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Exploring examples of urban renewal on our doorstep

Urban renewal entails renovating, restoring or replacing dilapidated buildings with new housing, public buildings, parks, roadways or industrial areas. Developers large and small are seeing the benefits of updating urban areas, making them usable once again and doing it in an unassuming way with maximum benefit.

The benefits of breathing new life into once decrepit areas include:

  • Making an area safer, more liveable, functional and aesthetically pleasing
  • Bringing back character and an area’s innate sense of place
  • Allowing neighbouring communities to benefit from job creation or recreational facilities
  • Allowing cities to grow, improve and attract investment
  • Create new transport links or a diverse mixed-use area

Examples of this type of regeneration can be found right here on our doorstep…

Florida Road, Durban

Once on the verge of neglect, Florida Road’s Victorian facades hinted at the area’s former glory before local property owners, businesses and community groups formed the Florida Road Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) in 2013. Read more about the FRUIP https://floridaroaduip.co.za/site/. With its preserved architecture and historic importance, the precinct is now a thriving high street offering an array of eateries, shops and services to a diverse clientele.

Other UIPs in KwaZulu-Natal include Ballito and uMhlanga which have gone through a similar transformation and are now thriving mixed-use areas with their own identity and attractions.

Woodstock, Cape Town

After parts of Cape Town’s historic Woodstock suburb experienced a period of urban decay,  the area saw an extreme makeover in recent years. Now a mixed-use inner city development, it attracts a varied creative clientele. Its many advantages include proximity to town and its wonderful eateries making it the perfect area for businesses and homeowners to thrive.

Victoria Yards, Joburg

This urban renewal success story prides itself on social development, change making, sustainability and offering commercial value https://www.victoriayards.co.za/. Once derelict and decaying, the space now boasts artisan studios, urban farming and galleries while there is a variety of food and beverage choices for visitors.

Urban decay is a reality faced by many cities around the world and can be combatted through the creation of public space management structures. Whether a management association or an urban improvement precinct, these interventions shift the focus from decline and neglect to growth and renewal.


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