EBANDLA

KZN Successful  Alumni 

Developing and regenerating Durban’s inner City

EThekwini Municipality continues to find ways to develop and regenerate Durban’s inner city.

A Local Area Plan has been developed with the vision  that Durban will be Africa’s leading, most vibrant, liveable, and walkable city centre providing economic, residential, sporting and leisure opportunities for all by 2040. The nine districts covered by this plan include the Point, Albert Park, Warwick Junction, Greyville, Victoria Embankment, Beachfront, Greater Kings Park Umngeni Corridor and the Central Business District (CBD).

The need to the focus on the inner city is a response to the growing number of youth living in urban areas.  This increasing population is a reaction to the current economic crisis related to falling economic growth, jobless growth, and increasing unemployment. Metros offer the greatest possibility of employment whereas rural areas have limited possibilities.

However, the largely jobless growth is resulting in an inner city that is characterised by crime, grime, abandoned and invaded buildings, and migration of businesses out of the area, traffic congestion and a lack of public transport.

The regeneration of the inner city has the potential to provide access to employment, reduce transport costs and make a range of housing opportunities available.

Three main drivers of regeneration have been identified, these are:

•       A functioning property market – releasing underutilised land for development that will  increase property value and generate confidence in the City

•       An efficient capital market – attracting investment; and

•       A growth centric labour market – delivering jobs by matching the skills profiles of the inner city economic activities and inner city users.

While Durban has a range of economic sectors,  it is also seeing an economic  shift from manufacturing to financial services, wholesale and retail trade, and community services.  In addition, there is a need to acknowledge the role of the informal economy and accommodate its effective function through surveillance, activation of space, and improved informal trade management. 

The Local Area Plan has identified four spatial principles. These are:

•       Making connections  Overcome segregation by making the city more accessible.

•       A walkable city – Land-use intensity should be  based on a walkable structure rather than land use planning

•       An integrated, inclusive cityIt is necessary to create a network of diverse neighbourhoods with easy access to employment and all social facilities.

•       Realising and unlocking the potential – Regeneration and expansion of  both small and massive public facilities is required.

The current network of parks, streets and open space require some upgrading and ongoing urban management based on an overall framework and accompanied by a sustainable management plan. Walkable neighbourhoods mean that amenities are closer.

In order to create a walkable city it is necessary to make pedestrians and cycles a priority. This will result in some streets being redesigned providing less space for vehicles. More space for people; walking, trading, pausing, socialising and enjoying, alongside cycle lanes and public transport will be developed. The upgrades will provide wider, shaded attractive sidewalks and a more pleasant street experience. Currently movement modelling is in progress in order to test which streets should be redesigned.

Apart from a focus on streets and new road links, the following projects have been identified: Warwick, Centrum site and the Point, which would have a catalytic effect on surrounding areas.

Comments or feedback are invited email  InnerCity@durban.gov.za