Joburg scoops top award for Corridors of Freedom project

Joburg scoops top award for Corridors of Freedom projectAerial photo showing the City's Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) network passing Wits University on its way to Constitution Hill. (Photo: Oscar Gutierrez)

The Corridors of Freedom project seeks to liberate residents from an apartheid spatial legacy characterised by informal settlements, poor schooling and limited recreational spaces.

Metro ParkMetro Park, a new green space in Joburg's inner city.The City of Joburg scooped the Excellence in Planning Award at the 2014 Planning Africa Conference in Durban.

This was after being acknowledged by several local and international delegates for its Corridors of Freedom project, a unique spatial development initiative aimed at breaking down apartheid planning patterns and redesigning Johannesburg into a united modern city.

The Corridors of Freedom seek to transform the city by redressing lifestyle inequalities, improving mobility and access, and reducing travel times for residents who live on the City's outskirts.

The 2014 Planning Africa Conference took place at Durban's International Convention Centre from 19 to 22 October. Hosted biennially by the South African Planning Institute, the conference serves as a key knowledge exchange platform for the continental and international planning community.

The City's mayoral committee member for development planning and urban management, Roslynn Greeff, said that being commended for "our progressive planning and our vision was incredibly positive. Winning the award puts Joburg on the map".

Councillor Greeff, along with the City's executive director for development planning and urban management, Yondela Silimela, and director Herman Pienaar, all presented papers at the conference on the various aspects of the Corridors of Freedom project and its spatial transformation goals, including addressing competing demands and interests.

"The papers were enthusiastically received by local and international delegates," Greeff said, adding that the highlight of the conference for her "was when Joburg's presentations were lauded by the delegates. [The City's Development Planning and Urban Management Department was] recognised for being the most progressive planning department in South Africa and indeed Africa, and for that I am incredibly proud.

"All stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Corridors of Freedom strategy will continue to engage positively with the City, working together towards realising our highly acclaimed and recognised goal."

Greeff said her department aimed to win more awards at the next Planning Africa Conference in 2016.

"Currently, the Corridors of Freedom are at a stage where we are implementing strategy. We are aiming at casting the Corridors in stone within the next two years, and I'd like us to win an award for our demonstrable implementation of the Corridors of Freedom."