IAP2 Southern Africa was honoured to have the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) as lead sponsor for the 1st Southern African Core Values Awards for Excellence in Public Participation, and to welcome JDA Executive Manager for Planning and Strategy, Sharon Lewis, as an esteemed member of the Judges Panel.
In 2011, JDA proved its international leadership in applying the IAP2 Core Values. The agency won Organisation of the Year at the 2011 international IAP2 Core Values Awards for their entry “Public Participation – the key to Sustainable Development Interventions”. JDA is therefore well-placed to help launch the first regional Core Values awards to raise awareness and standards for excellence in public participation in southern Africa.
“We welcome that there are organisations like IAP2 who see the value and recognise the importance of public participation practice in development and service delivery. We also feel honoured that the JDA has been asked to be part of judging panel for the first IAP2 SA Core Values Awards” said Thanduxolo Mendrew, acting CEO of JDA.
Planning decisions and planning projects have a real impact on people’s lives, they determine, for example, what houses are built and how affordable they are. They also determine what local facilities there are, and how easy it is to get to work, to the shops, and to leisure and community services. They influence the nature and quality of our neighbourhoods, and also show how the larger city functions for all its citizens, and how planning is important for creating better lives for current and future generations.In order to improve the quality of plans and improve the reach of City services it is critical to improve the community’s control over development decisions through active community participation and ultimately building partnerships with the community on development deliverables.
“The JDA Toolkit for Public Participation is a central component of all JDA developments,” said Mendrew. “The local knowledge that can be gleaned from communities through a meaningful and integrated public participation process is not only necessary, but adds to the value proposition of the final development product and results in much greater community ownership of the completed facility”.
As a City Development Agency, the JDA is positioned to take on a broader role, focusing on development areas selected for their potential to satisfy strategic objectives such as restructuring the space economy. There are opportunities for the scale of JDA operations to be extended: by increasing the number of development areas, extending the types of developments undertaken by the JDA, and increasing the development facilitation role that the JDA plays in development areas. The JDA operates within the Johannesburg Sustainable Services Cluster and responds to the need to develop a resilient, liveable, sustainable urban environment in Johannesburg – underpinned by infrastructure supportive of a low carbon economy.
The JDA has structured its operations into three key sub-programmes within the Sustainable Services Cluster:
i) The Greenways programme that focuses on providing resilient, liveable and sustainable environments within the City by using roads, rivers and transport modes to promote walking, cycling, and sustainable public transport. This programme includes the continued roll-out of the Rea Vaya BRT infrastructure and service.
ii) A Transit oriented development programme that encourages optimal development of transit hubs and corridors across the city, which provide access to affordable accommodation and transport, high quality public spaces and amenities, and good community services.
iii) A programme on priority area planning and implementation that shifts the design of the city – including elements like streets, buildings and spaces of work and play – to improve liveability and create sustainable human settlements.
All three of these programmes are intended to restructure the space economy to give poor households better access to well-located accommodation, jobs and markets; optimise land use and energy consumption; and improve living standards and mobility for large numbers of people in well serviced and managed transit neighbourhoods. They link back to three of the master programmes outlined in the Johannesburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy (GDS 2040): Enabling resilience, inclusion and sustainability; enabling growth and job creation; and going green.