Local Governments internationally are constantly challenged to provide resources for maintaining and improving urban areas. This study illustrates that South African Local Governments are struggling to provide the services needed to maintain and rejuvenate cities. With budgets stretched to the limit, there is no or little money in the Local Governments to initiate the changes required to rejuvenate urban areas, be it through cosmetic or physical improvements. The study of history of urban decay and urban rejuvenation demonstrates the global shift to entrepreneurial styles of urban rejuvenation, such as the use of Improvement Districts in urban areas to bring about urban rejuvenation. In exploring the services provided by Improvement Districts, through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP’s) with Local Governments; their links with urban renewal; and the current status of Improvement District in South Africa this study demonstrates the usefulness of Improvement Districts to rejuvenate urban areas through the self-imposed additional taxation of property owners. The study is both quantitative and qualitative in nature, containing elements of both a descriptive survey and a historical study. In this study, a snap survey design is utilized, using expert sampling whereby all the legally ratified Improvement Districts in South Africa are included in the study. Personal observations, literature, structured questionnaires and interviews are utilised to determine how Improvement Districts in South Africa are increasingly being used by local business in conjunction with Local Governments to address the economic and social problems being faced by urban areas to create safer and cleaner places that generate increased revenues for business’ and the city. Descriptive statistics and where appropriate, inferential statistics, are used to explore the two research questions posed by this study. Through this study, a greater understanding of the functions, types, services, developmental strategies and objectives of South African Improvement Districts is achieved. The study explores the successes achieved by Improvement Districts, in South Africa, and their contribution to the rejuvenation of urban areas. Improvement Districts are identified as being able to create long-term sustainable solutions that help to solve numerous complex urban problems through a number of mechanisms. Improvement Districts are furthermore identified as having the ability to bring about the limited economic development of not only retail and office areas but also industrial, educational and tourism regions in the city. Improvement Districts improve the urban pattern through developing more compatible land uses and they broaden the economic base of communities, stimulating the pride and positive human values of residents. In this way, Improvement Districts contribute to the sustainable rejuvenation of South African cities.
Dissertation (M (Town and Regional Planning))--University of Pretoria, 2007.