THE PRACTICE GROUP BLOG

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

Rapid Urbanisation Poses Urban Development Challenges in Gauteng

The rapid urbanisation of South African cities is especially challenging for professionals responsible for the planning of urban development in Gauteng. According to the United Nations Habitat Report, it is estimated that by 2050, more than 1,2 billion people will live in urban areas across the African continent, as opposed to the current estimated 400 million urban dwellers in Africa’s cities. Johannesburg, in Gauteng, is one of the 52 cities on the continent boasting a population of more than one million residents. It is estimated that more than 66% of South Africans already live in urban areas. As the smallest and most densely populated province in South Africa, Gauteng bears the brunt of urbanisation. With a population of around four million people, Johannesburg, especially, faces various urban development challenges. A significant number of people in Gauteng have migrated from places such as Sasolburg, Rustenburg, and Potchefstroom to Gauteng in search of jobs and better living opportunities over the past two decades. People also move towards the urban areas in the province to be closer to services. In 2007, the three metros of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni already had a population of more than 8,9 million people according to Stats SA 2007. It is expected that rapid urbanisation in Gauteng will continue in future. According to the information from the 2001 SA Census, Gauteng was home to more than 12,2 million residents at that stage. With the rapid increase in the province’s population, it is essential to address challenges regarding urban development in Gauteng, in order to ensure sustainability of the province. Why the Large Population? Reasons for the high... read more

The Roles and Functions of Town Planners in Gauteng

Town planners in Gauteng operate within the urban and regional planning profession. They focus on making the towns and cities of Gauteng economically, socially, and environmentally viable. The town planners in Gauteng work with local government in the analysis and research of how to improve towns and add new features to the urban areas. They collect relevant data, analyse such, and make recommendations based on their research and analysis to the local officials regarding the balanced and sustainable development of their urban areas. It is important to understand that town planners in Gauteng also provide town planning services to individuals, companies, and non-profit organisations, as well as local government. The profession forms an integral part of urban development. Town planners work with other professionals, such as engineers, architects, environmental consultants, developers, attorneys, land surveyors, quantity surveyors, and project managers, whether for the development of residential estates, sub-division or consolidation of land, or large transport development projects. The role of the town planner is to connect skills and action in such a way so as to ensure the best development and use of land for public and private good. The town planners of The Practice Group in Gauteng have expertise on a wide range of topics. They are qualified and registered with the relevant professional bodies, and they are called upon to recommend policy guidelines for housing, land use management, development design of recreational spaces, planning of transport routes, and more. They conduct research and compile reports on issues related to the use of land and what impact it has on communities and the environment. They review development proposals to... read more

Integrated Development Planning

What is Integrated Development Planning and Why is it Important in South Africa? Integrated development planning is an approach followed by South African local municipalities to plan development in their specific areas. It is a new approach specifically developed to address the problems associated with towns and cities which were developed prior to 1994. Problems with the older development approaches are thus addressed through integrated development planning. The towns and cities of old were racially divided, and planning did not cater for the socio-economic needs of the poorer communities. The poorer sections of the population had to travel long distances to get to their places of work and had limited access to essential business services. There were also discrepancies in the levels of services delivered to the more affluent and poorer areas. Informal settlements developed sporadically during the period just after 1994. A new approach was needed to ensure that the future towns and cities of South Africa would accommodate the needs of the poorer communities as well. Integrated development planning is the new approach followed by municipalities to achieve the objective. With the new approach, the rural areas also receive essential services, in order to overcome the lack of such experienced in the past. Part of integrated development planning is the creation of a master plan called the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the long-term development goals of the municipalities. The plan aims to facilitate coordination between the various divisions and levels of government, in order to create a coherent plan for improvement of the quality of living for all residents in a particular municipal area. Integrated development... read more

Due Diligence Investigations

How Due Diligence Investigations Help You to Avoid Property Investment and Development Mistakes Whether you want to buy property with the purpose of developing it into a residential estate, a holiday resort, industrial precinct, or a hotel, you will benefit from making use of town planners to conduct due diligence investigations. Likewise, whether you want to build a community shopping centre, a private school, hockey college, or develop the land for daytime recreational activities, due diligence investigations will help you determine whether the property can be developed for the particular purpose. The due diligence investigations are particularly valuable if conducted prior to purchasing a piece of property, as such help to identify risks and opportunities associated with the particular property and purchase transaction. Whether you are an individual, part of a property consortium, first-time or experienced developer, or perhaps a consultant, you will benefit from the due diligence investigations performed by town planners. If you represent a property investment group, you will also benefit, as the town planners can perform due diligence investigations on all or selected properties in your portfolio to determine risks, opportunities, value, and potential. Armed with the information, you will be able to make informed decisions regarding the future of the properties. The investigations prior to purchase are conducted to determine compliance levels, before you have to commit to the property purchase. Indeed, the purchase offer can be made subject to a full due diligence investigation to determine whether the property meets your particular development requirements. Such investigations are also helpful in assessing which problems to address, and how long it will take to have... read more

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