Environmental governance in the Warwick Junction Urban Renewal Programme.
Governance is defined here as the process of decision-making and implementation. Public participation which leads on from good governance is a process leading to a joint effort by stakeholders, technical specialists, the authorities and the developing agent who work together to produce better decisions than if they had acted independently. Environmental decision-making and environmental partnerships go hand in hand in the sense that good environmental decision-making can only take place if sustainable environmental partnerships are formed. This thesis focuses on the case study of the Warwick Junction Urban Renewal Programme as an example of an area based management development project in the eThekwini Municipality. Warwick Junction is a vibrant trading and transport node in the heart of the city. The area is complex in terms of its biophysical, societal, economic and political structures. The purpose of the implementation of an Urban Renewal Program in July 1996 in Warwick Junction was to uplift and upgrade this inner city area so as to provide an improved trading and residential environment. A large number of projects that fall under this renewal programme have been completed. Community involvement in these projects has been implemented via community representation on a steering committee. It is proposed that a process of good governance is necessary to integrate sustainability into all spheres of development. The aim of this research therefore is to assess the decision-making processes for a number of environmental projects in Warwick Junction. The following projects that have already been completed will be the focus of this study: The Warwick Triangle Playground, Herb Traders Market, Bovine Head Cookers facility, Mealie Cookers Facility and the Badsha Peer Project. Theories of urban governance, public participation, environmental decision-making and environmental partnerships under the broader framework of sustainability, form the conceptual framework for this study. A qualitative approach has been employed in this research. Primary data has been derived from focus groups and open-ended interviews. A set of social sustainability indicators that was derived from the theoretical framework was used to determine the most successful project. Results show that the Mealie Cookers Project displayed all the characteristics of good urban governance. It is also considered to be a sustainable project because as part of its commitment to the urban renewal programme it has balanced the social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations in Warwick Junction. This was the most successful project out of the five projects as it ranked very high on the social sustainability indicator table followed by the Muthi Traders market, the Badsha Peer Shelter, the Playground Facility and lastly the Bovine Head Cookers facility. The Muthi Market ranked as high as the Mealie Cookers Project on the social sustainability indicator table. This is due to adequate participation with affected communities which allowed them to contribute towards the decision-making process. The strength of the Badsha Peer Shelter Project lies in the good governance and good environmental decisions being taken, win-win partnerships and overall empowerment of stakeholders. The Playground Facility brought with it many political tensions as there were two civic associations that were at loggerheads with each other surrounding the whole project. The strength of this project lies in its transformative participation as the affected communities ideas were used to decide on the location of the park. There were also many political tensions among the Bovine Head Cookers. As a result of the cookers belonging to different political parties, an issue of territory was brought to the surface. Due to serious conflict between cookers and the renewal team, this project has taken three years to implement. It is thus considered to be the most unsuccessful project out of the five projects researched. It is therefore evident that three out of the five projects have been successful, displaying appropriate environmental governance. The results indicate that the environmental decision-making mechanisms that have been employed by the urban renewal team have been transformative in the sense that they not only give a voice to the communities, but also have empowered them in the process. Adequate public participation has also contributed to the success of the programme along with win-win types of partnerships that have formed. It is therefore concluded that the urban renewal decision-making mechanisms implemented in the Warwick Junction have contributed to the sustainability of the development programme.
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