WIT Press

Community Participation In Urban Renewal Projects: Experiences And Challenges Of The Case Of Johannesburg, South Africa


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WIT Press


W. Didibhuku Thwala


Urban renewal and inner city regeneration have become serious issues for the South African government which has invested in several structures to stem the tide of decline in its nine major cities. Commitment to alleviation of poverty has become very high on the government agenda and will stay one of the focal points of government. This is motivated by the fact that currently around 24% of the population lives on less than $1 a day, below the poverty line defined by the World Bank. The Central Government has made numerous public commitments to development, a part of it concerning extensive infrastructure investment and service delivery. Communities are supposed to participate fully in the planning and implementation of urban renewal projects. Participation is a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives, and the decisions and resources which affect them. Participation may be a means or an end, but in reality it is usually both. Involving people in order to increase awareness, empower, build capacity, or expand rights and duties may be an end in itself, but it may also function as an instrumental means for accomplishing a specific task. Similarly, working with people to accomplish a specific task may enable them to expand their confidence and ability to address other issues in their lives. Community participation should be aimed at empowering people by ensuring that skills are developed and that employment opportunities are created. The paper will firstly explore the concept of community participation. The paper will then look at some past experiences in relation to community participation in urban renewal projects. Furthermore the paper will outline the challenges and problems of community participation in urban renewal projects in Johannesburg. Finally the paper closes with some recommendations for the future. Keywords: community participation, urban renewal, poverty, unemployment.


community participation, urban renewal, poverty, unemployment.