Public participation in the Blue Lagoon beach project, Durban North.
Zulu, Mcebo Goodman.
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After the demise of apartheid the inner city of Durban faced a degeneration problem because of rapid inward migration. To facilitate integration and transformation the Durban Municipality embarked on a number of projects focusing on inner city and coastal revitalisation, inner city redevelopment, and the creation of new mixed nodes to integrate the buffer zones which separated different races during the apartheid era. With the FIFA Soccer World Cup event in South Africa in 2010, there was a need for the transformation of public spaces such as Durban’s beaches. The South beach and Front beach now known as New beach were revamped for the World Cup. Blue Lagoon beach was the last beach to be revamped, and just like the beaches revamped before, it generated protests. The complexity of many planning projects and more importantly, the commitment of the planners themselves obstructed citizens from being actively involved in the decision-making. The Durban North Blue Lagoon beach project which started in 2012 took much longer than the others to complete. It was the aim of this study to investigate where, when, and how public participation was considered during this project. This study argues that the protests which started after the project was implemented can be attributed to a lack of public participation during the project planning stage. This study assesses the public policy process followed in consulting or alerting the community regarding the project. It is prevalent that just like most development projects; a ‘top-down’ approach was adopted and implemented by the developers as a way of communicating with the community.