Cities die without a growth burden
IN THE decade between 2001 and 2011, Nelson Mandela Bay registered growth of a paltry one percent – in the same period in which Cape Town grew by 30 percent.
The sharply contrasting growth rates between the two cities – which share similar endowments and potential for growth – illustrated the scale of Cape Town’s attraction to people looking for better opportunities, according to mayoral committee member for Human Settlements Benedicta van Minnen.
This meant the urbanisation burden in Cape Town’s case was considerable, but, she added, cities without a growth burden were dying or dysfunctional. Acknowledging growth was critical to managing the challenge.
It meant recognising the city was a constantly evolving urban organisation impervious to inflexible planning or regulations incapable of adapting to how people lived or worked.
“Cape Town changes over time and space, depending on the needs of residents, and you can never escape that. You cannot be static.
“And one of the first signs of success is when the urbanisation rate suddenly increases.”
This meant, however, cities like Cape Town were challenged to adjust planning and other directives to match the shifting dynamics of how people chose to live, what they could or could not afford and how their needs changed.
This was critical to a more dynamic approach to densification in general and backyarder communities in particular.