The formal announcement of the awards was recently made at Portland Oregon, United States of America. The ISOCARP Awards for Excellence honour exceptionally innovative urban and regional initiatives. Durban competed with countries such as China, Singapore and Belgium.
EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said the international award means a great deal for eThekwini. “This provides an outstanding opportunity for the City to be recognised globally.”
Gumede said the project is in line with the new urban agenda and sustainable development goals as well as the National Development Plan which all aim to drive radical economic growth and transformation. “Transformation of the Durban Central Business District is high on eThekwini’s agenda to create a liveable and economically viable inner city,” she added.
Mayor Gumede said the most liveable city is the one that provides a well-functioning mixed use property market with a range of accommodation and commercial options for people across the socio-economic spectrum. “This is exactly what we are doing as the Municipality,” she said.
Some of the key projects mentioned in the inner city regeneration strategy include the development of the Centrum site into a mixed use and multimodal transport facility, a strategy to deal with problem and derelict buildings, and the creation of new high quality public spaces that relates to major public transport interchanges and accommodates a range of social and trading opportunities in the Warwick Junction area.
The award will allow the city officials to work with experts from the ISOCARP Urban Planners Advisory team who will be visiting Durban in 2018. The team of international experts will bring international knowledge and experience to share with planners locally, and use best practice to regenerate the inner city. They will also assist to source funding for the development projects to be undertaken in the inner city.
Ana Peric, ISOCARP Vice President said, according to the jury assessment, this eThekwini project presents a comprehensive planning strategy for the inner City.
“The visionary and creative plan emphasises the development of this large urban area as a workable city, which aims to be vibrant and liveable, thus opening opportunities for all,” said Peric.
She added that the project is an excellent plan which other cities can draw inspiration from.