Situating Public Housing in Namibia’s Urban Agenda

This project is an ILMI Seed Grant 2020 Awardee.


It is well known that rapid urbanisation is a reality and is the future of Africa, not only as the growth of cities through urban-rural migrations but also the internal growth of urban areas and the development of rural areas. In Namibia, 28% of the population was urbanised in 1990, and escalated to 50% in 2018. This growth is expected to double by the year 2050. Access to adequate housing is of one the major challenges in urban areas, a result of the slow provision of affordable serviced land, minimal state urban development financing, neoliberal urban development ideologies and modern urban planning approaches which are constantly reinforcing the apartheid space making policies. Although recently the focus to upgrade informal settlements through the coproduction of land for housing has become the most progressive approach to address housing challenges, it will not be enough to ensure access to adequate housing for all. In Windhoek, a deeply segregated city, historically by moving black people further away from opportunities in the inner city and currently by a lack of affordable land in the inner city due to a neoliberization of urban development that allows market forces to dictate access to land in the inner city. The discussion of public housing provision does not exist, even so the discussion of providing affordable dwelling within the CBD, instead the city boundaries were recently extended and inner city land is constantly being privatised. This research proposes an interdisciplinary inquiry into state led housing provision by analysing the inner city government apartments built during the colonial era as a point of entry into how the state can facilitate the provision of adequate housing and how cities can begin creating counter apartheid space making steps to ensure compact developments and addressing spatial injustices.

Project duration    01 September - 30 November, 2020

Principal Investigator    Martin Namupala, Spatial Students Association, Namibia University of Science and Technology;

Co-investigators    Romeo Matyayi; Natache Sylvia Iilonga; Thandiwe Mbangula; Fenni Nghiitwikwa; Letitia Aihuki

General inquiries:     Ms Emorgen Jansen;