THE PRACTICE GROUP BLOG

Town Development Planning

Challenges for Town Development Planners in South Africa Town development planning entails control over the current development and new developments, in addition to the strategic plan for the management of resources to meet the community’s future needs. It is a dynamic process that changes, as the community’s town development needs change. Town planners play an integral role in town development planning, as they draft the strategies and work closely with communities to ensure a balance in the human, socio-economic, and environmental development of an area. They must consider cultural influences, environmental health, human health, community needs, economic viability, and overall quality of life when they perform town development planning activities. The idea is to develop the urban landscapes in the correct relation to the size of the population, thus ensuring that the various needs of the communities can be met. As town development planning cannot be done in isolation, the town planners work closely with other professionals, such as land surveyors, quantity surveyors, engineers, developers, environmental specialists, lawyers, economists, architects, and politicians. Urban areas are rarely designed from scratch, as most of the towns and cities in the country have already been established. One of the challenges that town development planning professionals face is to address changing community needs in towns and cities developed in the past for societies of the past. Rapid urbanisation today has brought new challenges. The influx of people from other countries in the world in the hope to make a living in the cities has also brought about challenges. Water resources and supply services in various cities in South Africa are simply not sufficient... read more

Integrated Development Plan

What Is the Integrated Development Plan? An Integrated Development Plan, also known as an IDP, is a five-year plan used to identify the development needs of a particular municipality. It is drafted by the local government. All projects in the Integrated Development Plan must be completed with the municipality’s budget. The Integrated Development Plan is reviewed every year to make provision for changes that have taken place during the 12 months prior to review and to ensure that the plan can be adapted to ensure that the municipality stays on course in achieving the objectives of the five-year plan. The annual review is also necessary to establish the relevancy of projects. Some projects may no longer be viable and must then be scraped from the IDP. The priorities of projects are also set during the annual review process. The annual review is concluded after full public participation has been achieved. The process provides citizens with the opportunities to object to developments and to bring attention to developmental needs that they feel should receive priority. The municipality has a limited budget and as such, not every priority project can form part of the Integrated Development Plan. To cater for important projects for which funds are simply not available in the budget, the wards receive specific amounts that must be spent in their wards to address the developmental needs in their specific communities. Public participation is important and the citizens also have opportunities to participate by means of communication through ward councillors and committees. To understand the role and importance of the IDP, one has to understand what is seen as... read more

Town Planning

What is the Role of Town Planning in the Development of Sustainable Urban Areas? The recent drought experienced across large parts of South Africa has once again highlighted the importance of responsible resource management. Town planning plays an integral role in ensuring the best usage of the available water resources, adequate sewage systems, storm water drainage, energy infrastructure development, and communication networks. Failure on the front of resource management and planning can lead to dissatisfaction for a large part of the population of a city. One cannot ignore the concerns related to clean air, potable water, population density management in specific areas of the urban area, and socio-economic needs of the urban area’s population. To ensure that the cities of South Africa can handle the rapid growing population of city dwellers, it is essential to involve various town planning experts. Sustainable town planning entails planning to ensure sustainable development and as such, development that ensures that the needs of communities of present are met without negatively affecting the future generation’s ability to meet their needs in future. Such town planning is not done in isolation of other professions. Indeed, collaboration amongst professionals such as architects, town and urban planners, scientists, engineers, biologists, and environmental specialists is essential to ensure that the objectives of sustainability can be reached. Governments, NGOs, and the local governments must also be involved and in support of such town planning to ensure that the sustainable development goals can be reached. Practical approaches must be followed regarding resource usage, human settlements, land use management, and more. Green building codes must be in place and private sector... read more

Strategic and Integrated Spatial Planning

The Smart Approach in Urban Design Forming Part of Strategic and Integrated Spatial Planning The world is changing fast. Issues such as climate change, rapid urbanisation across the globe, water scarcity, shortage of housing, immigrants, and shifting populations are all factors that must be considered in strategic and integrated spatial planning. Strategic and integrated spatial planning takes place at the upper levels of land use management planning. However, at the ground level, urban planning must be done in consideration of the broader strategic and integrated spatial planning goals on national level. To effectively address the changing urban landscape and needs of its dwellers, it is essential to balance the various environmental, political, social, technological, and economic inputs. It cannot be done without a clear long-term vision, the financial support of private and government role players, and exceptionally strong leadership. It has become important to adopt a smart approach regarding urban planning as part of strategic and integrated spatial planning. City planners and leaders should collaborate to ensure that best practices are followed in city planning. Part of this process entails using the technology available to put the needs of the people first. Design plays an integral role in the improvement of cities. The increase in land invasions and protests about affordable housing closer to work in South Africa are examples of how decisions related to strategic and integrated spatial planning from the past can affect the current and future wellbeing of residents in such cities. The central parts of Cape Town, for instance, become extremely expensive to live in. The job opportunities are closer to the city centre, but... read more

Urban Planning

Key Factors to Consider in Modern Urban Planning If you have ever driven in Cape Town along its many highways, you would have realised that extensive planning must have gone into the design of the city’s road infrastructure. Getting from one point to another in any city can be challenging if the road infrastructure planning has not been done with the long-term development of the city in mind. Urban planning plays an important role in making it possible for urban dwellers to get to and from work, navigate from one area to another and make use of public transport. Urban planning entails extensive coordination and collaboration between the urban planners, the local government, private sector stakeholders, and the public to determine the needs of specific areas. With more than 50% of the global population already urbanised, it goes without saying that urban planning must be done to address the service delivery, transportation, relaxation, environmental protection, safety, and security needs of the urban residents. Rapid urbanisation over the past two decades in South Africa has brought about challenges such as ensuring waste disposal, energy supply, clean water supply, storm water drainage, road infrastructure, public transportation, education, religious places of worship, medical facilities, work places, and housing to meet the demands for such. Below are important factors that must be considered in modern urban planning if the above is to be addressed with sustainability in mind. Surrounding Environment Any addition or changes in urban space should be done with due consideration of the particular area’s environment, including the physical, social, and economic environment of the communities occupying the space. The urban... read more

Strategic Development Planning

The Importance of Strategic Urban Development Planning Focused on Sustainability Strategic development planning, as related to urban planning, entails the clarification of the most appropriate urban model in order to reach developmental goals. It is not just a government initiative. Instead, it is a coordinated effort between private and public sectors to ensure that the urban model meets the requirements for energy, environmental protection, sustainability, and the improvement of the living conditions of the residents in the particular urban environment. On a national level, strategic development planning focuses on the overall model and framework for land use management, in order to achieve the goals of sustainability, economic viability, environmental protection, and the improvement of the living conditions of the country’s citizens. Modern strategic development planning entails a public process and is not simply a top-down approach. South Africa forms part of the larger global development framework. Within South Africa, each of the cities must be developed in such a way so as to address the environmental impact of urban development. There is a growing trend internationally to move from only focusing on the individual city facilities to a strategic development planning approach that focuses on sustainable development. In turn, sustainable development is connected to the need for modernising cities to ensure comfort, economic growth, and environmental sustainability. With sustainability as the focus in strategic development planning for cities, it is possible to improve the environmental quality of the affected areas. Such development strategies should form the basis of modern architectural planning and the design transportation routes. Indeed, globalisation has been the main influence in urban design over the past... read more

Advocacy Town Planning

What is the Relevancy of Advocacy Town Planning? The origin of advocacy town planning can be traced back to Paul Davidoff during the sixties. He is credited with the town planning theory in which town planners are focused on representing the planning interests of specific segments in a society. He believed that advocacy town planning was required to ensure that the interests of low-income groups could also be addressed, instead of just the planning requirements of large and powerful corporations and institutions. He realised that the more powerful stakeholders were well represented in the planning processes of cities and regions. The lower income groups were vulnerable and their interests were put aside to ensure that the interests of public institutions and large private enterprises could be pushed. This left the lower income groups vulnerable and they had very little say in how the development of the cities and spaces they lived in should be done. With advocacy town planning, the focus is on town planning with the interests of all stakeholders in mind, inclusive of the interests of all communities affected by the development plans. What Does It Mean in Practice? It simply means that there is more balance in the town planning. The communities affected by the plans are involved in the various planning processes. Advocacy town planning professionals as such represent vulnerable groups or segments of society to ensure that their interests are also taken into account in city planning endeavours. These professionals produce relevant plans and submit such to planning commissions to consider the advantages and disadvantages of all the plans produced by the various advocacy... read more

Development Planning

Brief Look at the Past Development Planning Challenges of Africa Development planning plays an important part in the fast tracking and realisation of a country’s development targets. Development planning is an extensive enterprise covering all sectors of the economy. In essence, development planning entails the creation of well-researched plans, which provide for prioritising of the various activities based on the available resources. A national development plan is created for the proper utilisation of available scarce resources in the country to achieve the planning objectives. Challenges in Africa Development planning in Africa has changed over time, but during the sixties, when the majority of countries on the continent had national development plans, the plans were focused on central planning that entailed the use of five-year plans. Multilateral agencies assisted in the preparation of the national development plans, which were quite extensive. The focus was to bring about development of the various economies to address issues such as poverty and inequality. Lack of ownership regarding the development planning meant a lack of civic and leadership support for the development process. During those years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank played integral roles in the development planning of the countries. The focus was on free-market economic development with the lowest possible involvement of the governments and maximum input from the private sectors. The understanding was that the governments of the various African countries did not have the required information and expertise to ensure informed decision making regarding economic development. The perspective at that stage was that the public would naturally benefit from what was economically beneficial to business. The... read more

Town Planning Consultants in Pretoria

How Town Planning Consultants in Pretoria Can Help You Town planning consultants in Pretoria assist clients who want to sub-divide their property with the purpose of selling one portion of the property to another party. The town planning consultants, such as The Practice Group, also assist clients in Pretoria who want to have their property rezoned from residential to commercial. Rezoning and sub-dividing take time and specific procedures must be followed. For one, the application must be submitted to the local authority in Pretoria. Approval or rejection can take anything from eight weeks to 24 months. Many property owners do not have the luxury of time, but it is essential to understand that the process cannot be done overnight. However, with the help of town planning consultants in Pretoria, property owners who want to sub-divide, apply for rezoning, or consolidate land can avoid costly pitfalls regarding the application processes. The applications for rezoning, sub-division, or land consolidation are also complex. Various documents must be submitted, and fees must be paid on time. Although property owners can handle the applications without making use of town planning consultants in Pretoria, they often soon realise that they do not understand all the requirements and procedures. They often have to approach various professionals, such as land surveyors, engineers and architects, and environmental consultants, and must deal with notices to be published. Coordinating the entire process takes expertise and time. Most property owners simply do not have one or both regarding town planning. Town planning consultants in Pretoria advise their clients regarding all documents required, the viability of the sub-division, the potential for success... read more

Town Planning Companies

What Town Planning Companies Do for Property Owners in South Africa Town planning companies work with developers, individuals, municipalities, and spatial development committees. Not many people realise how important town planning companies are when it comes to services related to individual property owners. It is only when they want to rezone property or have trouble with neighbours about property boundaries or aspects regarding storm water drainage that they realise they need the expertise offered by town planning companies. To help people understand the value of town planning companies, also on smaller scale projects, we briefly look at the role of the town planner regarding individual properties. For one, the town planner helps the property owner to remove restrictions regarding building and development of the property. The town planning team from one of the town planning companies, such as The Practice Group, performs functions such as collecting and assessing information related to a particular piece of property, and based on the results of the analysis, advises the property owner on the best path to follow to have restrictions removed, to allow for optimal use of the property according to the property owner’s goals. Town planning companies, furthermore, perform duties such as compiling applications and managing these on behalf the property. They do so in accordance with the regulations for applications and procedures contained in various acts, the relevant town planning schemes, and ordinances. Part of the compilation and management of application processes entails the coordination of other professionals, such as land surveyors, environmental consultants, architects, and engineers. The town planning companies also provide advice and services regarding specific topics. These... read more

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