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How to make SA's inner-cities more inclusive (and crack down on gentrification)

28 October 2016 11:44 AM

Development in areas like Cape Town's Woodstock or Joburg's Maboneng does not have to be at the expense of poorer communities.

Friday Stand-In Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, who is an urbanist and town planner, hosted an on-air panel discussion about how to curb gentrification in South Africa's major metros.

Makalima-Ngewana believes it's vital to ensure that the spaces between the buildings and public spaces in the city centre belong to all citizens who use them.

What is gentrification?

She explains that gentrification often describes the process of renovating and improving an area that is generally considered to be somewhat run-down, leading to an influx of middle-class residents and private sector investors.

Makalima-Ngewana maintains that there are many ways to ensure that Cape Town and other cities are not transformed into gentrified spaces, leaving citizens displaced.

We celebrate the fact that the Cape Town CBD is thriving. But at the same time there's an understanding that a lot of people cant afford to live in the CBD.

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO of the Cape Town Partnership

Although there has been growth and investment in the Cap Town CBD, she says that officials should seek ways to boost inclusivity as well.

Makalima-Ngewana advises that there is a need for economic inclusion,the supporting of the informal sector and promotion of diversity.

Experts weigh in:

At the same time, attorney and author Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar says that development in cities needs to support both economic and social needs.

Gasnola laments that urban areas in South Africa often follow market interests and reinforce apartheid spatial planning as well forced removal, which have marked the country's history.

Activist Aditya Kumar feels that property development markets need to be regulated in order to deter gentrification, which he says in itself, is not anti-development.

Unless the market is regulated by local government it becomes highly difficult to manage the displacement.

Aditya Kumar, Executive Director of the Development Action Group

Meanwhile, property developer Jacques Van Embden says developers, community members and city officials need to collaborate to find creative solutions.

There's a lack of appetite for innovation and interaction between the three main role players. It's a responsibility.

Jacques Van Embden, MD of the Prime Residential Group

Embden says there need to be incentives, rather than penalties, to change the nature of the property marketplace.

Listen to the dynamic panel discussion here:


28 October 2016 11:44 AM

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