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February - June 2014

Feb - June Newsletter

Spatial Transformation of Cities conference

In March 2014, the South African Cities Network and the City of Johannesburg, in collaboration with a range of partners, hosted the Spatial Transformation of Cities Conference. Using the City of Johannesburg as a laboratory the event was aimed at engaging with what it means to transform South Africa’s urban spatial legacy. While spatial transformation is seen as a key priority (recently reiterated in the National Development Plan) how to achieve this remains unclear. Furthermore there does not exist a shared understanding between the multiple stakeholders necessary for effective and transformative spatial restructuring.

Upcoming Events

 July 11, 2014 The Integrated Urban Development Framework Recommendations

The Integrated Urban Development Framework Recommendations for Infrastructure, and for Non-governmental Actors 17 July 2014,

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 July 11, 2014 Architecture Otherwhere Durban 2014

On the twentieth anniversary of South Africa’s re-birth, the International Union of Architects World Congress (UIA2014) to be held in Durban this August.

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 July 11, 2014 Network Cluster for Economic Development

THE central question behind the Productive Cities programme is whether the local economy can provide a majority of residents with the means to earn a reasonable living?

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The aim of the conference was thus to engage with the notion of “spatial transformation” of our cities and particularly how this plays out and manifests through the City of Johannesburg’s “Corridors of Freedom” vision.  It did this through an exploration of key urban spatial themes: settlement planning, land, mobility and access and the enablers that are necessary to facilitate spatial planning and transformation. 

Conference participants included representatives from the public and private sectors as well as academia. In order to encourage enthusiastic and creative debate and engagement the conference organisers commissioned a number of visual tools in an attempt to graphically illustrate the spatial challenges and opportunities that exist in South African cities. Another creative method employed to engage participants was the City Challenge, an amazing race styled event which allowed participants to engage with and navigate the city to understand the spatial context, issues of mobility and access to shelter, social infrastructure and economic activities. 

Further information on the conference (including conference documentation, research and the visual resources) can be found when you click on read more.  Keep an eye out for the full report and further related activities. 

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The Built Environment Programme

 The built environment programme of the South African Cities Network focusses on the elements that are required for the efficient and effective functioning and spatial form of South African cities. To this end, it focusses on the following key areas: effective spatial planning and land-use management, public transport that enables mobility and access and the development of human settlements that meet the objectives of integration, improved livelihoods and social cohesion. One of the completed projects in this programme is the Affordable Housing Profiles which has been developed for each of the 9 member cities of the SACN. There are major opportunities for investment by both the public and private sector in the affordable property market. However, this market is often not well understood. In order to contribute towards improving this understanding the SACN and the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF) partnered to create the aforementioned profiles. These can be accessed here or by visiting the CAHF site.


Water shortage crisis looming in South Africa

South Africa faces a massive water shortage in the near future, but contingency plans are already in place, the SA Local Government Association (Salga) said yesterday.

“New dams are coming because this is a challenge that we are actually experiencing as a country in its totality,” Salga councillor Pinky Moloi said.

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Minister Gordhan: Municipalities must listen to people

Cape Town – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan says his department will up the ante to ensure that local government works more efficiently.

Speaking to SAnews in reaction to President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the National Assembly on Tuesday night, Minister Gordhan said municipalities need to listen to the people more and respond to challenges quicker.

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President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address

It is a great pleasure to address you on this first State of the Nation Address of the fifth democratic administration.Let me begin by extending our deepest condolences on the sad passing of the Secretary of Parliament, Mr Michael Coetzee.

His contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy will never be forgotten.

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Municipalities improve corruption-reporting process

Protection for whistleblowers who report corruption within a municipality has been reinforced, thanks to new regulations that come into effect in July. The new Municipal Regulations on Financial Misconduct Procedures and Criminal Proceedings were gazetted into law on Friday 30 May.

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Amongst the exciting work to be completed soon are two book publications. 

How can we begin to build transit oriented cities? looks at catalytic investment in public transport for achieving dense, inclusive and mixed neighbourhoods. It is concerned with understanding just what it might take to achieve inclusive transit oriented cities that contributes toward the effective spatial restructuring of South African cities. 

From housing to human settlements: A city perspective focusses on the evolution of South Africa’s shelter response from housing to human settlement. The publication explores the particular challenges and opportunities affecting the delivery of sustainable human settlements informed by the role of cities and their ability to give effect to the notion of spatial transformation.