This article focuses on a community-development programme (case study) in Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats, viz. 'No Messing in Bonteheuwel'. In a period of just over a decade, this community has transitioned from a degraded natural, built and social environment to one where the community have cohered to realise a vision of a place of which they are currently proud. This case study adds to the understanding of sustainable community development, by tracing the transition from a vicious to a virtuous cycle of community development. The development of social capital within the community, coupled with the development of partnerships and the building of trust with local government, have been identified as key ingredients in this transition. The benefits derived from the current virtuous cycle for the Bonteheuwel community as well as local government are demonstrated. This article contributes towards the understanding of how to foster sustainable communities, and is, therefore, of relevance to local governments and policy-makers.
Despite rapid advances and sizeable middle-class formation in many African countries, development planning is still frustrated by the absence of reliable, relevant and up-to-date data. Even though South Africa is in a more fortunate position with regard to the availability of such data, it also has data gaps, notably with regard to informal economic activities in the rural areas of the country. This exploratory article engages the use of proxy indicators to provide cues as to the state of a local economy. The article explores the relationship between a number of potential proxy indicators and the national economy in order to identify those proxy indicators that mirror the national economy. An interview approach was used to test the identified indicators in three small towns in order to establish whether the nationally determined proxies reflect economic trends in practice. The six proxy indicators that closely mirrored the local economies of the three sampled towns represent a modest, introductory exploration of an area worthy of far more empirical research.
Medium-density mixed-housing is promoted in various countries as a means toward creating more sustainable settlements. It does, however, require residents to live closer to their neighbours, share outdoor spaces, and be more neighbourly than what may typically be required in lower density suburban neighbourhoods. Yet, how important are outdoor design and neighbourliness for the success of medium-density mixed-housing in a South African context? This article examines the perceived importance of a number of outdoor design and neighbourliness factors from the point of view of residents living in such developments in South Africa. A survey of 300 residents across 10 developments reveals the importance of both outdoor design and neighbourliness, particularly if children, women, and older residents are involved. Planners and designers should, therefore, include sufficient private and common outdoor spaces to address the needs of residents and to promote neighbourliness and consequently the social acceptability of this type of housing in South Africa.
Despite the urgent need for local economic development in South Africa, Local Economic Development (LED) as area of professional endeavour/activity has largely failed to live up to this need. In this article, an alternative approach to local economic development, which involved a 'bottom-up' approach to urban renewal is explored. The urban renewal work of the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality is used as a case study of a 'successful example of an LED-initiative'. By taking into account the needs of the customer (or local community), a respect for difference, a conscious drive to ensure participation of, and benefit for all affected parties, keeping the eye on the ball, a desire to learn and innovate, and a pragmatic action-orientation, the MBDA achieved success in its local economic development initiatives. The value of this article lies in the experience of lessons learned, the overall understanding of urban planning, and the necessity for urban planning to respond to the local economy of a particular city.