A Bold New Vision for Ekurhuleni
The City of Ekurhuleni economy is considered a primary driver of economic growth in Gauteng. Now, an ambitious development strategy to regenerate the economy of the region will also shape a new identity based on futuristic principles of urban design.
The City of Ekurhuleni is favourably located in the core economic activity and employment catchment area of the Gauteng Province. Spurred by decisive and radical spatial transformation, the city is geared to take the lead in Africa’s new industrial revolution.
With a population of over 3,3 million, with a very youthful skills base, the future of Ekurhuleni rests on the implementation of a bold vision for social and economic transformation. Ekurhuleni’s economy makes up 21% of the total economic output of the Gauteng province equaling 7,7% of the national production.
Ekurhuleni is an integral part of the Gauteng City-Region, an integrated cluster of cities, towns and urban nodes that together make up the economic heartland of South Africa. Inspired by a desire to see Ekurhuleni taking the lead as a powerhouse in the economy of the entire continent, city planners have put the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis at the core of its development strategy. A part of the broader National Strategic Infrastructure Plan (NSIP), the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis is at the heart of a broader programme of urban revitalisation.
OR Tambo International Airport is a critical asset that positions the city as an important international aviation node, and is accompanied by its sophisticated logistics and distribution infrastructure. Africa’s biggest and busiest airport, OR Tambo facilitates approximately 20 million passengers per year. The airport has shaped the landscape of the region and the fortunes of the millions of people who live around it. The industrial nerve-centre of the province, the airport is poised to accommodate the surge of investments expected via the Aerotropolis Master Plan which was approved in November 2017.
City planners have come up with a bold plan to change the trajectory of development of Ekurhuleni, which historically had a fragmented and reactive approach toward development of land as a conduit for investment.
To this end, the Metropolitan Spatial Development Framework (MSDF) dovetails with the overarching vision of the city, which is encapsulated in the Growth and Development Strategy 2055 (GDS 2055).
The GDS 2055 identifies five strategic imperatives:
- Re-industrialise: for job creation and economic growth purposes;
- Re-urbanise: to achieve sustainable urban integration;
- Re-govern: Effective cooperative governance.
- Re-mobilise: To achieve social empowerment;
- Re-generate: sustainable environmental benefit;
Guided by these imperatives, the architects of the new-look Ekurhuleni will employ tactics of densification, infill and development of strategically located brownfields and greenfields to upgrade the City. The spatial reconfiguration is aimed at bringing about the modernisation of the public service, the economy, human settlements and urban development, as well as the modernisation of public transport infrastructure.