South African cities have been affected by a particular form of segregated, decentralized planning that has resulted in disconnected and dislocated areas within the urban system. The last four decades of urbanization, influx, changing markets, infrastructural constraints and unmanaged private forms of development have all affected city systems. As a result, our major urban centres are largely characterized by spatial, social and economic disparity and inequality.
To address these issues and to create integrated cities requires numerous interventions from government. In the past, however, such interventions have often been limited by capacity, resources and narrow assumptions of what is required.
This paper is the first in a series of four papers that together look at how to use public property to realise value towards the integration and spatial transformation of South African cities. In this paper, an overall approach is set out, focusing on the relationship between value realisation of value, integration, and the creation of functional urban systems. The paper establishes a framework where value realisation is defined in economic, social and financial terms. Section two scopes the city, highlighting the integration needs and opportunities in relation to different settlement types. Section three then posits the overall approach against the different settlement types, considering how each form of settlement can be made more ‘valuable’ through targeted strategic interventions. The three annexures to this report provide a review of the urban systems in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Cape Town.