The Aerotropolis Institute Africa (AIA) – of which UKZN is a knowledge partner – hosted its first knowledge gig for 2019 in the form of an exhilarating, thought provoking and informative Smart Cities and Aerotropolis Masterclass in Durban.
With inputs from industry specialists, the Masterclass was directed at professionals from the aviation and related sectors as well as postgraduate students with interests in urban planning, engineering and infrastructure development. The Masterclass covered topics such as Smart Cities – airport integration, Smart infrastructure, Smart mobility, airport digitisation and big data analytics.
The AIA, sponsored by eThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), aims to facilitate economic growth and job creation through skills development, research and collaboration between professional entities within the aviation sector.
UKZN, around which the skills development of the AIA pivots, is actively involved in the expansion of short courses, promoting postgraduate research in aerotropolis development and in the longer term, exploring the feasibility of undergraduate degrees in aerotropolis studies.
Courses for professional development, such as the Masterclass, benefit UKZN in a variety of ways. Besides asserting the University’s value into the fast-paced knowledge economy by aligning the Institution’s academic offerings with growth-oriented sectors such as aviation, it more importantly brings UKZN academics into closer working collaborations with industry specialists.
It is this industry-academic synergy which can play a powerful role in boosting economic growth and ultimately, job creation.
Words: Rudi Kimmie