World Cities Day 2022

31 October

The United Nations has designated every 31st of October as World Cities Day. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community's interest in global urbanisation, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanisation, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

The general theme of World Cities Day is Better City, Better Life, while each year a different sub-theme is selected, to either promote successes of urbanization, or address specific challenges resulting from urbanization.

South African government, through the Department of Cooperative Governance's Intergrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) is paving a new deal for South African cities and towns.

The IUDF builds on the National Development Plan and its vision for urban South Africa. The National Development Plan (NDP) places 'transforming human settlements and the national space economy' at its centre. By 2030 SA should see reviving rural areas and creating more integrated, balanced and vibrant urban settlements.

To achieve this the country must clarify and relentlessly pursue a national vision for spatial development. We must sharpen the instruments to achieve this vision and build the required capabilities in the state and among citizens.

The IUDF aims to guide development of inclusive, resilient and liveable urban settlements.

It provides a new approach to urban investment by the developmental state, guiding the private sector and households.

Vision: Live-able, safe, efficient cities - socially integrated, economically inclusive and residents participate actively in urban life.

IUDF vision recognises that SA has different types of cities and towns, which have different roles and requirements. IUDF vision must be interpreted and pursued in differentiated and locally relevant ways.

To achieve this vision, four strategic goals are introduced: Access, growth, governance and spatial transformation.

Access: To ensure people have access to social and economic services, opportunities and choices. Growth: To harness urban dynamism for inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development.

Governance: To enhance the capacity of the state and its citizens to work together to achieve social integration. Spatial transformation: To forge new spatial forms in settlement, transport, social and economic areas.

Implementing these goals requires 8 policy levers that are premised on an understanding that:

  •  spatial planning forms the basis for achieving integrated urban development.
  •  integrated transport informs
  •  targeted investments into integrated human settlements, underpinned by,
  •  integrated infrastructure systems and
  •  efficient land governance, which jointly can trigger
  •  economic diversification and inclusion, and
  •  empowered communities, which will demand
  •  deep governance reform to enable and sustain the above.

The IUDF policy levers address in combination all of the structural drivers that promote the status quo.

Integrated spatial planning is essential for coherent development - a more rational organisation and use of urban spaces. We must guide investments and encourage prudent use of land and natural resources to build sustainable communities.

Integrated transport and mobility is a vital component of South Africa's economic infrastructure investment. Integrated transport contributes to denser and more efficient urban form, economic and social development, and strengthens rural-urban links.

Integrated human settlements are key to redressing apartheid geography, restructuring cities, shifting ownership profiles. We need to create more humane, environment-friendly, safe living and working conditions.

Integrated urban infrastructure must be resource efficient and provide for universal access and more inclusive economic growth. Urban infrastructure must be strong enough to meet industrial, commercial and household needs. Urban infrastructure must support an efficient and equitable urban form and facilitate access to social and economic opportunities.

Municipalities and private investors have a vested interest in land value remaining stable and increasing. But property values reflect apartheid spatial patterns and mono-functional use - this must change to promote spatial transformation. Efficient land governance and management will contribute to the growth of inclusive and multi-functional urban spaces.

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