Corridors of Freedom highlighted at Spatial Transformation of Cities conference

(Image: SA Cities Network)(Image: SA Cities Network)

The City of Johannesburg's pioneering Corridors of Freedom initiative, bringing residents closer to jobs and jobs closer to residents, was presented at the Spatial Transformation of Cities conference.

Yondela Silimela, executive director for planning in the City of Joburg (Image: SA Cities Network)Yondela Silimela, executive director for planning in the City of Joburg (Image: SA Cities Network)Johannesburg's spatial vision, Corridors of Freedom, places the space economy transformation at the heart of its development strategy.

Land, a key urban spatial theme, plays a role in how stakeholders effectively steer land investment and interventions towards land ownership and development that reflects a transformative and integrated city agenda.

According to Yondela Silimela, executive director for planning in the City of Joburg, it is important to draw connections to hubs within the city through these Corridors and create an attractive environment for investment in these areas.

She was speaking on the final day of the Spatial Transformation of Cities Conference in Newtown on 6 March, where she reiterated the importance of understanding who has access to spaces and the need to listen to communities that will benefit from it.

The conference invited urban development practitioners, strategists, analysts, investors, urban planners, and designers, among others, to investigate and discuss how to build better cities.

It allowed for an interrogation of the City's implementation plans and strategies to ensure a resilient, inclusive and sustainable Johannesburg.

Silimela concluded her address by quoting Dr Joan Clos, an executive director at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and a former mayor of Barcelona, saying "Those who stand to benefit are not interested, at best lukewarm; those who stand to lose are against."

The Corridors of Freedom

The Corridors of Freedom consist of well-planned transport arteries linked to interchanges where the focus will be on mixed-use development – high-density accommodation supported by office buildings, retail development and opportunities for leisure and recreation.

These Corridors will transform entrenched settlement patterns, which have shunted the majority of residents to the outskirts of the city, away from economic opportunities, access to jobs and growth.

It is also aims to create a people-centred city where the needs of communities - safety, comfort and economic well-being - are placed at the core of the planning and delivery processes.

At present, a number of urban growth and development policies and strategies inform city planning; these are: the National Development Plan 2030; the current Integrated Urban Development Framework process; the City Support Programme; the Neighbourhood Development Programme; the South African Cities Network Report 2011 and 2016 Strategy; and the Department of Economic Development's social dialogues on the space economy, among others.