- How the City of Bloemfontein did the Tango alone in the inner City Renewal Project    click here to open paper content525 kb
by    Potgieter, Pieter & Steyn, Joseph (Das) | potgiepj.sci@mail.uovs.ac.za   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Bloemfontein required an inner city renewal plan, and the Council appointed a consortium for the job. Not taking recommendations and wishes of authors, stakeholders and public to heart, it implemented its own agenda thus reducing the merit of the plan.
Bloemfontein’s Central Business District developed around its old market square and most high order functions stayed in this area until the 1990’s.

Between 1994 and 2000 the city council sold a lot of municipal land in the fringe area on the western side of the CBD and in the middle and upper class neighborhoods to private developers for retail or office development. This created a pull factor for mostly high order shoppers. Bad governance concerning crime and grime in the heart of the city let to a flight from the CBD acting as a push factor. Together these two factors led to a centre where little development takes place, high order retail being replaced by lower order shops with vacant lots and buildings, especially above ground level, are increasingly vacant.

Council decided to address the issue before the next local government elections in 2005 and put out a tender for an inner city renewal plan. A consortium consisting of private practitioners and academics had to compile the plan within six months with strict controls from the council in terms of access to stakeholders and the public.

Urban Planning is South Africa is by law compelled to adhere to processes of public participation although the detail is not spelled out. The city council thus embarked on a participation process which can be described as tokenism for their approach was “we are the people” and not really addressing the issue. This study will show to what extend public participation was manipulated by Council in order to get a quick plan before the election and how the planner lost against power.
Inner City Renewal, Public Participation, Tokenism
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