The Johannesburg Development Agency will play a key role in implementing the Inner City Roadmap, the City’s newly launched strategy for transforming inner city Joburg.

Executive Mayor Parks TauExecutive Mayor Parks Tau launches the Inner City Roadmap at Turbine Hall in Newtown.Officially launched by Executive Mayor Parks Tau at the Turbine Hall in Newtown on Wednesday, 17 June, the Inner City Roadmap takes over from where the 2007-2012 Inner City Charter left off, providing a comprehensive, integrated, long-term strategy for shifting the City’s inner city regeneration drive up a gear.

The Charter, developed in the previous administration in response to the flight of capital and investors from the inner city to areas such as Rosebank and Sandton, was a five-year regenerative strategy based on property and environment upgrades.

Under the Charter, the City spent almost R2-billion on greening public spaces, upgrading derelict buildings, developing the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, upgrading housing and other infrastructure, and making the inner city more eco-friendly.

The Roadmap goes far beyond this. Developed following an extensive review of the successes and shortcomings of the Charter, the Roadmap is the City’s statement of intent to transform inner city Johannesburg, providing a framework for rolling out the Growth and Development Strategy 2040 within the inner city.

“The Charter, and the five-year experience of implementing it, was a learning curve for all concerned,” Mayor Tau said at Wednesday’s launch. “But we kept talking, kept analysing what has worked, what has not and what remains to be done. The result is the Inner City Roadmap … It is our consensus view, as stakeholders and the City, of what we have to do next, and how to do it.”

The Roadmap recognises both the central role of the inner city as an entry point and place of opportunity for people of diverse cultures and income levels, and the challenges it still faces, including crime and grime, less than satisfactory services and poor quality of life for residents.

It builds on the successes that have been achieved through partnerships, and through public environment upgrades and planning at local precinct level, to provide a holistic, area-based approach to creating an inner city that is well-governed, clean and safe, sustainable, productive and inclusive.

“I must emphasise that this is not a re-launch of the Inner City Charter,” Development Planning MMC Roslynn Greeff said at the launch. “What we have done is work out, together with stakeholders, really detailed implementation plans for the transformation of the inner city.”

To drive the implementation of these plans, and prevent blockages and delays, a new Mayoral Committee Member (MMC) for the Inner City will be appointed, while at management level a new Inner City Office will be set up, located within the City Manager’s Office and elevated above individual departments, and directed by an Inner City Manager.

Chaired by the City Manager with the support of the Inner City Manager, a new Technical Coordinating Committee will meet every fortnight. Comprising senior operational staff from each department and agency, the committee will be the key forum for monitoring progress and dealing with blockages in inner city projects.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), whose involvement has been key to the successes achieved so far in the inner city, will act as development facilitator for the Roadmap, implementing both capital projects initiated by the City and collaborative projects with the private sector.

The JDA will also administer a new dedicated Inner City Repairs and Maintenance Fund, which will be set up to allow for rapid repairs and maintenance of basic infrastructure such as sidewalks, streetlights and signage in the inner city.

“The JDA has a history in working in the inner city at strategic level, at spatial planning level and at implementation level,” the Roadmap notes. “Through its work it has built relationships with several existing inner city communities and many stakeholders.”

Besides having the systems and expertise in place for undertaking a range of projects and development facilitation functions, including procurement and project management, the agency boasts extensive experience of area-based development “and is recognised for this role among international city development agencies”.