Town Planning the Stubenrauch way

Stubenrauch Planning Consultants (SPC) has redefined the town and regional planning industry by introducing a bottoms-up and people-centric approach to rural and urban development in Namibia over the years.

This move has empowered communities to decide what they want in their respective areas of residence.

Having seen an opportunity to positively contribute towards urban development and people-oriented development of Namibia’s urban and rural areas the company was established by Günther Stubenrauch in 1989 in Windhoek. It has shifted the planning profession from a top-down planning approach to a positive planning one, which is key in the development of new urban areas.

The company’s managing director and founder, Günther Stubenrauch is armed with a degree in Town and Regional Planning; an honours’ degree in demography and a master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Stellenbosch.

This is coupled with more than 25 years of experience in various fields of town and regional planning, ranging from layout, township establishment, structure planning, community consultation, feasibility and environment impact studies.

SPC has nine employees of which eight are women, powered by a mission to provide professional services in developing urban and natural environments.

Stubenrauch says he was driven by a passion for urban spaces and interaction of people.

“The song, Born in the Ghetto, as sung by Elvis Presley, largely kindled my desire to contribute towards the development of livable urban spaces where children could hopefully grow up in stable communities and hopefully grow up in a drug and crime free social environment where sports and education would be freely accessible to all,” he explains.

As part of the company’s social responsibility, Stubenrauch supports the Theresa Orphanage, which is outside Rundu, by paying fees.

The initiative to start the company was a result of a passion to contribute towards urban development on a larger-scale, “After graduating from college, I worked for nearly three years for a Windhoek-based, Government-owned architect firm. I soon realised there was an opportunity to contribute towards urban development on a larger scale than architects normally get involved in.

“I knew I could use my planning background in a much more creative manner when approaching urban planning interventions. Having discussed this dream with my boss, Dirk Jankowitz of Theunissen Jankowitz Architects, he encouraged me to open a planning firm and provided mentorship as to how to set up my own firm.”

He says he enjoys urban spaces and the planning profession provides him with the opportunity to be one of the role players instrumental in developing various urban areas and public spaces.

“I consider the challenge to come up with local and site-specific planning solutions and the passion to create and form urban spaces through stakeholder and community consultations as part of success in my professional life. As such, I get personally involved in all planning tasks handled by SPC so that I can personally advise and guide our clients.

“I will give the young planners in the firm the chance to gain experience and possibly become managers and shareholders. We currently support four Namibian students in the hope that they will be able to positively contribute towards the Namibian planning profession in years to come.”

Stubenrauch aims to grow his company, share responsibility and inject new initiatives into the firm.

He’d like to be remembered as having had the interest of the people at heart and that he involved people in his planning profession, “I would like to be remembered for adopting an ethical and professional work approach, even if it was not always considered by some opportunistic leaders as the most popular approach at that point in time.”

However, one of the biggest work-related challenges he faces is in successfully guiding and advising decision-makers to see the need to take decisions, which may not be popular with the developers or applicants but which are responsible and lead to successful urban growth eventually.

“The best planning initiatives so often get watered down or even ignored by politicians and developers who do not see the need to engage the community in responsible planning interventions. That’s because they’d rather pursue personal interests largely driven by greed and own financial aspirations.”
The company’s long-term plan is to build the firm in such a way that it will continue to contribute in a professional and ethic way towards building Namibian towns and cities for generations to come.

Stubenrauch takes pride in the company’s establishment of long-term relationships and trust with clients and local authorities as this enables him to constructively contribute in setting out long-term and holistic planning initiatives. He also takes pride in his personal involvement in complex urban development initiatives such as the Afrodite Beach development at Walvis Bay or the Lüderitz Waterfront development as they are unique in terms of creating successful urban spaces. PF