Afrikaans Afrikaans English English Sesotho Sesotho Xhosa Xhosa Zulu Zulu
Afrikaans Afrikaans English English Sesotho Sesotho Xhosa Xhosa Zulu Zulu

Urban planning involves the planning of development for the benefit of the community, enabling them to live in a safe, acceptable, happy, and pleasant environment. What does this entail in reality?

Planning legislation is formulated to achieve an environment where all communities can live in peace and happiness. This legislation has evolved over centuries in various countries and has been adapted to fit South African circumstances, incorporating new planning systems like the GOP and SDF through a study of practices in different countries.

Urban planning involves the planning and control of land uses, including:

  • Zoning and Rezoning
  • Consent Use
  • Departures of the development parameters
  • Removing or amending Restrictive Title Deed Conditions
  • Subdivisions
  • Consolidations
  • Township establishment / Urban settlement
  • Urban development
  • Urban beautification
  • Urban regeneration
  • Urban design
  • Analysis of Urban Settlement
  • Zoning and Rezoning


What is the difference between zoning and land use?

All properties in the region of Hessequa Municipality have a zoning, controlled and regulated by the Hessequa Municipality: Zoning Scheme By-Law (2018).

This is the assigned land use for any property, indicating its purpose;
It shows the development parameters of each property;
If an owner wants to change the use, they must apply for Rezoning. The application goes through a process, including community participation, so that after the subdivision has taken place, it does not have a negative impact on the immediate neighbours. The process and Urban Planning principles are part of the holistic goal of letting communities live in a pleasant environment.

What does Consent Use mean?

Just as every property has an assigned zoning, which is the primary land use right of the property, there are certain land uses that can be assigned to the property by application and are permanent in nature. These land uses (secondary land uses) are called Consent Uses and mean exactly what it says, it is consent granted on the property.

What is a Permanent Departure?

We have already talked about Zoning controlled by the Hessequa Municipality: Zoning Scheme By-Law (2018). The scheme has development parameters, and it becomes difficult to always stay within these parameters. Reasons for this include the natural layout of a town or city restricted by nature, such as mountains, rivers, the sea, etc.

Application can be made to change the parameters, and these changes are known as Permanent Departures. These types of land use applications can be either permanent or temporary.

Permanent departures, like relaxations, involve applying for building lines, coverage, height, etc.

Temporary departures are more related to temporary land uses, such as using a residential house for a business until the business is strong enough to move to a business premises. Here we mainly think of home shops, professional practices, etc.

What does the Removing or Amendment of Restrictive Title Deed Conditions mean?

If any person buys a property, they obtain the Title Deed of the property. The Deed declares the legitimacy of the property and owner. In cases where the owner wants to apply for rezoning, a consent use, or a departure, it is found that there is a condition in the Deed that restricts or is inconsistent with the type of application. In such a case, the owner must first apply for the removal or amendment of the restriction before proceeding with the other applications or before the other applications can be approved. The reason for this is that Property Law is a higher law than Planning Legislation.

What does Subdivision mean?

Subdivision is probably the easiest to explain. It is exactly what it says, namely the division of a property into two or more parts. In many cases, there is a restriction on the Deed that must first be removed before the subdivision application can be made. Otherwise, an application is made for the subdivision and hopefully approved. After approval, the subdivision is registered with the Surveyor General. After registration with the Surveyor General, the new properties are registered at the Deeds Office, and each obtains its own Title Deed. The owner of the original property can then impose restrictions on the new Deeds as they see fit, with guidance from their attorney, as the Deeds are drafted by attorneys.

What is Township Establishment?

Township establishment occurs where raw land, usually agricultural land or land zoned as undefined (old landfill sites), is converted to establish new expansions or residential areas. It mainly occurs in towns and cities where there is rapid population growth or where a town or city has become saturated over time with normal population growth and needs to plan for expansions. In South Africa, there is still a significant pace of urbanization, putting pressure on towns and cities to accommodate it.

Urban settlement is nothing more than the planning of new residential areas for the settlement of people from rural areas.

What is Urban Development?

The planning of new residential areas and expansions does not mean that only planning should be done for residential plots, but it includes the totality of the needs of communities. We are talking about schools, churches, businesses, industries, parks, roads, etc. This includes planning around services, water, sewerage, electricity, stormwater, etc. Urban development essentially includes a comprehensive planning of urban areas.

What does Urban Beautification/Regeneration mean?

Here we mainly talk about the upgrading of existing parts of towns or cities. An urban area is considered a living organism in planning terms. It goes through the cycle of modern inception, early life, middle age, old age, and historical areas. Any area of a town or city that has deteriorated or where there is a need to adapt the character to changed circumstances can be beautified or planned for regeneration (renewal/uplifting). Such plans can then be compiled, approved, and implemented, as seen in the example in Riversdale.

What is Urban Design?

Urban design is especially applicable to central areas of cities or towns but can also be applied to any other part of them. Here we talk about guidelines that are compiled concerning where, for example, business buildings may be located, distances between buildings, what their heights can be, and in what relationship to each other the buildings can be. What stimulation for the people using the area will be beneficial, such as a park environment where people can have their lunch, watch birds, or fountains where water is the feature, refreshing people and encouraging them to spend time in the environment.

Urban design emphasizes one of the most important pillars of planning, and that is, before planning begins, obtaining knowledge of the needs of the people who will use the facilities. After that, planning can be done in a desirable, logical, and meaningful way.

What is included in the analysis of urban settlement?

People settle in certain areas and with certain patterns over the centuries. Research is regularly conducted by various institutions at international, national, provincial, municipal, and private levels to analyze these patterns and occurrences to create improved living conditions for all people. This necessarily includes knowledge of different population groups, beliefs, races, and entities, to ensure optimal satisfaction after planning is implemented.

Adjustments then take place regularly and are controlled by legislation and processes as explained here.

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