Cities die with­out a growth bur­den

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL MOR­RIS

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.

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