City partners with private investors to transform and revitalise the inner city

A number of projects and programmes aligned to the City's key strategies are underway to revitalise the inner city.

With private investors on board and millions of rands being injected into Johannesburg’s inner city, it could well mean a complete turn-around for the neglected area.

On 8 November Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba and MMC for Development Planning, Funzela Ngobeni, hosted another Inner City Partnership forum. The forum included the Department of Development Planning, city entities and various role players in the private sector, all interested in the revitalisation of the inner city.

Ngobeni said a number of projects and programmes aligned to the City’s key strategies are currently underway. “These projects focus on sustainable growth and investment, sustainable urban management, service delivery and sustainable human settlements.

“There has been a significant improvement [after] a range of initiatives to enhance property investment and promote sustainable place management and urban management institutions [were implemented].”

Ngobeni said there is also an increase in social initiatives such as park upgrades and green space management.

Inner city cross-border shopping incentives

Cross-border shoppers and international visitors to Johannesburg, increase the demand for services, products and good infrastructure. Ngobeni said these are all imperative to economic growth as it attracts jobs and investment in the inner city.

“The Johannesburg Inner City Partnership has also commissioned a writer, researcher, planner and policy developer to conduct research on the scope and nature of cross-border shopping in the Joburg CBD.”

This study has cast a spotlight on how the activity of cross-border shopping operates in the spatial environment and how it operates from the perspective of shoppers and retailers.

Tracking and registering the city’s heritage buildings and properties

Ngobeni said the initiation of the Heritage Register will ensure sufficient information is easily available for potential investors and developers. This will allow them to make informed decisions when purchasing property in the inner city and other parts of Johannesburg, he said.

Urban agriculture initiative

Food security challenges remains an important priority for the City, Ngobeni said. “To begin addressing this… the urban agriculture initiative, a rooftop farm in the inner city [was created]. This initiative has already started creating jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities, youth development and skills development.”

Inner city property development and management advocacy

The Trust for Urban Housing Finance is currently financing entrepreneurs looking to purchase and convert buildings into low-cost housing for residents in the city. The MMC said that, to date, the trust has made investments in the Empire Perth and Knowledge Precinct, Eastern Gateway and the Louis Botha Avenue precinct.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Joburg Today – Inner city revitalisation programme 

Chantelle Fourie

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