Can retirement villages be used to stimulate the economic development of small towns?
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This dissertation looks at the possibility of using a development, like a retirement village, to stimulate the economic development of small towns. Following on from this, the question of whether or not a retirement village could be used as a model for Local Economic Development (LED) of small towns is also explored. The case study chosen, is that of the small town ofHowick (situated in the Midlands ofKwaZulu-Natal) and Amberfield Retirement Village which is located there. The study examines the economic impact that Amberfield Retirement Village has had on the small town ofHowick, as well as le>oking at the extent to which its success is locationally specific (and what implications this wou}d have in terms of replicating the retirement village). The findings of the study reveal that Amberfield Retirement Village has had a significant impact on Howick, especially in terms ofthe linkages it creates and the large injection of capital that it brought to the small town. The unique locational aspects and specificity of both Howick and Amberfield Retirement Village also form part of the findings of the study, and which affect the conclusion drawn in terms ofthe replicability ofthe retirement village. It is concluded that the retirement village could be used as a model for LED of other small towns, however, the location and the setting of the retirement village are all important.