Assessing the impacts of urban decay on the residential land-uses : the case of Durban South Beach, South Africa.
Ndlebe, Tulisa Able.
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Urban decay is a phenomenon that affects most cities globally and it can have adverse effects on Town Planning schemes as well as land-uses that exist within a city. South African cities are no exception; they have seen the dawn of urban decay largely put developments and schemes in jeopardy. The decay of urban areas is the outcome of varying factors that lead to the failing economy of a city. With the invasion of urban decay in cities of South Africa, the country has been urged to adopt a remedial action called urban regeneration which is largely used in most international countries. However, the urban regeneration strategy has been criticised of marginalising the poor, gentrification as well as stripping the city of its heritage due to utilizing modern and foreign designs of urban renewal. With these emerging concerns of urban regeneration, it has come to a point where an undiluted communicative action is required. It must be borne in mind that planners are public servants as they plan for people, therefore, the input of the people whom planners plan for need to be heard and accounted for in all developments of residential land-uses. The main point of this dissertation was to assess the impacts of urban decay on the residential land-use. Moreover, this dissertation has sought to find out opinions of people who reside in decaying areas, owners of decaying buildings and people in the planning profession, on what could possibly be remedial to urban decay. The research has adopted the Qualitative research method, which incorporated both primary and secondary data to analyse the relationship between urban decay and the residential land-use. The focus of the research was on South Beach area of the Durban CBD where urban decay is still ripe. It has been found that urban decay lowers the quality of life for citizens residing in the area, promotes lack of investor confidence, and motivates criminal activities to take place in a decaying neighbourhood among other outcomes of urban decay. The positive sides of a decaying neighbourhood are that it is accessible to everyone and does not marginalise the lower-class citizens. This is because rent prices to occupy spaces are lower and in most cases, decaying neighbourhoods are closer to the CBD and amenities. The city of Durban has adopted the Problem Buildings Bylaw in March 2016, which aims to deal with decaying and abandoned buildings within the CBD. Urban decay is an issue that needs to be addressed, but with both an economic goal and a goal for improving lives of people.