Contributor: Andrew Charman
The SLF ULMEG Project (Unlocking Land for Micro-Enterprise Growth) seeks to investigate and engage with policy makers on land related constraints which hinder the development and growth of micro-enterprises in the township context. One aspect of this project has been to examine the potential of redeveloping high streets to enable enterprise regulation and formalisation, particularly for those enterprises that confront onerous regulatory requirements. To learn about the outcomes from different high street redevelopment approaches, the project undertook a study of Eveline Street in Windhoek, Namibia, where the City of Windhoek initiated a scheme to rezone township high streets, a measure which benefited the many leisure related businesses operating along Eveline Street. The research provides a retrospective insight into the spatial, social and economic transformations which occurred subsequent to the rezoning initiative.
The findings from the Eveline Street study were presented in a series of exhibition events under the title: Transformative Leisure Economies. The events took place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek. Over 200 people attended the three events, including political leaders, policy advisors, government officials, academics and business leadership. The feedback was extremely encouraging, with stakeholders referring to the research as ‘game changing’ and deserving of ‘serious engagement by city politicians and offices’. A technical report detailing the main research findings is available on the SLF website. We are currently re-analysing the Eveline Street case material to explain how high street redevelopment can contribute towards Transit Oriented Development outcomes, an emerging outcome in South African metros. This component of the research is been supported by the South African Cities Network.
The next phase of UMLEG will examine land related constraints in the case of Ivory Park, one of the FIME sites situated in Johannesburg.