UN agency invests R120m in Corridors of Freedom

The JDA meets the Mayor's delegationExecutive Mayor Parks Tau and GEF chief executive Naoko Ishii - Japan's former deputy vice minister of finance - are met at Westbury Station by JDA development manager Siyabonga Genu (left) and JDA chief executive Thanduxolo Mendrew (second from left). (Photo by Elias Nkabinde)

Rea Vaya's Westbury Station received a visit from a high-level Mayoral delegation on Tuesday, 9 February. The JDA was on hand to show officials and their guests around its latest developments in Westbury precinct.

Executive Mayor Parks Tau and JDA chief executive Thanduxolo Mendrew chat with an engineering internExecutive Mayor Parks Tau and JDA chief executive Thanduxolo Mendrew chat with an engineering intern working on the new pedestrian bridge being built near Westbury Station. (Photo by Rudo Mungoshi)United Nations agency the Global Environment Fund (GEF) is to invest more than R120-million in Johannesburg's emerging Corridors of Freedom, signalling a major vote of confidence in the City's transformative spatial redesign programme.

Announcing the investment at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein on Tuesday, 9 February, Executive Mayor Parks Tau said the Joburg Growth and Development Strategy 2040 committed the City "to providing a resilient, liveable, sustainable urban environment - underpinned by infrastructure that is supportive of a low-carbon economy.

"This is exactly what the Corridors of Freedom programme seeks to achieve."

Resource data to inform infrastructure planning

JDA development manager Leonard Visagie briefs Mayor Tau and GEF chief executive Naoko IshiiJDA development manager Leonard Visagie briefs Mayor Tau and GEF chief executive Naoko Ishii as they begin their tour of the Westbury precinct. (Photo by Elias Nkabinde)Speaking alongside GEF chief executive Naoko Ishii, Mayor Tau said the City's partnership with the GEF would contribute towards greenhouse gas emission reductions in Johannesburg through an integrated urban planning approach involving a number of pilot projects.

Among other things, these projects will help ensure sustainability, integration and accessibility in the development and implementation of the City's physical plans, the Mayor said.

For example, a pilot process will be launched that uses aggregated data on resource efficiency to inform the City's infrastructure planning.

"The partnership projects will also see to the improvement of urban food security in the City by increasing the efficiency of food flows and improving peri-urban agriculture techniques."

Corridors to create equal access to opportunities

JDA development manager Siyabonga Genu briefs Mayor Tau and GEF chief executive Naoko IshiiJDA development manager Siyabonga Genu briefs Mayor Tau and GEF chief executive Naoko Ishii on the agency's public environment updgrades in Westbury. (Photo by Elias Nkabinde)Mayor Tau described the Corridors of Freedom programme as a catalyst for implementing the national government programme - of building a non-racial, non-sexist, socially and economically cohesive South Africa - at city level.

The programme uses transit-oriented development (TOD) to transform the City's spatial layout and citizens' relationship with it. By reversing the spatial legacy of apartheid, it seeks to create equal, sustainable access to opportunities for all the people of Johannesburg.

The expanding Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) network, the award-winning Fleurhof development in the south-west of Johannesburg, and the launch of Metrobus's new green fleet are just some of the programme's flagship projects.

Socio-economic development along the Corridors

The JDA's public environment upgrades of key thoroughfaresThe JDA's public environment upgrades of key thoroughfares serve as catalysts for further socio-economic development. (Photo by Rudo Mungoshi)Following Tuesday's media briefing, Mayor Tau took the GEF delegation on a tour of the emerging Empire-Perth Corridor of Freedom, starting with a BRT ride from Braamfontein to Westbury.

At Westbury, officials from the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), a key entity in the implementation of the Corridors programme, briefed the delegation on Corridor-related developments in the Westbury precinct.

These include the multi-million rand Westbury Clinic - one of four Corridors of Freedom clinics currently being built by the JDA - a new pedestrian bridge at Westbury Station, an upgraded social development centre, upgraded recreational park, and catalytic public environment upgrades along key thoroughfares in the area.

 

The delegation visits the Westbury Clinic siteThe delegation visits the Westbury Clinic site. The multi-million rand clinic will feature 80 consultation rooms, and offer emergency services as well as dedicated services such as ante- and pre-natal care, testing and counselling services, and health screening. (Photo by Elias Nkabinde)

 

One of four Corridors of Freedom clinicsWestbury Clinic is one of four clinics currently being built by the JDA along the City's emerging Corridors of Freedom. (Photo by Elias Nkabinde)