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Contents for October 2006

COMMENT
Making connections

LETTERS
Feedback from our readers

UPFRONT
News

INSPIRATION
Pedestrian-friendly at last!

INSULT

Locked away

PLANNING PERSONALITY
Rashid Seedat: Vision for Jo’burg

CITY VISIT
Mafikeng: Reluctant capital

ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND DESIGN
Towards greener parking

WASTE AND POLLUTION MANAGEMENT
Reaping environmental rewards

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COMMENT

Making connections

At Wastecon 2006 in September, I carefully considered the reasons for including a section on waste and pollution management in this journal and realised its importance to planning and development practitioners.

Also at the conference, deputy minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism Rejoice Mabudafasi spoke about South Africa’s drive towards ‘zero landfill’ and difficulties due to the law of diminishing returns. Other speakers acknowledged the issue and campaigned for multipronged solutions to waste management and minimisation.

This will undoubtedly involve urban managers and planners, and residents and residents associations.

Urban Green File’s approach to waste and pollution management is to integrate it into urban planning and management.

Underlying the principled approach of sustainable development is the fact that everything is connected. One of my favourite quotes comes from futurist Olaf Helmer: “To state it in only slightly exaggerated form, everything depends on everything else”. In our section on waste and pollution management, we try to serve the planning practitioner and the waste practitioner with accurate information by covering the connection, joint interests and mutual effects of waste management and urban planning.

In this edition, our waste and pollution article looks at municipalities extracting landfill gas as a very promising, sustainable solution. Our cover story touches on a crucial aspect of our private vehicle-driven urban environment: How are we to ensure that parking is provided in a sustainable manner (see page 32)?

Barriers to progress

Illustrating similar issues confronting waste management and urban planning, Steve Lee, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management in the UK, has identified the following barriers to progress in terms of sustainable solutions:
*            Piecemeal policy development: We need to align climate change, energy, waste and resource policies.
*            Reliable information and science: How much is being discarded? Where?
*            Planning for all resources: Without this, a concept like ‘one planet living’ is just a convenient ‘sound bite’.
*            Public engagement: Changing beliefs and attitudes at local level will take years of co-ordinated work.

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LETTERS

Landfill woes
– David Stedman, chairman, Benoni Agricultural Holdings Association
Readers respond to Urban Green File’s visit to Clarens and draw attention to landfill challenges in the Ekurhuleni metro.

Referring to your article ‘Life after Linbro’ (Urban Green File August 2006), I represent the Benoni Agricultural Holdings Association (BAHA), which is fighting the Ekurhuleni metro municipality over a proposed dump-site at Zesfontein, outside Benoni. We recognise the need for landfill sites but we are taking issue over the magnitude (524 ha).

The major features and differences compared to the northern Jo’burg dump site:
*            The areas around Dainfern and the northern suburbs have a municipal water supply. Around the proposed Zesfontein site, the locals depend predominantly on borehole water.
*            Jo’burg has to handle 850 t/day of general waste while the Ekurhuleni municipality has to handle 1 041 t/day.
*            I do not know what geological structures are beneath the Jo’burg site but the proposed Ekurhuleni site is over dolomite structures.
*            The Zesfontein dump will completely surround a sensitive wetland (as declared by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture Conservation and Environment) and there is a registered conservancy (GCA039) on the site.
*            The South African National Roads Agency and Ekurhuleni are competing for the same piece of ground (actually owned by the Ekurhuleni municipality).

The municipality wants to put the PWV 3/PWV 17 intersection there too. The only space for the intersection is right through the wetland, according to the planning of the dump. We would like to contact any committees involved in Jo’burg’s dumps – either the existing one at Linbro Park or the proposed site.

Politicking in Clarens
– Louw van Biljon, town planning consultant and Clarens resident

What you have written is an accurate reflection of what is happening in Clarens.

However what has been said to you and what transpires on the ground is not quite the same thing. For instance, the ROD prohibits the planting of alien trees but plane trees are being planted.

The town is not united with a common vision. There are two, opposing camps within Clarens. The first consists mainly of the business community, which advocates the ‘tourism and development vision’ with the avid support of the municipality and tourism authorities. What is never added publicly, is the ‘at whatever cost’ view point of these advocates. Anyone not subscribing to this vision is seen as a ‘knee-jerking environmentalist’ or ‘rich, antidevelopment elitist’.

The second camp (of which I am obviously a member) is concerned that too much development, too quickly, will destroy exactly the qualities that draw tourists. We also believe (based on experience) that development does not benefit the local poor to the extent that is hoped. Work opportunities will be created, yes, but that is unskilled employment, such as domestic and gardening, and semiskilled, such as waiters and kitchen staff.

Let’s also not be naïve about the political mileage gained from estate developments: it looks very good on annual municipal reports and carries a lot of weight at a party indaba. There is therefore not much incentive for a council to be too concerned about the downstream impacts of such projects. Unfortunately political aspirations and expected economic fallout dilute diligent town and environmental planning. In short, however hard appointed consultants may try, good planning is not the end result in a politico-economic environment where estate development is seen as the ‘holy grail’ of tourism, social upliftment and a better life for all.

In the Clarens situation, I am of the opinion that the strategic environmental assessment and the spatial development framework will do very little to mitigate the impacts of suburban developments around the town and the number of farm sub-divisions in the valley.

Pessimistic? Yes. The valley is unfortunately being changed for the worse by estate developments and the authorities cannot control it even if they say they do.

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UPFRONT

Waste issues
Speaking at the biennial conference and exhibition of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa in Somerset West, Western Cape, from September 5 to 8, 2006, outgoing president Hennie Neethling highlighted new EIA regulations, the viability of zero landfill waste, greener production, the waste management bill and carbon credits – issues discussed during the conference.

Vredefort Dome
A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is underway at Vredefort Dome – between Parys and Potchefstroom – proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 2005. Management of this area is complicated as it falls within the North West and the Free State provinces. The SEA, due for completion at the end of 2006, will be used to draft a development and management plan for the benefit of tourism and to relieve development pressure along the Vaal River.

Thohoyandou gardens
The botanical gardens in Thohoyandou, within the Vhembe region of Limpopo, are being turned into a tourist attraction and environmental centre, including a new picnic site and environmental awareness boards; tagged indigenous trees; and staff trained in greenhouse management.

Construction began in June 2006 and is expected to be completed in time for the festive season in December.

The gardens were established 26 years ago to protect indigenous plant species for study purposes, research and medicinal use by western and traditional doctors.

South Bank Competition
The South Bank competition, sponsored by Spier Holdings, has entered its second phase, having short-listed six finalists in the adjudication of Phase 1. The project must provide residential accommodation for 2 000 to 3 000 people with facilities for arts production and performance of an international standard in a setting defined by ecological conservation. The winner will be announced in December 2006.

The competition calls on architects and designers to define and apply new spatial approaches to creating a community that will serve as a model for sustainable living in Africa and elsewhere.

Serengeti on the East Rand
The Acu Dev group is developing the 840 ha Serengeti golf estate beside the R21 highway just 7 km north-west of Johannesburg International Airport (set to be renamed OR Tambo International Airport). The minimum stand size is 1 000 m² and the site will include a 340 ha conservation area with free-roaming game.

Power Construction began the earthworks and services contracts for the first two phases of the 700-home residential component at the end of August 2006.

Gugulethu park
The NY 43 park in Gugulethu, Cape Town, has not only been equipped with standard playground equipment, it also includes facilities for indigenous games and a stage for informal performances.

The official opening took place in July 2006 with a tree-planting ceremony.

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INSPIRATION

Pedestrian-friendly at last!
Two interventions put pedestrians first. Is this the beginning of a new trend?

Could it be that Johannesburg is slowly making amends for its hostility towards pedestrians? Few cities are as badly planned when it comes to catering for pedestrians than the ‘City of Gold’. For first-time visitors, the myth that the sidewalks are paved with gold is quickly dispelled by the reality of dusty, unpaved walkways.

The city’s ‘apartheid era’ planning does not help – the huge buffer strips between neighbourhoods, once reserved for different races, make a marathon out of a leisurely walk.

Jo’burg is a ‘car city’. Without a car, one has to depend on very unreliable public transport in the form of minibus taxis or the notoriously erratic bus service.

Walking to a taxi rank or bus stop is simply unpleasant. To make it worse, many new roads are being built without proper provision for pedestrians. Even more alarming is that developers destroy pavements when they put up new shopping centres, offices, apartments and houses. But could this be changing? Urban Green File has taken note of two interventions in the urban environment – each making a bold statement: pedestrians are important users of city infrastructure and should be catered for in design and planning.

In Soweto, outside the Nasrec Expo Centre and adjacent to Soccer City and the new headquarters for the South African Football Association – to be used by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for the 2010 Soccer World Cup – a wide pedestrian-friendly pavement is in the making.

Lit by futuristic and ‘sporty’ street lights, this is a positive development that bodes well for the development of the precinct as the venue for the 2010 final.

In Killarney, the developer of the Splice apartments has made an effort to provide a properly constructed, well-lit and treed sidewalk for pedestrians.

The Johannesburg Development Agency and the developer of Splice should be commended for this initiative.

The use of indigenous trees, combined with stone packing, ground cover and a wide walkway is, in Urban Green File’s opinion, truly inspirational!

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INSULT

Locked away
In contrast to the inspirational approach to public space, one of Johannesburg’s major monuments remains locked away behind a fence.

Around the globe, a structure like the War Memorial in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, would be proudly displayed on a central traffic island (think Arc de Triomphe) or it would be accessible in a pedestrianfriendly public square or park.

But not in Johannesburg where a high-security fence keeps admirers out. What makes it more astounding is that the memorial was carefully positioned by its original designer on a round point where various tree-lined avenues and vistas meet. Yet the view is blocked from all directions. Perhaps this is an apt reflection of South African culture: putting a fence, or a 10-foot wall, around anything of value. Is there no respect for public space and art in our society?

The memorial, also known as the ‘winged Mona Lisa’, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

It was originally erected by the Rand Regiments Memorial in memory of British soldiers who died in the 1899-1902 Anglo Boer War and rededicated in 2002 on the centenary of the war. It is now inscribed:

“To all those who lost their lives in the Anglo Boer War 1899-1902. To the combatants: Boer and Briton, black and white South Africans and other nationals. To the non-combatants: men, women and children who died as a result of the fighting, or during the sieges or in the concentration camps.”

The memorial is in the grounds of the South African Museum of Military History, beside the Johannesburg Zoo.

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PLANNING PERSONALITY

Rashid Seedat: Vision for Jo’burg
Jo’burg initiatives
While some of the initiatives and undertakings may seem ambitious on the part of the authorities, they are undoubtedly evidence of a positive, proactive attitude to the development of Johannesburg.

Rashid Seedat is palpably enthusiastic about, and dedicated to, making Johannesburg a better place for all residents, and moving it forward to becoming an African city of world-class standing.

For Jo’burg Vision
As director of the central strategy unit (formerly the corporate planning unit) in the office of the executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Seedat’s undertakings are considerable. Essentially, his team has three responsibilities: the vision and long-term strategy for the city; the integrated development plan (IDP) of which the spatial development framework (SDF) is a component; and performance management, including the service delivery and budget implementation plan (SDBIP) in conjunction with the budget office.

Seedat has also been intimately involved with evolving the growth and development strategy (GDS), which was launched after the elections on May 18, 2006.

“This is our long-term perspective for the future of Johannesburg – our vision and strategy,” he said. “It brings the long-term focus for the city together in an integrated, comprehensive approach, in a single document,” explained Seedat. “Everything that we have been looking at over the years is related and the GDS pulls all the layers of plans and strategies together.”

Economic growth and development

According to Seedat, the city’s approach to economic growth aims to link up to national government’s new economic development agenda, the accelerated and shared growth initiative of South Africa (ASGISA). This approach is underpinned by two intentions:
1.         The most significant is to make Johannesburg a more attractive place to do business by reducing the cost of doing business. “For example, if we make it a safer city, the security costs that accrue to businesses (security guards and alarms, among others) are reduced; by becoming more efficient in the services we provide, the cost of delivering these services to businesses becomes less; and if we deal effectively with public transport and reduce congestion, the efficiency of businesses is improved,” Seedat explained.
2.         Although highly experimental at this stage, the city is also looking at the possibility of demand for goods and services providing a stimulus for economic growth. The important objective here is to move more people to the middle strata of society, Seedat pointed out. “From a city strategy point of view, we are looking at how we can work with the business community to open up opportunities around goods and services, for example, by creating access for the ‘working poor’ to credit facilities, financial institutions and retail centres,” he explained. “We are also looking at accommodating the needs of cross-border traders with markets and storage facilities because Jo’burg is a gateway city for wholesale trade in Africa.” But there are risks involved like “people getting into serious debt,” Seedat warned.

“But, by enabling people to lead well-rounded lives that are not just about surviving, their dependence on the state is reduced and economic growth is stimulated.”

12-point plan
Johannesburg’s growth and development strategy incorporates a vision for the city, broken down into 12 sectors:
1.         Economic development
2.         Human and community development
3.         Housing
4.         Infrastructure and services
5.         Environment
6.         Spatial form and urban management
7.         Transportation
8.         Health
9.         Safety
10.       Financial sustainability
11.       Governance
12.       Corporate and shared services

The City of Johannesburg believes that, by growing the economy, poverty is addressed and people are empowered; by delivering services, people are further empowered to find jobs and access education; and environmental issues and sustainable growth of the city are also taken in hand.

For Rashid Seedat, the significance of 2010 is about focusing the mind and setting an inflexible deadline. Public transport, for instance, should be sorted out by then so that only consolidation and maintenance may be required thereafter.

Poverty alleviation
“We believe that it’s important to provide a social package of services that will ensure that most residents of Jo’burg are protected from the ravages of poverty and unemployment,” said Seedat. Progress is being made in this direction.

The aim is to ensure that everyone has access to the full spectrum of community services, including schools, clinics, fire stations, community centres, libraries, sports and recreation centres – support mechanisms that make well-rounded individuals, believes Seedat.

The intention is to accelerate the process to ensure that these services become accessible everywhere in the city.

The city also aims to make certain that every household has full access to water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal.

“The intention is to increase service levels to be higher than the national norms and standards,” Seedat pointed out. “For example, national norms specify one standpipe within 200 m of every household – we want to increase this until eventually there is a yard connection for every household.”

The idea is to progressively move towards free basic services for each eligible household – 200 l of water free-of-charge every day; 50 kWh of electricity a month (enough for lighting and some appliances); and weekly-round collection of refuse.

“It is inevitable that the more successful Jo’burg is, the more migrants it will attract – this applies to cities worldwide,” continued Seedat. “We need to manage this process in a humane manner by finding a way of absorbing these people into the mainstream and ensuring that they don’t become marginalised; we have to manage the process of urbanization and the intention is to provide basic services for everyone while they are in this city.”

Service delivery
The vision for infrastructure and basic services, according to the growth and development strategy, is: “A city with a backbone of efficient and well-maintained service infrastructure, extended to all, so that all citizens and stakeholders can access an expanding package of innovative, safe, reliable and affordable services.”

Long-term strategic interventions planned for the delivery of these services include eliminate of all backlogs in access to basic services; progressive increase in the share of the population with access to higher levels of services (taking account of affordability and environmental conditions); and solving the ‘non-account holder problem’ to ensure that all eligible households have access to an agreed package of free basic services.

Programme Phakama is working towards:
*            a single revenue management value chain across all relevant business units (Johannesburg Water and City Power, among others);
*            establishing a single customer interface value chain across all relevant business units;
*            ensuring both value chains are supported by a single integrated IT system across all business units; and
*            establishing a new customer service and revenue organisation, rebuilt from bottom up.

Greening Jo’burg
By transforming open tracts of land into usable public spaces, the ‘green lung’ of the city is expanding, particularly in previously-deprived areas.

Environment
In any urban environment, the impacts of water, air and land pollution need to be addressed.

Seedat pointed out that the City of Johannesburg is undertaking a number of initiatives to address these environmental issues, including monitoring and testing air and water quality, and enforcing bylaws relating to pollution of the atmosphere and water courses by business and industry. Decision makers are also examining ways of lessening dependence on fossil fuels, such as coal, by broadening access to electricity and experimenting with alternative technologies such as smokeless cooking devices. As far as land pollution is concerned, the most obvious would be to keep the city clean, Seedat pointed out.

Resources
“As municipalities go, Johannesburg is relatively well-endowed but we do not have unlimited resources,” Seedat said.

“Over the medium term we feel we can mobilise sufficient resources to be able to do at least the basics and possibly undertake some additional projects,” he continued. “Before 2000, our record was problematic but, over the last five years, we have pursued our major priorities and have been successful in achieving a number of these.”

In terms of capacity, Seedat said Johannesburg would continue to pursue separate business entities stipulated in the iGoli 2002 process – now including Johannesburg Water, City Power and Pikitup – with distinct advantages in terms of establishing a culture of service delivery and attracting appropriate social skills, and it is a more transparent model from a financial point of view so that it is apparent when the city steps in to subsidise one of the business units.

Growth and development strategy
According to the City of Johannesburg’s GDS and IDP for 2006/11, the GDS presents the city’s understanding of the longer-term strategic direction it should take and future efforts, undertaken jointly with social partners, needed to accelerate economic growth and enhance development in a way that benefits all residents of Johannesburg, and contributes to the further transformation of South Africa as a whole.

This strategy is supported by nine investment programmes that have influenced the outcome of capital budget allocations:
1.         upgrading of marginalised areas;
2.         regeneration;
3.         corridor development;
4.         nodal;
5.         strategic transport interventions;
6.         strategic infrastructure investment plan;
7.         sustainable environment;
8.         2010; and
9.         housing.

These programmes are intended to provide a set of specific actions to address a number of issues around the provision, upgrading and maintenance of development and infrastructure.

The implementation of these programmes and projects will be the responsibility of the city’s members of the executive committee and core departments.

Focus on Soweto
From a spatial perspective, the City of Johannesburg has concentrated on developing Soweto to improve quality of life and to attract investors from the public and private sectors.

Strategic public transport network
The negative environmental and social impact of not having a good, affordable and efficient public transport system is obvious – excessive use of individual vehicles, congestion, difficulty accessing places of work and education (as evidenced in the school bus drivers’ strike) and a generally poorer quality of life. It is necessary to first address these issues from the institutional side, the domain of the Metro Transport authorities, across municipal boundaries and within the context of the broader urban region of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane so that at least the core part of the larger Gauteng urban region is accommodated. The strategic public transportation network for Johannesburg – a concept closely associated with the city’s spatial development framework – to develop dedicated public transport corridors between people’s residences and work. “At the moment, work on the Regina Mundi link through to Parktown is almost complete and it will continue north to Sunninghill,” explained Seedat. “Later, there will be an east-west link as well from Alexandra to Roodepoort,” he added. “The idea is to make it more efficient for public transport operators to function by reducing travelling time and fuel costs, and to address the negative impact of transport on the environment.”

Rashid Seedat
Rashid Seedat qualified with a bachelor of arts, higher diploma in development planning, and masters in public and development management from Wits University in Johannesburg. He was awarded a fellowship to attend the Local Government Centre at Warwick University in the UK between 1992 and 1993, and also studied at the Development Planning Unit of University College of London in 1993.

Prior to working for the City of Johannesburg, he was employed as a senior specialist in local government at Planact, a progressive non-governmental organisation, during the transition from apartheid to democracy. He was also active in a number of student, youth, community and political formations between 1980 and 1994 during the struggle against apartheid.

Seedat has worked for the city for more than 11 years in various capacities. He is now responsible for strategic planning (including the formulation of the IDP), strategic policy development and performance management. Intimately involved in the city’s transformation process (iGoli 2002), Seedat has also been part of the development of the GDS.

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CITY VISIT

The reluctant capital
Mafikeng, the ‘City of Goodwill’, is emerging from its post-‘Bop’ slumber and is on its way to asserting itself as the capital city of the North West Province.

Capital cities throughout the world usually have a strong identity. The appearance of prosperity and a monumental building style are commonplace, even in so-called ‘Third World’ countries where poverty is actually the norm.

Mafikeng has a long history as a capital city. First it was the capital of Goshen, which was a Boer republic established in the early 1880s (the name probably refers to the desert-like nature of the place, perhaps similar to the valley of Goshen where Moses and the Israelites once lived in Egypt). Then Mafikeng, strangely enough, served as the administrative capital of the Bechuanaland protectorate (present-day Botswana), probably the only administrative capital that was located outside of its territory.

In 1977, it became the capital of the former ‘homeland’ of Bophuthatswana, under the reign of the controversial Lucas Mangope. More recently, it was made the capital city of the North West province of South Africa.

Quite often, capital cities across the world are designed to reflect a certain image – think of Chandigarh (India), Brasilia (Brazil) and Canberra (Australia). However Mafikeng seems to be a ‘reluctant’ capital. Although wealth is evident in the extensive government buildings, there are,

John Seiler said, “extremes that are depressing and ripe with unintended irony”. Mafikeng appears unrooted. “Buildings relate badly to one another on the barren landscape on which they seem thrown down almost by chance rather than by any conscious intelligence,” added Seiler.

What is in a name?
Originally the name of the town was Mahikeng, which means ‘place among the rocks’ in Setswana. When the area was colonised, it was renamed Mafeking and, in 1977, the name changed again to Mafikeng to resemble the original name of the settlement. Mafikeng now incorporates Mmabatho (Setswana for ‘mother of the people’), the former Bop capital.

White elephants
Typical of the independent homelands, Mafikeng also has its fair share of ‘white elephants’. Probably the most striking example is Independence Stadium. Apparently its construction was accompanied by profligate corruption. The Israeli investor who profited most fled the homeland.

Economic activity
Retail nodes are located in the Mafikeng CBD and the former Mmabatho. As capital city of Bop, Mafikeng experienced large-scale construction of public buildings.

Colonial history
The Cape to Cairo railway line, envisaged by Cecil John Rhodes, reached Mafikeng in 1884. Evidence of this colonial past can be found everywhere.

Mmabatho and Mafikeng
The part of Mafikeng’s history that probably had the biggest impact on the spatial layout of the town happened in the last half of the previous century when the Tswana Territorial Authority declared its area the independent state of Bophuthatswana (Bop). Mmabatho was established as Bop’s seat of government on the western side of the railway line while Mafikeng’s historical CBD remained on the eastern side of the railway.

A town once divided
Mafikeng’s historical CBD remained on the eastern side of the Mafikeng faces a number of challenges – the most obvious being the spatial disjuncture of the town.

The entire town of Mafikeng has been racially integrated since 1980 (when Mafikeng opted to be included in Bop), which has given the city a unique multi-cultural flavour and social fabric by South African standards. There are people who live in the city from all over the world, many of whom arrived during the homeland era to teach at the then University of Bophuthatswana and other Bop institutions and to engage in the lucrative government contracts of the erstwhile Bophuthatswana. Today, the laid-back way of life and its friendly townsfolk have earned Mafikeng the name City of Goodwill.

The 1994 general elections were followed by an era of uncertainty: residents and investors were not sure whether or not Mafikeng would be the capital of the North West province.

Some provincial offices were relocated to Potchefstroom and Rustenburg. This was the ‘post-1994 flight’, according to Milton Mogape of the Central District Municipality. Investment was scarce up until about a year ago. Roger Groenewald of the Mafikeng Local Municipality said there has been an economic boom over the past year. Some residents believe that it can be partially ascribed to improved provincial governance. Two prominent and widely discussed projects are the proposed Mafikeng Industrial Development Zone (MIDZ) and the Mafikeng bio-diesel project (see page 30).

Spatial disjuncture
One of the more obvious challenges facing the town is its former homeland heritage. Mmabatho was established as Bop’s seat of government on the western side of the railway line while railway. When you enter the town, its mechanics are not really clear.

Proposals are on the table to promote the Mafikeng CBD as the main business district and the Mmabatho area as a regional node. Another regional node is proposed for the area surrounding the relatively recently developed The Crossing shopping complex. It is not clear whether or not a decision was made to opt for a multi-nucleus development model but in some way it seems inevitable.

The spatial disjuncture of Mafikeng is further highlighted by inconsistencies in the urban fabric. According to the most recent spatial development framework (SDF), only a quarter of the greater Mafikeng urban system consists of formally proclaimed areas that were planned according to a traditional grid pattern. The remainder consists of traditional villages established on tribal land with very few urban elements that could improve the legibility of Mafikeng.

These informal-like areas are also often subject to poverty. The official statistics state that Mafikeng has a 68% unemployment rate. According to Groenewald, these areas are also not always easy to develop as the majority of the land is tribal.

A significant portion of the land is owned by the province so developers experience some difficulty with land transfers.

Economic diversification
Mafikeng is dominated by government-related activities including education (North West University Mafikeng Campus and the International School of South Africa) and the options for conventional investment are somewhat limited. Industrial activity is practically non-existent – there is one existing cement quarry and plans to establish a tractor assembly plant. According to Groenewald, efforts have been made in the past to rezone sites from ‘light industrial’ to ‘commercial’ in order to attract other types of investment. Other initiatives include incentive schemes, special interest rates and the like. The former aerodrome area is also a proposed mixed land use area. But none of these initiatives have really taken off.

Role players hope that the proposed MIDZ will provide a platform to launch additional economic diversification.

Located on the banks of the Molopo River and situated 20 km from the Botswana border, Mafikeng has strong trade links with Botswana, something the proposed MIDZ also hopes to exploit.

Planning
Hoping to unlock the opportunities of the recent economic boom, the SDF for the Mafikeng local municipality was completed as recently as July 2006. According to Dawie Bos of Maxim Planning Solutions, this SDF has been informed by national and provincial planning guidelines (a topdown approach) while the consultative process and stakeholder involvement represent “development from below”.

Through a system of directing development along activity corridors and nodes, it is intended to realise the long-term vision of the municipality:

“To make Mafikeng Municipality a socioeconomic hub by striving for sustainable development and service delivery through public participation and optimal use of resources”.

Conceptual SDF
The spatial development framework (SDF) plans to establish a clear activity corridor through the CBD on the way to Botswana. Activity spines will link regional nodes. Growth is envisaged to take place primarily in a north-westerly direction, enhanced by the Mafikeng Industrial Development Zone. Urban containment is another issue raised in the SDF.

The future
Two major projects in Mafikeng hold promise for the town.

1.Mafikeng Industrial Development Zone
An industrial development zone (IDZ) is defined as a purpose-built industrial estate that is linked to an international port containing a customs secure area designated for the purposes of encouraging export manufacturing. The Mafikeng Industrial Development Zone (MIDZ) was registered on June 25, 2001 and is wholly-owned by the North West provincial government through the provincial Department of Finance and Economic Development.

According to its chief executive officer Ithumeleng Ditlhoiso, an application for the provisional IDZ operator permit has been submitted through the mechanisms set in place by the national Department of Trade and Industry. Access to land, development rights, bulk infrastructure and municipal utilities form an integral part of the application for a provisional IDZ, as well as determining its viability.

Although approval has not yet been granted, the MIDZ is going ahead with the servicing of 50 sites that would be developed as Phase 1 of the project.

Located adjacent to the Mafikeng airport, which has two commercial flights per day to and from Johannesburg, the MIDZ hopes that the airport will regain its international status (transferred to Pilanesburg).

The investment theme of the MIDZ is to become a world-class hub for the manufacture of hi-tech electronic components, wireless tracking and tracing equipment and systems, mineral beneficiation and the processing of agricultural products. Import and export of game and cattle are also planned and Ditlhoiso is very excited about the establishment of a ‘dry port’ and gateway for import and export transactions. Goods can be transferred from Walvis Bay in Namibia to South Africa via Mafikeng, saving lots of time and money by not importing through the busy ports of Durban and Cape Town.

The project will also include the establishment of a minerals cluster building within the IDZ for the beneficiation of minerals and the production of jewellery.

2. Bio-diesel
One of the anchor projects of the MIDZ is the Mafikeng bio-diesel project.

Launched in May 2005, it aims to set up a manufacturing plant in Mafikeng within the next four years (to have the plant fully operational by the end of November 2008).

Optimistically, the project’s website claims that altogether 60 000 ha will be utilised for the production of bio-diesel while an additional 13 000 jobs will be created over a period of 10 years. The Barolong Boora Tshidi tribe has made 45 000 ha available for this project.

Local labourers will be contracted to establish the infrastructure. There will also be a recruitment drive to employ as many of the local people as possible in the day-to-day running of the manufacturing plant.

Initially the company intends to produce in the region of 13 000 t of bio-diesel per annum. The project will be designed to produce up to 100 000 t of biodiesel with additional refinery units, depending on the availability of raw material (seeds), the availability of land and market demand. A number of different species of plant-based oils are being considered for this bio-diesel initiative.

The investment theme and designation of the Mafikeng industrial development zone are complemented by a structured land-use plan.

Various plants, including Moringa oleifera, Pappea capensis and Ximenia caffra are being cultivated on a trial basis for the Mafikeng bio-diesel project.

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ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND DESIGN

Towards green parking
What makes a parking area ‘green’? Simply reducing allocated space, for one, but also implementing environment-friendly measures for stormwater management, temperature control, durability and pollution control.

Town planning manuals refer to parking areas as ‘hard open spaces’ but they need not be just that. ‘Green parking’ techniques can be applied to reduce the total impervious surface of a site. Green parking refers to several techniques applied together to reduce the contribution of parking lots to the total impervious surface of a site. There are many aspects to sustainable or environment-friendly design. The provision of systems in harmony with nature to regulate the heating and cooling of buildings, minimize stormwater runoff and reduce waste creation are all part of this bigger picture.

Immediate interventions include reducing the number of parking lots created, minimising the dimensions of parking lots, using alternative pavers in overflow areas, bio-retention for the treatment of stormwater, shared parking and economic incentives for structured parking.

And the benefits to be enjoyed down the line include:
*            prevention of pollution at source;
*            removal of pollution before runoff is discharged;
*            control of discharge rates of stormwater
*            runoff; and
*            a pleasant experience for all users.

Growing need
There is a growing need to address the impact of hard open spaces on the environment in terms of influence on stormwater and therefore soil erosion and flood prevention.

Green parking techniques
1. Stormwater management
From a stormwater perspective, the application of green parking techniques in correct combination can dramatically reduce impervious cover and consequently the amount of stormwater runoff.

A basic rule is that the natural flow of water may not be obstructed. While this may fall under the jurisdiction of a local authority, it is subject to provincial and national policies such as the National Water Act, which requires all South African township development plans to show 1-in-100 year flood lines. A distinction is made between stormwater attenuation (designed to buffer the volume of stormwater run-off before releasing it to the natural watercourse) and stormwater detention (with a much more immediate function like emergency containment of stormwater run-off in places like parking areas, sports fields and upstream of road embankments).

Swales
Popular for controlling stormwater as an open drainage channel designed to detain, treat and/or infiltrate stormwater, the swale may or may not be vegetated.

Agricultural definitions describe it not as a channel but rather as a water-holding recess – a ditch on the contour that does not direct water but holds it and allows it to gradually infiltrate the soil downslope of it.

Soil and water run-off are caught in the swale, which becomes a fertile area. Gradual infiltration of water and nutrients and the dead roots of plants growing in the swale slowly improve soil structure downslope. When used in urban planning, swales may take various shapes and sizes being commonly constructed concrete channels for run-off water. When vegetated, they generally have engineered soil layers in combination with geotextile mats.

Bio-retention areas
For treating stormwater in a parking lot, these differ from swales in construction. Urban swales use engineered soil layers in a concrete channel. Bioretention areas are not constructed over concrete but over natural ground so that retained water can infiltrate. The run-off filters through the bed and is infiltrated into the subsurface or collected into an underground drain pipe and discharged into a stream or other stormwater facility. The uppermost layers may use geotextiles or other filtering media (such as lattice or honeycomb-shaped plastic grids) to ensure surface soil retention. These facilities can be attractively integrated into landscaped areas and maintained by commercial landscapers. Pollutant removal rates of bio-retention areas have not been directly measured but considered comparable to a dry swale, which removes 91% of total suspended solids, 67% of total phosphorous, 92% of total nitrogen, and 80% to 90% of metals. Green parking lots are also restricted to areas with naturally sandy soil allowing water to drain. If built over clay-based soil, the lot could be damaged as clay expands when saturated.

Alternative pavers
Alternative pavers are only recommended for overflow parking because of the considerable cost. These include gravel, cobbles, wood mulch, brick, grass pavers, turf blocks, natural stone, pervious concrete and porous asphalt, and generally require more specialised installation and maintenance than conventional asphalt or concrete. Permeable pavement is a multi-layer construction material allowing stormwater to drain through to the soil rather than allowing stormwater to become run-off with potential to contaminate soil and water with pollutants.

Permeable geotextile fabric is spread over a base layer of gravel to keep it stable but allow water to pass through. A top layer of sand and a concrete or plastic lattice grid complete the pavement. Spreading grass is finally planted for additional stability and texture.

Apartments in the Brickfields development, Johannesburg, are arranged around a central courtyard and parking space. Rather than specifying traditional paving blocks for the parking area, the architects opted for Congrass, which is a hard-lawn paver from Concor Technicrete, with openings for top soil and grass to be planted.

2. Pollution control
There is a fair amount of oil on our roads and parking surfaces in South Africa. Be it due to ageing or poorly maintained vehicles, the concentration of oil is expected to be higher in areas where these vehicles park. Unlike overseas, South African legislation does not appear to require runoff from parking areas to be filtered before it is discharged into the storm water system. One method widely applied internationally, but which cannot be proven effective, is the use of oil-grit separators on the storm water outlet from parking areas.

Essentially, this method uses a three chamber settling principle to allow sedimentation of particles, which are removed from the device by periodic cleaning. This method is not suited to clay conditions and it has not been proven to remove pollutants like heavy metals found in oil from run-off water. While it’s best to prevent pollution at source, it may be prudent to install grease and sediment traps upstream of storm water outfall. There’s room here for a design suited to local conditions.

3. Temperature control
Trees and canopies are successfully combined to reduce the heat island effect caused by reflection from cars. This technique is easily applied and effective as soon as young trees are tall enough to provide shade. The choice of trees is important: while good planning recommends deciduous trees on the north side of a building to allow more sun in winter, the same doesn’t hold true for parking areas.

In South Africa, parked vehicles always get hot so tree varieties that do not shed their leaves in winter are better.

Ventilation is an aspect that affects parkades more than open lots. New technologies are making the design and monitoring of these areas more effective. Natural ventilation is always applicable but detailed study is required in some areas and types of parking garage design to determine effectiveness. Shielding from the ingress of external water, such as rain, must also be taken into account.

4. Durability
Durability affects most decisions regarding the surfacing of parking areas. Asphalt is predominantly used to carry typical traffic loads, requiring an aggregate layer of 80 mm to 100 mm. Using permeable surfaces requires an aggregate layer twice as thick to carry the loads. Coupled with penetrable surfaces, which replenish groundwater, this strongly supports green parking.

But it must be stressed that these permeable surfaces are not intended for high traffic volumes and heavy vehicles. Porous pavements may be used with the dual benefit of improving infiltration of water while reducing traffic noise but they are meant for low-traffic, low-speed lots. Driving fast over a permeable surface would feel like driving over a cobblestone road.

An attenuation dam on a parking lot at the Carlswald ‘lifestyle centre’ in Midrand, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, was designed to be a water feature.

An innovative solution in the parking lot at Siemens Park in Midrand: canopies provide shade but there is space for indigenous trees to grow.

Greening small parking lots, as in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank, is relatively easy and not too expensive.

5. Reducing the surface area
A shared parking arrangement could include the use of the same parking lot by an office space with peak parking demand during the week and a church, for example, with week-end and evening parking requirements.

In mixed-use projects with a shared parking arrangement, there is often full garage occupancy. And this could have the additional benefit – for the garage owner and community at large – of eliminating ‘empty night garage syndrome’.

Structured parking may be necessary to cut costs but building upwards or downwards could help minimise surface parking.

Zoning specifies the number of spaces for parked automobiles. The designer must work within local codes in order to satisfy these requirements.

Steps to green parking
1.     Determine the infiltration rate of the native soil.
2.     Determine the direction of stormwater flow and where it needs to be  collected.
3.     Determine opportunities for incorporating permeable pavement and natural drainage landscapes:
                  calculate the drainage area being directed to each natural drainage landscape area – flow should be distributed to multiple landscaped areas; and
                  incorporate permeable pavement in areas where appropriate, especially in overflow parking areas, fire lanes and other low-use areas, determining how this reduces the total impervious surface area and adjusting the total area required for flow control and the treatment of stormwater.
4.     Determine the required dimensions for natural drainage landscape areas and ensure that the receiving area is practical and sufficient. In certain areas of the USA, there are guidelines to determine the ratio between height of vegetation and the depth of water quality treatment.
5.     Identify areas of overflow and where a structure is to be connected to the storm sewer.  

Shared parking in mixed-use areas and structured parking are also green parking techniques that can further reduce the conversion of land to impervious cover. The emphasis is very much on design in building a new facility or in the refurbishment of an existing structure.

Two considerations in creating parking space are the surface area to be covered and the nature of traffic it will accommodate.

Some alternative surfaces are not well suited to high-volume or heavy-vehicle traffic.

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WASTE AND POLLUTION MANAGEMENT

Reaping environmental rewards
Decaying landfill waste generates mostly methane gas, which could be lucrative for municipalities and beneficial for the environment. Is South Africa reaping the rewards?

Although often shrouded in controversy, landfills are integral as part of the urban fabric. Maintaining air quality in the vicinity of landfills remains an ongoing issue. However commercial extraction of methane from landfill sites is a tried-and-tested technology with literally hundreds of examples in the UK and USA alone. The technology is so mature that companies offer packaged plants, which can literally be delivered to site and connected to produce electricity that can be fed back into the local grid. What initiatives are underway to ensure that South Africa plays an active role in this global initiative to combat climate change and simultaneously realise opportunities for sustainable development?

The state of the nation
Ekurhuleni is the latest of our metropolitan municipalities to forge ahead with landfill gas exploitation. The eThekwini metro is a case in point where vision, determination and lobbying seem to have paid off. Cape Town’s initiative seems to be taking a nap while ‘analysis paralysis’ prevails. Much good work has been done in the creation of clean development mechanisms by farsighted officials and engineers but the Cape Town landfill gas train seems temporarily, one hopes, to have run out of steam.

Private landfill operator EnviroServ has been quick to exploit its potential reserves at the Chloorkop landfill near Kempton Park in Gauteng. In October 2005, the company signed an agreement with Japan Carbon Finance for the extraction of 1-million tons of greenhouse gases over seven years. With certified emission reductions (CERs) of between US$4 to US$8 each, these CERs or carbon credits realise a profit when sold on the international market.

According to Matthew Havinga, regional operations manager for EnviroServ, the final environmental impact assessment document for the development of Chloorkop is with the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and

Environment and a final record of decision was expected at the time of going to press. Other sites operated by EnviroServ are under investigation and feasibility studies are underway but no definite projects apart from Chloorkop have been concluded.

eThekwini: setting the pace
Lindsay Strachan, project manager for the eThekwini metro’s Durban solid waste department and champion of efforts to exploit landfill gas, told Urban Green File that, in Durban, more than 25% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to landfill sites.

Until the Kyoto Protocol came into effect, the utilisation of landfill gas was not economically viable as the cost of Eskom-generated electrical power was distinctly ‘cheap’ at 12c/kWh compared to 22c/kWh from landfill gas generation, according to Strachan.

The eThekwini project involves harvesting methane gas at the metro’s sites on Bisasar Road, in Mariannhill, and at La Mercy.

Durban’s landfill-gas-to-electricity-generation project could produce 10 MW of ‘green power’. The project will use proven technology, feeding the landfill gas into purpose-built, spark-ignition engines, each with a 500 kW to 1 MW electricity-generation capacity, Strachan explained. Planning for a Durban landfill-gas-to-electricity clean development mechanism (CDM) project began in 2002 and the metro signed a memorandum of understanding agreement with the World Bank’s prototype carbon fund (PCF) in 2003. The PCF was the first of its kind for the purchase of carbon emission credits at the time.

A year later, the mayor signed an emissions reductions purchase agreement (ERPA) in Cologne, Germany, with the PCF as the funding mechanism of the World Bank for Carbon Finance. In terms of this agreement, eThekwini agreed to develop a landfill-gas-to-electricity project, which will deliver emission reduction credits for sale to the PCF. The agreement involves the sale of a total of 3,8-million tons of carbon credits at a value of US$15-million.

Today, however, there are several other purchasers of carbon credits with several linked brokers in South Africa. This development within the carbon market has caused the metro to reconsider its options.

The PCF purchase offer was US$3,95/t or per CER credit whereas the international price for CDM-derived CERs is trading as high as US$8.

The eThekwini metro has decided to continue with the World Bank agreement on a smaller component of the CDM project, and to open the larger component (the Bisasar Road landfill) to other purchasers of CERs. This decision could increase revenue by R80-million. The metro has the option of going to the CDM world market.

The project comprises 700 000 t on Component 1 (Mariannhill and La Mercy) and 3,1-million t on Component 2 (Bisasar), according to Strachan. It will draw additional revenue from electricity sales to the value of about R91,4-million.

Construction of the 2 MW potential Component 1 with gas recovery wells and pipes to deliver gas to a power-generation system is set to begin before the end of 2006. Construction on the Bisasar Road landfill was scheduled to begin in July 2006 but bureaucratic issues have led to delays.

The impact of this project is high – the metro has been approached by several other cities worldwide seeking technical assistance with landfill gas utilisation CDM projects. Officials at eThekwini have even assisted with proposed projects in Maputo (Mozambique), Kampala (Uganda), Tehran (Iran) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). But in spite of all this knowledge, virtually no requests have been received from any South African municipalities while much reinventing of the wheel and politicking is taking place, Strachan lamented.

Ekurhuleni: exploring opportunities
The Ekurhuleni project began on Johannesburg’s ‘East Rand’ with a small-scale pilot project, including two to four wells and a 300 Nm³/h flare at each site in 2004.

The wells were pumped for gas and the yields monitored over a six-month trial period.

The next stage will be the design and development of a full-scale gas extraction and flaring project on the four waste disposal sites within the metro. After six to 12 months of experience with gas flaring, the project will move to the use of the extracted gas to derive energy where this is found to be technically and financially viable.

Initial estimates indicate that the project could reduce between 1,6-million t and 3,2-million t of carbon dioxide equivalent over six years. This equates to the same number of credits. The value of these credits to Ekurhuleni could be at least R60-million. The implementation of the CDM project and the sale of carbon credits is a specialised and extremely complex process. The metro has therefore engaged a specialist consulting group for advice on developing and implementing the CDM project. In order to realise the sale of carbon credits, project consultant

Palmer Development Group, has suggested a specific bidding process. The bid for the sale of CERs has been advertised locally and internationally, and the closing date for the submission of bids was September 12, 2006. According to Riana Becker of Ekurhuleni, nine prospective ‘buyers’ submitted bids and the project team is in the process of evaluating the bid proposals that have been received.

Towards greener pastures?
Landfill gas utilisation has been tried with very limited success in South Africa due mainly to our low electricity costs and the absence of tax breaks or other government incentives to develop alternative sources of energy. But this hasn’t stopped entrepreneurial municipal engineers from developing and refining systems.

In a nutshell, landfill gas extraction wasn’t financially viable on its own but the Kyoto Protocol has levelled the playing field by creating the carbon credits market incentive, which specifically favours developing countries and those that can show meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

South Africa is well placed to exploit this market and some municipalities have responded quickly by not only placing their carbon credits on the market but also generating viable electricity at costs less than they could sell it to domestic consumers.

So all the factors seem to be in place:
*            proven technology;
*            plentiful supplies of ‘free’ methane fuel;
*            demand for energy, either electrical or fuel;
*            environmentally-sound disposal of problematic gas;
*            vastly improved air quality; and
*            a carbon credit scheme affording payment from countries and agencies wanting to buy credits.

With the potential win-win situation offered up on a platter, and the widespread availability of mature technology, it is difficult to understand why landfill gas extraction is taking so long to become a reality.

Like so many issues of a similar nature, the reinvention of this particular wheel is neither necessary nor desirable.

Gas flaring
Durban’s landfill-gas-to-electricity-generation project could produce 10 MW of ‘green power’. The Bisasar Road landfill could generate 6 MW to 8 MW of sustained power for about 10 to 12 years while the Mariannhill and La Mercy sites could afford 2 MW of renewable energy power.

Commercial gas extraction
In 2004, the Ekurhuleni municipality began a pilot project to extract landfill gas from four of its large landfill sites – Weltevreden, Rooikraal, Rietfontein and Simmer & Jack. Test flares were installed to determine the quality and quantity of landfill gas.

Landfill gas
Decaying landfill waste generates a cocktail of nasty gases. Methane is by far the largest component. Unless tapped, these gases simply dissipate into the atmosphere where they contribute to the problem of poor air quality, foul smells and the greenhouse effect, which was first discovered and understood in the early 1970s.