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An evaluation of the use of strategic planning tools for the built environment : the case study of the Umgungundlovu District Municipality's application for metropolitan status.

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The dissertation evaluates the use of strategic planning tools for the built environment. In its evaluation, it considers the case study of uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s (uMDM) and its application for metropolitan status. In 2013, the uMDM submitted its application to the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to consider its request for re-categorization from a category C to A municipality. This research noted that one of the category B or local municipalities within the district’s jurisdiction, namely the Msunduzi Municipality had already been granted metropolitan status in 2009, which was later withdrawn. The reasons for the withdrawal of the Msunduzi’ s re-categorization mainly included that all the seven other local municipalities and the district objected as they wanted the entire district municipality to be re-categorized as a metropolitan area. This objection was also supported by the M.E.C. for CoGTA in the province. It is against this backdrop that the uMDM lodged its application in 2013. The problem that this dissertation investigates is that the district’s future is unknown. Its hypothesis is that current strategic planning tools are adequate in preparing the district’s transition from municipal category C to A. The key findings from both the empirical investigation and evaluation of the existing strategic planning tools have confirmed that the current set of tools used by the district planners are adequate in preparing the district for transforming into a potential metropolitan area. However, such confirmation has a condition of how best and effectively has the district been using the tools at its disposal. The study has also found that metropolitan planning is a complex phenomenon and suggests best possible ways on how the district could utilize its current strategic planning tools towards the realization of its vision of becoming a metropolitan municipality in the future. The study suggests that the district will have to use the review of its Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and its associated plans such as the Spatial Development Framework (SDF) to enable these plans to begin to paint plausible future scenarios on achieving metropolitan status. In this way, the IDP becomes the main or overarching strategic tools with many other tools sub the IDP like SWOT analysis, benchmarking and others. Evidence from other countries (in both the developed and developing worlds) has proven that strategic planning tools have been used in planning metropolitan areas. The study ends by painting plausible future scenarios on how the future metropolitan area may look.


Masters in Town and Regional Planning. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2015.


Theses--Town and regional planning., uMgungundlovu District Municipality., Metropolitan areas--Law and legislation., City planning--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Metropolitan areas., City planning.