Abbreviations and Acronyms ABMF
Area-Based Management Framework
Bus Rapid Transit
Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa
City Improvement District
Corridors of Freedom
City of Johannesburg
Growth Management Strategy
Johannesburg Development Agency
Inner City Housing Implementation Plan
Real Estate Investment Trust
Strategic Area Framework
South African Property Owners Association
Spatial Development Framework
Special Development Zone
INTRODUCTION Johannesburg’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) initiative serves as a stage for urban governance dynamics to play out between the public sector, private sector and civil society, as the city seeks to radically transform. The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) has committed itself to creating a ‘guided’ enabling environment for the private sector, as they attempt to direct investment into areas not part of existing mainstream investment trends. Striking the fine balance between maintaining the public good, pursuing a developmental agenda and encouraging private sector investment will be a test for the City administration. As officials and politicians strive to reconstitute the apartheid city spatially, they have accentuated the role the private property development sector will play in the transformation process.1 In pursuit of a new integrating vision, the CoJ must be clear of its own role. It must be more than just an enabler, and also a facilitator, regulator and developer in its own right (drawn from Barke and Clarke 2016: 163). The City needs to negotiate its role carefully and be circumspect in the control it is giving over in order to generate required results. Although the Corridors of Freedom (COF) project has been widely commended for its developmental imperatives; these imperatives must be maintained throughout negotiations to ensure that economic and social objectives are realised, and that the City does not become the mediator of developer interests to the detriment of other city residents. In the broader context, TOD policies are being generated in a milieu in which the relationship between the property development sector and public sector can be uncertain and contested. Questions of trust go both ways, with historical animosity in some contexts. Property developers have played a role in perpetuating apartheid spatial patterns: trends in township applications see the spread outwards of settlements which are using up the limited open land in the city; there are new developments in the north which counter the strategic objectives of the City’s Spatial Development Framework (SDF) (Weakley 2016); and private enclaves are becoming a regular feature of the urban landscape. At the same time, the City has long frustrated developers with its inefficiencies. In the midst of these trends, the COF have emerged as an attempt to counter the historical spatial developments of Johannesburg. The TOD initiative thrusts the relationship between City
Transit corridors & the private sector
1 The critiques of CoJ urban development policies since the 2000s have highlighted the neoliberal policies followed by the City in pursuit of property development. See Mosselson (2016) for an overview of these critiques.
officials and private sector developers into full gaze as the CoJ acknowledges that it needs the private sector to invest in TOD to make it workable. Historically, the CoJ has had a limited impact on managing productive relationships with the property sector. The research done for the COF is attempting to shift this trend in preparation for the rollout of the Corridors. An effective conversation between developers and City governments can be undermined by an unsophisticated binary explanation of their relationship. Developers are mostly construed as ‘bad’ and City governments as ‘ineffective’, thereby shutting down any discussion before it even begins. Yet if one speaks directly to city planners and city developers there is often a willingness to engage and collaborate. Building this collaborative effort is crucial to realising the vision of the COF. As Zellner and Campbell argue: “fluid decisions made today solidify into the fixed built environment of tomorrow,which in turn shapes into a new generation of interactions” (2015: 458). Understanding the far-reaching impact of development decisions of today on the future urban form is fundamental to structuring the spatially efficient, equal and developmental Johannesburg of tomorrow. The City, developers and residents all have a role to play in shaping the city, with each integral to the city’s efficient functioning. While much of the academic literature argues that the CoJ has handed over power to the private sector, it is questionable if this is a universal truth. However it is a cautionary note that City planners need to contemplate when seeking partnerships.
Transit corridors & the private sector
Published on Aug 2, 2017
Part of the Spatial Transformation through Transit-Oriented Development in Johannesburg research series. Published by the South African Rese...