Why Urban Design?

Urban design operates at a range of scales, from the macro scale of the urban, or regional structure, to the micro scale of street furniture and lighting. When fully integrated into policy and planning systems, urban design can inform land use planning, infrastructure, built form and even the socio-demographic mix of a place.

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Urban design can, therefore, have an important role to play in our city and can significantly influence:

  • the economic success and socio-economic composition of a locality – influencing the ability of an area to attract local businesses and entrepreneurship; the ability of an area to attract people to live there; influencing the costs and affordability of housing and travel; influencing the accessibility of job opportunities, facilities and services;
  • the physical scale, space and ambience of a place, affecting the balance between natural ecosystems and built environments and their sustainability;
  • the social and cultural nature of a locality – how people interact with each other, how people move around, and how they use a place.

Although urban design is often delivered as a specific “project”, it is in fact a long-term process and a way of thinking that continues to evolve over time. It is this long-term process and the layering of building and infrastructure types, natural ecosystems, communities and cultures that gives places their unique characteristics and identities over time.

This Ekurhuleni urban design project seeks to introduce and imbed urban design thinking into the spatial planning processes that currently operate within the city. It is intended to do this by focusing on three key areas:

  • through policy;
  • through plans; and
  • through review.
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