There is growing recognition that township high streets fulfill an important role in localised economies. These are the streets in which a high concentration of businesses can be found, notably informal micro-enterprises. In this essay, I examine some of the key ways that township high streets have become more productive, both economically and in social terms. Intensification in the use of public space and the redevelopment of private properties situated along the high street are two ways that high streets improve. Through focusing on cases studies, one from Namibia and one from South Africa, I will examine two additional means. First, the important role of business pioneers, and second, the role of municipal government and spatial interventions (intentional and unintentional) that support and enable high street development.