Authors: Mark Oranje & Pierre Voges

Keyword: cities, human settlement planning, poverty, spatial planning, urbanisation

SDG: SDG1, SDG11

Agenda 2063: A1

Despite the urgent need for local economic development in South Africa, Local Economic Development (LED) as area of professional endeavour/activity has largely failed to live up to this need. In this article, an alternative method for approaching urban planning, by focusing on the ‘bottom-up’ approach and urban renewal was explored. The urban renewal work of the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality is used as a case study of a ‘successful example of an LED-initiative’. By taking into account the needs of the customer (or local community), a respect for difference, a conscious drive to ensure participation of, and benefit for all affected parties, keeping the eye on the ball, a desire to learn and innovate, and a pragmatic actionorientation, the MBDA achieved success in its local economic development initiatives. The value of this article lies in the experience of lessons learned, the overall understanding of urban planning, and the necessity for urban planning to respond to the local economy of a particular city.