Cities in South Africa were designed to exclude and segregate, posing a challenge to town planning and bringing citizens closer to urban amenities, Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau said on Friday.
“We’ve had to deal with this reality over the past 20 years,” Tau said in a speech at the Banking Association of SA summit in Sandton, Johannesburg.
“In many ways, in the past 20 years, we might have inadvertently reinforced some of these inefficiencies in the urban system and we need to confront this reality in a slightly different way.”
Poor households deployed the majority of their resources in transport and food and this needed to be addressed.
Another aspect was the high proportion of Johannesburg’s population living in rental accommodation – at around 41%.
Rental accommodation offered residents the opportunity of upward mobility and getting them plugged into the city economy.
Moving investment from the peripheries of the city to transport corridors, with amenities dotted along the way, to bring populations closer to resources as they moved between home and work, was also something the City of Johannesburg was addressing.
“The way we’ve been responding and the emphasis on at least the public development side on home ownership might not be responsive to what the market demands and what the reality is,” Tau said.