The role of corridor development in urban reconstruction : the case study of Edendale-Northdale corridor in Msunduzi Municipality.
Okeke, Ikenna Nwagbo.
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In common with other South African cities, the greater Pietermaritzburg region, which is in the Msunduzi Municipality, has faced many challenges, but has made concerted efforts to tackle the legacy of apartheid imbalances. Since 1994, the pattern of planning in Msunduzi Municipality has shifted to a more neoliberal economy. In many instances, this has focused on improving and promoting economic development in townships situated on the urban periphery. This form of development is driven by the need to integrate the overcrowded central business district (CBD) of Pietermaritzburg and the Edendale-Northdale Corridor (ENC). Edendale, Northdale and the Central Area developed individually in isolation; some segments were well-planned, while others were underdeveloped. This research study investigated the effectiveness of the ENC in fostering economic development and the extent to which the corridor helped to attract investment adjacent to this corridor to create job opportunities for the high numbers of unemployed people in the city. It is argued that the structure of the city has created a high poverty rate within the suburbs or townships and has encouraged unnecessary mobility in search of economic opportunities. The study found that areas that struggled to attract economic development in the past showed some signs of improvement, with increased investor confidence. However, investment was hampered by the perception that doing business in Msunduzi Municipality is expensive. This study employed a multi-pronged approach to generate data; this includes qualitative data in the form of interviews with municipal officials, two groups of beneficiaries comprising of businesses and local inhabitants, and other stakeholders. Local inhabitants of the three nodes along the ENC were engaged in group discussions. Field observations/ground-truth checks were also carried out to compare the data collected and to gain an understanding of development along the ENC. Finally, GIS was applied to demonstrate the trend of development that has taken place in this corridor. One of the major findings of this study was the need for an efficient transport system. Furthermore, some respondents argued that the Edendale section of this corridor will need further highway access to foster industrial development that can create a large number of jobs. The land ownership challenges confronting the Greater Edendale area were also seen as a barrier to the development of this corridor, especially with regard to economic investment.