Long commute to freedom

2016-06-22 10:30
Apartheid city planning hasn’t ended quickly enough, which means black South Africans still spend too much time and money travelling to work because they live on the outskirts of cities

There has been progress...

The University of Pretoria’s Professor Karina Landman cites the Brickfield development in Newtown, Johannesburg; Cosmo City, in the northern parts of the city; and Pennyville and Fleurhof outside Soweto, as well as Olievenhoutbosch in Centurion and the redevelopment of Alexandra, as successful models of spatial planning and densification. 

A successful development should incorporate medium-density and mixed housing, and be close to economic opportunities.

“Olievenhoutbosch was a good attempt and a good model. There is density, there is mixed housing, and there are schools, a mall and working opportunities where people live. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to develop and it took too many partnerships to get it going.”

While Stats SA’s Pali Lehohla is critical of Cosmo City, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, the spokesperson for the department of human settlements, lauds it as a good example of spatial planning.

“People there walk to work in Randburg and Lanseria. There are more than 70 businesses, schools and other facilities there, and there is density and mix-use developments. The place has developed into a town of its own,” Lehohla says.

He says all cities now have social-housing companies to transform derelict buildings into cheap accommodation for the working class.

Stephan Krygsman, associate professor of transport economics at the University of Stellenbosch, says the focus should be on “building better, attractive and accessible cities because they are the generators of wealth”.

“You have to create nodes of high-density residential areas and then focus all sorts of developments on those nodes. At the moment, bus services such as MyCiTi in Cape Town, Rea Vaya in Johannesburg and A Re Yeng in Tshwane will have to be heavily subsidised because the respective cities don’t have enough density to make them self-sustainable.”

Smart authorities, he said, would have created a central business district in Soweto, and relocated government departments and the legislature there.

“This would have created countertraffic because, at the moment, everyone drives out of Soweto to town and to Sandton, which creates congestion. And congestion is expensive for business. We really need to move away from providing houses, and build cities.”
– Sipho Masondo 

The National Household Travel Survey is conducted for the purposes of getting an “in-depth understanding of how and why people travel”

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February 18 2018