n South African Geographical Journal = Suid-Afrikaanse Geografiese Tydskrif - Stadium upgrades as local economic development : the fallacy of the Ellis Park Sports Precinct upgrade as LED

Volume 93, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0373-6245
  • E-ISSN: 2151-2418
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Local economic development (LED) has been heralded as a key mechanism for local area development, with LED strategy being lauded as a tool for urban renewal and regeneration with billions of rands being used to improve the Johannesburg inner city under the auspices of LED. The LED process in Johannesburg seeks to combine local governments and community-based groups committed to finding sustainable ways to meet their social, economic and material needs, and thus improve the quality of their lives. In the South African context, this process has been linked to alleviating the spatial planning of apartheid and the post-apartheid dereliction of the Johannesburg inner city. With the awarding of the soccer World Cup in 2010, there was a pressing need to address stadium upgrade, both within the stadia and in the surrounding area. The Ellis Park Sports Precinct, already designated as a LED project, received a boost of R 2081 billion to upgrade the area for the world cup. This upgrade was conducted under the guise of LED. The reason for this assertion is that LED very often does not deliver the admirable claim of economic development. In the case of the Ellis Park Sports Precinct, the upgrade has not enhanced the area for the local residents or office workers. The precinct has become a simple transient space for sports events, whereas between games and events the space reverts back to its marginalised urban existence. This paper aims to explore the role of LED as a tool for urban renewal and how the diversion of funds to the Ellis Park Sports Precinct neither enhanced the space for the everyday users nor fulfilled the objectives of an LED project in the inner city of Johannesburg.

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