Modern town and regional planning initiatives focus on addressing the changing demographics of South Africa, the need for sustainability, and the improvement in life quality. Some of the latest trends, which influence modern urban (town) and regional planning, are briefly discussed below.
Many Things, One Place
We have grown accustomed to large wholesale to public service providers where you can buy anything from electronics to food under one roof. Speciality stores had to make way for all-in-one supermarkets for a while and then resurfaced. However, many of the smaller speciality stores now combine services and offerings. This trend is expected to stay. An example is a barbershop that offers a pub facility or a bakery that combines selling of delectable desserts with cake dining, tea tastings and arts where people paint their own teacups. Town and regional planning experts take note of the trend, whilst municipal authorities must revisit their business licensing policies and regulations to make provision for fusion of services and businesses, such as places where you can enjoy beverages while your car is being serviced or your dog is being groomed.
Old Buildings Get Facelifts
A sure positive of modern town and regional planning is the focus on inner-city space revival. A wise man once said something to the effect that a city without old buildings is like an old man without memories. This must have rung a bell or two in the town and regional planning corners, as we see more and more buildings being revamped to bring them into the modern age without losing their historical character and value. Many of the old public buildings gain new function, but some of their historical characteristics stay in place, ensuring that the memory of old is not lost. In this way, historical and beautiful buildings can remain part of the modern city landscape.
Public Spaces Become Playgrounds
Augmented reality in the form of urban games where citizens follow clues on their mobile devices to find landmarks, so-called fictional characters such as zombies, and other players are making in-roads in the urban societies of South Africa. This is especially true in Cape Town where public spaces have become playgrounds for the hip and youthful. With such in mind, more public spaces are in the pipeline, but far from the dangerous parks of the past where criminals lurked, the new public spaces are expected to include anything from giant board games on the grass to fountains and family gathering spots. Town and regional planning consultants are to consider the latest trends when planning such urban spaces.
Traffic Congestion Solutions
Cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg rank high amongst the most congested cities in the country, with Cape Town even ranking amongst the top 60 in the world. People spend far too much time in traffic daily. The hours behind the wheel can be used for relaxation or something more constructive. With that in mind, town and regional planning experts work together to create more spaces for walking and cycling, while also working on mass and rapid transport systems. With the above in place, the need to use passenger vehicles will reduce and traffic congestion problems will eventually become something of the past.
Also addressing the traffic problem is the focus on creating spaces where people live, worship, study, work and play all within close proximity to each other. Integrated transport networks are developed to connect the various nodes, enabling people from one node to get to another, still without the need for using their own vehicles. This will also help to reduce travel costs and to minimise the carbon footprint of fossil fuel-based passenger vehicles.
Demand for More Affordable Housing
Security and lifestyle estates are often associated with the affluent, while the middle and lower-income earners struggle to find affordable rental spaces. Town and regional planning must be done with the need for more affordable housing in mind. Instead of the poorer communities marginalised on the outskirts of the cities, far from their places of work and play, mixed-income housing projects are considered. This will help to blur the extreme divide between the upper-middle-income earners and the lower-income earners.
For more information on town and regional planning, contact our team at The Practice Group today.