An investigation into sustainable development limits for densification close to natural resources : a case study of Giba Gorge, eThekwini Municipal Area.
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In an effort to protect key environmental assets in the Outer West Region of the eThekwini Municipal area, the Environmental Management Department has embarked on a process to better align environmental concerns into the Consolidated Outer West Town Planning Scheme. The intention is to create sustainable living environments by recognising the importance and value of the environment and its open spaces. Ultimately the research is attempting to understand the difficulties in implementing sustainable development. Sustainable development has been acknowledged at a policy level in the eThekwini Municipality’s Integrated Development Plan; however the translation of sustainable development into implementation is more difficult. Part of the complexity relates to different sectors within the Municipality such as the Environmental Sector and the Economic Sector viewing sustainable development differently. The research focuses on the rapid densification in the Outer West adjacent to environmental resources by private land owners which highlights the lack of understanding by the public on the importance of the environment. Further, the conflicts between the need for economic development and environmental conservation in the context of the Giba Gorge area, show that historical zoning ‘rights’ operate against the protection of bio-diversity. This reinforces the need for better alignment between the environmental protection and land use management.