Urban Development Zones

Restructuring Zones: Introduction

Within the realms of concern of the urban environment there are a number of spatial designations, with a number of purposes have been identified. The focus of social housing policy is that of restructuring zones.
The restructuring zones are intended as an instrument (among others) to pursue restructuring of South African cities, this is essentially about integration : economic, racial and social. Restructuring is largely about moving away from housing interventions that entrench/enforce or in any way maintain the spatial status quo, which reinforces certain social and economic disparities.

"Restructuring is thus intimately linked to interventions in the land market: either to protect lower income (and often Black) people from displacement or to bring lower income (often Black) into areas of economic and other forms of opportunity from which they would otherwise be excluded. This is perhaps the most important meaning of restructuring". The logic of restructuring is clearly not the same as the logic of urban regeneration and urban renewal but there is some overlaps.

As such these zones are intended to align with Urban Development Zones and to link to planning processes such as the national spatial development framework, Provincial Growth and Development strategies/Provincial spatial development plans, and most particularly local authorities' IDPs. What follows is a brief description of UDZ's that have thus far been designated and any other resources relating to other existing or proposed spatial interventions.

Urban Development Zones Background

By 2003 there was recognition that many of South Africa's inner cities were facing rapid degeneration as the result of capital flight into newer and better facilities in other parts of the cities.

Reasons cited for the move included the offer of cheaper rent in better accommodation and the perception that many of the inner cities were not safe for companies' employees or assets. The nett result was that many of the CBDs were left to the poorer and/or more informal elements of the economy.
In fact many of the inner cities and their adjacent suburbs began to become the sanctuaries of new migrants and slum landlords.

Thus it was keenly felt that if there was to be any hope of revitalizing, regenerating, or rejuvenating the inner cities then the government would need to intervene. As such by the end of 2003 the National Treasury had developed an amendment to the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962, which would allow tax breaks and tax incentives within very specific areas the metros and larger municipalities in South Africa. Buffalo City, Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, Emalahleni, Johannesburg, Mafikeng, Mangaung, Matjabeng, Mbombela, Msunduzi, Nelson Mandela, Polokwane, Sol Plaatjie and Tshwane were all identified as areas in which UDZs should be demarcated.

There are certain criteria that UDZs will have to satisfy such as:

The amendments would come in the form of tax breaks that allow building owners/developers to write-off building costs against the income of businesses. The urban regeneration is also being presented as a form of black empowerment and as a way of encouraging Black entrepreneurship in the property sector within the CBDs. There is, however, no special mechanism that is focused on assisting Black people per se.

References and Resources

Municipal Resources

Municipal Social Housing Policy Document: Generic Framework

Urban Development Zones Municipalities