Assessing the inclusiveness of informal markets in urban planning: case of Matsheni Taxi Rank (East Street Rank) on Retief St. in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Madondo, Thandoluhle Samantha.
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Informal trading within the cities of South Africa in the past has been regarded as an illegal activity. Thus, the emergence of informal markets in South Africa has been viewed as a major problem by developers especially incorporating the sector into the planning processes of urban development methodologies. There is growing evidence that most cities across the world are gradually seeing the value of informal trade in hopes to assist in the economic development of a country. This research examines the use of urban planning tools in the built environment as a medium of recognizing the importance of street trade to economic growth and development. This research evaluates the inclusivity of implemented planning policies in Pietermaritzburg Msunduzi municipality. It investigates the monitoring and control measures put in place for urban trade within the city. The study aims to understand how the Municipality creates support structures/systems for the development of the informal market in the downtown segment of the city- an area that is known to be the center of informal trading activities within the city. Although there has been the implementation of LED (local economic development) programs to enable and strengthen the support of informal trade, however, there has been a shortfall in positive results due to lapses in the implementation of these programs. Evidence from other countries reveals that informal markets are currently still a factor in cities (whether in more developed counties or less developed) and are addressed as being part of urban development, therefore, policies and legislation that take this segment of the economy into consideration are implemented for development. As mentioned in the methodology chapter, out of the six taxi ranks in Pietermaritzburg East Street rank has very interesting informal trading conditions. Thus, the study focused on the East Street rank to understand how the Municipality promotes support structures for the informal market.