- Strategic Spatial Planning’s Role in Guiding Infrastructure Delivery in a Metropolitan Municipality Context: The Case of Johannesburg   click here to open paper content411 kb
by    Magni, Peter | maggers@iburst.co.za   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Strategic spatial plans have been used with limited success to guide
infrastructure provision.
The paper reviews the example of the City of Johannesburg where processes
and mechanisms have been implemented to this effect highlighting tensions
future visions and the reality of existing infrastructure networks.
Within the practice of town planning, strategic spatial plans are
recognised internationally as a tool to guide and locate development
outcomes within a given jurisdiction, particularly within local government.
A significant existing and future consideration of strategic spatial plans
is public infrastructure (e.g. roads, water, electricity, waste removal,
transport, open-space and community facilities). Consequently a recent
academic debate has considered the role of spatial plans in driving
infrastructure provision (Healey et al. 2003)(Morphet J. 2011). This paper
seeks to understand how strategic spatial planning has been used to provide
critical public infrastructure and the success of the endeavour.

The global experience of using spatial planning to guide public
infrastructure provision through the academic debate has been generally
negative (Mattingley M, Winarso H.2000)(Baker M, Hincks S. 2009)(Dodson J.
2009). A common challenge being acknowledged is the lack of implementation
of infrastructure projects defined by a spatial plan. Reasons for the
failure of strategic spatial plans to guide infrastructure provision
include lack of administrative coordination particularly between planners,
budget officials and project implementers, political interference in
infrastructure decision making, prioritisation of the cheapest and easiest
projects and differing perspectives between professions and infrastructure
sectors on how and why infrastructure should be provided.

The paper reviews an example where strategic spatial plans have over the
past ten years been successfully used at the City of Johannesburg to guide
infrastructure development and refurbishment. Central to the success of
this endeavour has been the acceptance by a range of service providers of
the need to prioritise spending given limited finances and to commit to an
extensive process of negotiation to finalise the City’s capital budget. The
tool used to catalogue and prioritise projects based on the spatial
planning priorities of the City is known as the Capital Investment
Management System (CIMS). Through the CIMS system priority for expenditure
has been directed primarily at marginalised areas that are/were poor black
townships, areas where significant government investment has been made in
public transport and those areas of the City where existing infrastructure
networks have been identified as requiring urgent upgrading or

The paper highlights the fragility of the approach undertaken by the City
of Johannesburg which is at risk to changes in political priority but also
to infrastructure and finance related policy shift. A key tension is
between infrastructure asset management plans which assess capital need
based on the condition of existing infrastructure and use this as the basis
to prioritise projects, and strategic spatial plans that use a City wide
future based template to define this need. The second tension is the
difficulty experienced in monitoring expenditure and the material success
in directing capital funding due to existing systems of financial
management in the City.

Strategic spatial plans are meant to be about creating visions of the
future, but they cannot be divorced from the existing material and
institutional realities in which the plans are located. This fact is
particularly true in relation to using strategic spatial plans to guide
infrastructure development, and has been the experience of the City of


Baker M, Hincks S. 2009. Infrastructure Delivery and Spatial Planning: The
case of English Local Development Frameworks. Town Planning Review. 80(2)
2009 173-196

Healy P, Albrechts l, Kunsman K. 2003. Strategic Spatial Planning and
Regional Governance in Europe. American Planning Association Journal.
Spring 2003. Vol 62. 113-129

Dodson J. The ‘Infrastructure Turn’ in Austalian Metropolitan Spatial
Planning. 2009. Research Paper 25. September 2009. Griffith University

Mattingly M, Winarso H.2000. Urban Spatial Planning and Public Capital
Investments the Experience of Indonesia’s Integrated Urban Infrastructure
Investment Programme. Working Paper 113. Institute of Technology
Bandung/University College London.

Morphet J. 2011. Effective Practice in Spatial Planning. Routledge. London
and New York
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