From 26-29 June 2016, Nelson Mandela Bay is hosting the inaugural workshop of the South African – German City Network for Integrated and Liveable Neighbourhoods.
This is a joint initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the Department of Cooperative Governance.
South Africa and Germany have championed a learning alliance on integrated urban development and the development of new forms of cooperation. Both countries have developed national urban policies: the Integrated Urban Development Framework in South Africa (IUDF) and the National Urban Development Policy (NSP) in Germany.
The collaboration between the two countries extends down to city level through the development of a peer-to-peer learning programme involving three cities from each country:
- South Africa: Nelson Mandela Bay, Ekurhuleni and Msunduzi; and
- Germany: Halle (Saale), Munich and Ludwigsburg.
The official inauguration of the project is to be attended by the participating cities, high-level representatives from both national ministries (the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety), the South African National Treasury, as well as representatives from local government associations and networks from both countries (South African Local Government Association and the German Association of Cities and South African Cities Network).
The formal session of the South African-German City Network for Integrated and Liveable Neigbhourhoods workshop started yesterday. Presentations were made by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the Umsunduzi Local Municipality and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.
After the presentation, the delegations departed on a tour of the Zanemvula Project human settlements development sites. The workshop, which is presented at the old Tramways Building, will continue for four days. Today, a tour or site visit will be undertaken of the CBD areas, focusing on the work being done by the Mandela Bay Development Agency as part of its Inner-City Rehabilitation programme.
The concept driving the city network is to generate new thinking in urban development towards more integrated and liveable neighbourhoods in the six partner cities and beyond. As part of a “living lab,” each city will provide one of its strategic urban development projects, ready to share knowledge and experiences as well as draw inspiration from their peers for the project’s continuing implementation. The primary focus of the network will be on topical urban development challenges: participatory approaches to (re)developing, upgrading and improving housing and public spaces of communities in marginalised, culturally diverse urban neighbourhoods.
This first actual get-together of all the stakeholders involved will bring the network to life. It will offer an important opportunity to introduce the stakeholders to each other and their respective urban development contexts, as well as to jointly review the network’s objectives and themes.
The workshop will engage with the higher level policies on integrated development in the two countries, with a view to contextualizing the successes and challenges of the cities in producing projects for integrated and liveable urban neighbourhoods.
The main reference point for the peer exchange will be the strategic integrated projects that each of the six participating cities has selected in the preparatory phase. Other themes and interests of the participants will be explored through a market for bilateral exchange and the provision of ample opportunities for unstructured networking.
The unique “vertical” i.e. national-local learning dimension of the network will be integrated into every network activity, thereby (a) extending the case examples and learning opportunities beyond the six directly participating cities and (b) providing lessons to feed into national-level policy-making.
Nelson Mandela Bay, together with the network, will explore ways in which officials from different departments can work with each other and other government departments and the private sector to develop the project area known as Zanemvula in the Chatty area between Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth. The challenge in this area is to develop mixed uses and employment opportunities, in addition to the housing that has been developed.
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