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Urban Regeneration Programmes by the City of Cape Town

November 13, 2013

The City of Cape Town established the Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP) in early 2012 with the objective of uplifting areas which had experienced apartheid era under-investment. The particular focus was on improving safety, quality of life, and the socio-economic situation – with an emphasis on the public/shared environment.
 
The rationale of this programme is to introduce a sustainable system of operations and maintenance of public infrastructure and facilities, in partnership with communities, with the immediate objective of stabilising areas and providing a platform for effective public and private investment.
 
These investments would then be articulated in a package of interventions which are negotiated with communities and incorporated into Community Action Plans.
 
In order to achieve the necessary integration of services in the geographic areas identified, Area Coordinating Teams (ACTs) were set up and a Mayoral Sub-committee was established to ensure oversight. This area-based approach is informed by the lessons learnt and best practice of the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading programme which has previously been successfully implemented in Khayelitsha.
 
The areas selected for inclusion in this project were informed by the City’s commitment to redress and overcoming many generations of spatial and economic exclusion. Further, the intention was to help stimulate economic growth, development, and inclusion by selecting areas which are mini-CBDs and that are close to transport corridors. Based on these criteria, the following areas have been incorporated in the roll-out of the MURP:

– Manenberg, Hanover Park, Lotus Park
– Nyanga/Gugulethu
– Bishop Lavis, Valhalla Park, Bonteheuwel
– Harare and Kuyasa interchange precinct
– Bellville transport interchange precinct and Voortrekker Road corridor
– Wesfleur Business node (Atlantis)
– Athlone CBD and Gatesville
– Ocean View
– Mitchells Plain Town Centre
– Macassar
 
The ACTs in each of these areas are responsible for facilitating cooperation between line departments with respect to the following priority areas:

– Operation and maintenance of public buildings and infrastructure, including cleansing
– Safety and security law enforcement operations
– Informal trade management
– Integrated community engagement processes
– Tenant management
 
With these mechanisms in place, the City is confident that we can stop urban decay in the selected areas and create vibrant public spaces in which business and ordinary residents can access economic opportunities in relative safety. 
 
It is important to stress that all improvements made in these areas are the result of extensive community input. This limits the prospects for vandalism and helps to ensure that communities feel that they have ownership over the public facilities that are provided.
 
As a result of these initiatives, there have been a number of successes, including:
 
Harare, Khayelitsha

The Community Action Plan in Harare has identified the main pedestrian route between Khayelitsha Station and Monwabisi Park informal settlement as a strategic investment zone. This includes both government services and economic development opportunities.

Within this zone, 17 capital projects have been implemented to the value of approximately R100 million in partnership with 10 City line departments and three provincial government departments. A number of partnerships have also been secured within this zone where organisations deliver services to the community free of charge.
 
Kuyasa, Khayelitsha

The Kuyasa precinct is situated around the new Kuyasa railway station. In this priority area, the following investments have been targeted:

– Regional library and Subcouncil offices at a cost of R63,4 million, due for completion in April 2015
– Alterations and additions to the Solomon Mahlangu Hall at a cost of R10,5 million, due for completion in February 2014
– Realignment of Walter Sisulu Drive, due to start construction in February 2014 and due for completion in September 2014
– Integration of the MyCiTi bus service to the Kuyasa Station precinct incorporating the required infrastructure upgrading
 
Manenberg/Hanover Park

A Community Action Plan will be completed by February 2014, which will see the full-scale implementation of urban upgrades.

The reconstruction of two schools in Manenberg will commence in early 2014 to the value of R67 million. A further R22,2 million will be spent on upgrading walkways, squares and parks, which will also start in 2014.

A priority has been to stabilise the area to contain violence associated with gang activity. This is a key prerequisite to unlocking the economic and social potential of the area.

The City has implemented the Ceasefire programme since December 2012, where trained violence interrupters have proactively intervened to reduce the number of gang-related killings. The programme has proven to be successful and has led to a significant reduction in gang activity. This programme will now be expanded to include Manenberg.
 
Mitchells Plain Town Centre

The Mitchells Plain Town Centre is an important investment node due to its status as the primary modal interchange and retail centre servicing the south-east of the city.

Therefore improvements in this area will benefit a wide area, including Philippi, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain, Lentegeur, Kapteinsklip and Khayelitsha.
 
The Mitchells Plain Town Centre upgrade has incorporated the following phases which have been completed at an approximate cost of R200 million:

– Construction of taxi rank facilities and a new bus terminus
– Construction of informal trading market facilities
– Trading and public infrastructure within the Old Town Centre area
– A range of facilities/infrastructure for traders, including fish traders, canopies and trader kiosks
– Public space improvements and landscaping
– New road infrastructure and signalised intersections
– New public parking areas

The construction of public buildings including civic offices, community offices, boardrooms, ATMs and public toilets
Construction of a traffic licensing centre
Installation of CCTV cameras
Construction of an additional pedestrian bridge over the rail corridor
 
The regeneration of the area is currently 90% complete and will be finalised, with the following projects under consideration:
The establishment of a City Improvement District to coordinate the management and operations of the CBD

The construction of a road link from the Town Centre to the Promenade across Wespoort Drive

Further upgrading to the Old Town Centre including more trading space

Facilitation of private sector investment through the disposal of vacant commercial land parcels

Facilitating development of the Gateway Site adjacent to the Magistrate’s Court

The design and development of a business and small-scale industrial park and the development of False Bay College on the intersection of Wespoort and AZ Berman Drive
 
These substantial successes are again the result of an area-based approach, grounded in action plans agreed with the community. National Treasury recognised this upgrade as a ‘best practice’ of public investment in the development of a public transport-orientated economic centre. The lessons learned in this area have been used to train municipalities throughout the country.
 
Nyanga/Gugulethu

The Community Action Plan for this area has focused on the following:

Youth Development
·         An AstroTurf sports field at Gugulethu Comprehensive School is due for completion in March 2014
·         NGO and provincial government support for a range of programmes that provide positive experiences for at-risk youths, especially over weekends. For example, the AMANDLA youth programme
Safety and Security
·         The Department of Community Safety, in partnership with the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading initiative and the South African Police Services, is helping to create targeted crime prevention plans
·         Two neighbourhood safety officers are being deployed
Economic development
·         Monthly meetings are being held with economic stakeholders
·         Cape Town Activa is working with small-scale businesses
·         A high street model is being developed
Infrastructure
·         Improvements to public lighting are being planned
·         Improvements to health facilities are under discussion between the City and the Western Cape Government
·         Flood reduction – the City’s Roads and Stormwater Department has a developed a plan for implementation that will help reduce winter flooding
·         Provision of rental space to the local business sector at the Nyanga Junction
·         Synthetic soccer pitches are being developed
 
Athlone CBD

The City is working to restore business confidence in the Athlone CBD, with the City’s Planning and Building Development Management Department leading a redevelopment strategy in consultation with business owners. The ACT has negotiated the following measures to be adopted in the area:

– CCTV cameras are to be installed in the Athlone CBD in the current financial year
– Face-lifts to various buildings have been facilitated
– Continual cleansing operations are undertaken in the CBD
– Regular anti-rodent bait is deployed to deal with the rodent problem
– Four rent-a-cops have been deployed to the Gatesville area
 
Bonteheuwel/Bishop Lavis/Valhalla Park

The ACT has helped facilitate the following improvements:

Bonteheuwel: improved general service provision, such as solid waste management; developed a strong relationship with the Cart Horse Association; and helped develop a park which provided much needed recreation facilities in Netreg.

Valhalla Park: A Family Recreation and Spray Park has been developed; the multi-purpose centre will have palisade fencing and new area lighting will be installed. Pedestrian safety measures are being planned along Angela Road.

A local economic committee has been established under the ACT to help drive economic development.

Bishop Lavis: Street lighting to the value of R4,2 million has been installed; a neighbourhood safety officer and school resource officer have been deployed; solid waste collection has been improved; and a taxi embayment has been developed.
 
Bellville Transport Interchange/Voortrekker Road Corridor

The Bellville ACT is one the most successful ACTs, with active participation from local businesses and the community. Through this ACT, many issues within the area have been resolved, which include some of the following highlights:

– The vandalised and unused toilets at the Bellville Public Transport Interchange are being renovated
10 additional Law Enforcement Officers were appointed and deployed to the Bellville CBD
– The old marriage quarters at the Parow Police Station will be converted into a Municipal Court for diversion sentencing of homeless people
– A door-to-door approach to solid waste collection was enacted, thus contributing to a cleaner CBD with far less waste ending up on pavements
15 problem buildings are currently prioritised for investigation and legal processing
– Informal trading kiosks have been upgraded, with 90 structures handed to informal traders
CCTV cameras to the value of R3 million have been installed in the CBD
– The City is in the process of making six parking areas available
Elizabeth Park has been fenced off in order to ensure it is a safe and clean recreational space, with a project value of R700 000
 
The Bellville ACT has also formed partnerships with the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District and the Greater Tygerberg Partnership, which further serve to facilitate the regeneration of Bellville.
 
Atlantis

The Atlantis ACT has had regular meetings and has secured a number of improvements in the Wesfleur business district. These include:

– 63 additional bins to help keep the area clean
– Police visibility has been increased in the CBD
– Traffic enforcement has proactively sought to ensure that taxis are licensed and roadworthy
– The hardening of an area for informal trading has been completed
Funds have been made available for the upgrade of the Wesfleur Municipal Office
Traffic calming measures will be considered once the IRT system is fully operational next year
 
The City is working with the ACT and the provincial and national governments to ensure the broader economic revival of the area. The City has enacted an incentive policy which is helping to attract significant job-creating growth into Atlantis.
 
Ocean View

Currently the ACT has focused on the following areas:

Problem buildings are being identified and prioritised for legal processing
Four additional law enforcement officers have been deployed in the area
A door-to-door approach to solid waste collection has been initiated, which has helped improve levels of cleanliness

A variety of youth economic empowerment programmes have been initiated, linked to False Bay College
A spray park has been developed
A new contractor has been appointed to clean parks on a weekly basis and all park equipment has been restored
 
Macassar

At this stage the ACT is only in the process of being established.
 
In the majority of areas it is clear that the MURP is bringing about real and practical improvements. In turn, these improvements have served to stabilise these areas and this will in time help to attract private investment and in so doing help drive much needed job creation. The City will continue to prioritise the MURP in order to ensure that we make these areas the safe, productive, clean and vibrant parts of Cape Town that they deserve to be.

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