THE CENTRE FOR REGIONAL AND URBAN INNOVATION AND STATISTICAL EXPLORATION
(CRUISE) is the outcome of collaboration between Statistics South Africa and the University of Stellenbosch. Since 2011, CRUISE has been providing research and training in urban and regional systems to capacitate the public sector, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies in the African continent. Our primary aim is to provide outcome-orientated research and the production of accurate statistical and spatial data to decision makers that will enable effective policy formulation.
COMMITTING TO CRUISE
During a high¬level meeting with Statistics South Africa the organisation committed itself to a number of important collaborations with Stellenbosch University. The collaborations include amongst other, the continued financial support of the Centre beyond 2019 and the establishment of the first permanent office of a future Division of Regional Science Association International at CRUISE. Following on the introduction of new programmes at CRUISE the parties agreed that there is a need for the establishment of an independent Department of Planning and Urban and Regional Science at the University to allow CRUISE to independently brand planning and urban and regional science at the University.
One of our key functions at CRUISE is to analyse and disseminate existing statistical data and develop new databases and indicators that would augment the information provision role of Statistics South Africa. CRUISE designs and integrates selected spatial data sets from various public, private, and non-governmental institutions required for responsive policy formulation and economic development initiatives. Decision makers are capacitated to apply and interpret data within the context of policy formulation.
CRUISE has developed a master’s programme and short courses that provide individuals within the public and private sectors with the necessary theoretical knowledge and analytic skills to examine urban and regional systems at a higher level of technical enquiry. The programme focuses on the empirical analysis of the built environment and spatial networks within the social and economic sciences. Our taught academic programme is designed for postgraduates and short courses are designed for executives in the aforementioned sectors.
URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING IS COMING TO CRUISE
CRUISE has been offering a taught Master’s programme in Urban and Regional Science since 2011 but from 2015 Urban and Regional Planning has been added to its portfolio. CRUISE’s Planning programme is designed to deliver practice ready professionals with appropriate applied knowledge for Africa but it is also has a strong first world focus aimed at bridging the historical divide in urban planning between the developed and developing worlds. Through it rigorous quantitative and qualitative research CRUISE provides excellent research opportunities to a wide range of students internationally.
A unique set of composite development indices have been developed for South Africa combining demographic, economic and social indicators from censuses and household surveys. Separate indexes were developed for urban and rural areas which include growth, economic and social variables within municipalities and comparative indices between municipalities. The current DIFs cover the following years: 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2011. Steps are currently being taken to expand the DIF to cover other parts of Africa.
REGIONAL SCIENCE IN AFRICA
The first seeds, which eventually led to the establishment of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI), were sown in the United States in the early 1950s. Since then the discipline has grown to become a fertile seedbed for organised spatial research in the fields of economics, planning, geography and environments science in all continents, except Africa. CRUISE is now taking the first steps to remedy this situation by planning regional science conferences for 2015 and 2016 as a means to establish the discipline in Africa.
MR. PALI LEHOHLA
CRUISE would like to pay tribute to Statistician¬ General Pali Lehohla, founder of CRUISE, for not only playing a key role in advancing the use and production of statistics in South Africa but also in the rest of Africa. Through frontline organisations such as the UN Statistics Commission, the UN Expert Data ¬Revolution Advisory Group, the International Statistical Institute and the African Symposium for Statistical Development, he played a prominent role in improving the use of statistics and ensuring successful censuses throughout Africa. On 10 December, 2015 the University of Stellenbosch has acknowledged these accomplishments by conferring the Degree Doctor of Commerce, honoris causa on him.