project, saw its completion earlier on in the year with the launch of the tool which provided a roadmap through the property development process in the Western Cape. The tool identifies all of the planning protocols and the time frames required throughout the entire development process from inception to final handover. The tool also offers a vital mechanism for local government in trying to streamline the development process and the costs associated with drawn-out planning and approval processes.

Another major project that the unit embarked on this year was the Smart City Series that examined The City of Cape Town’s smart city development in an attempt to locate the concepts of smart urbanism within an African context. The first three parts of the four-part report series are out now and can be accessed via the website. The final instalment of the report series will be released in the new year.

The Night Time Economy (NTE) is an area of economic research that has received increasing interest over the past couple of years. Seeing the growing importance of after-hours businesses in cities across South Africa, the unit decided to explore Cape Town CBD’s NTE in order to identify ways in which this burgeoning sector can be supported and expanded. The findings of this research will be released early next year.

Early this year we published the South African PropTech map which provided an overview of the South Africa’s PropTech ecosystem as well as the trends that are developing in this emerging sector of the real estate industry. During the second half of the year we expanded this research by examining and mapping the PropTech ecosystem in East Africa (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania). This will be released in the new year.

Towards the latter part of the year the unit partnered with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements to research the use of the Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) to provide free serviced sites to households in the lower gap housing market. The report is online and available on our website. The unit has also imputed into the City of Cape Town’s Inclusionary Housing and broader Human Settlements draft policies.

New Members of the Urban Real Estate Research Unit:

It was with great excitement and optimism that we welcomed two new members to the Urban Real Estate Research Unit – Frank Ametefe and Cecil Madell. Frank Ametefe, a recent PhD graduate from the University of Reading, joined the unit in July and will be spearheading research into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Africa and other aspects relating to real estate finance in Africa.

Cecil Madell is an urban planner with a wealth of experience in private and public sector. Cecil will be providing a planning and local economic development perspective to the unit’s research.

What to Expect in 2020:

Despite looking forward to a much needed break over the festive season, we are eagerly awaiting what is in store for URERU in the new year. A major avenue of research for next year will be centred around completing the PropTech research in Sub-Saharan Africa by mapping the West African PropTech ecosystem. In other work on the continent we will be undertaking work in the REIT sector across Africa. The unit will also be shifting some of its focus towards developing short courses for private and public sector professionals in the real estate sector. Another major focus for 2020 is to facilitate the publication of an African Real Estate book which provides multiple perspectives of the various real estate markets and trends across the continent. Lastly, we will be working with colleagues in the construction sector in an exciting new venture that considers the application of virtual reality in both the property and construction sectors.

Thank you for your continued support and interest. We look forward to seeing you next year.