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Presentation Flexible Planning @ SAPI2014 Marrit van der sSchaar


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I was asked to present about my experiences on Flexible Planning at the SAPI conference Planning Africa 2014 in Durban (20-22 October 2014).

The conference focused on integral and inclusive planning. As a human geographer I presented a project that I started in the Netherlands; Flexible Planning. The idea for Flexible Planning evolved from several projects I worked on in which planning schemes restricted or blocked the realisation of plans. I started to look for a new way to implement planning schemes and came across several questions;

Why not get rid of planning schemes in certain areas and by doing that inviting stakeholders (people who live there, work there or spend time there) to think about what they would like to see in the area.
What happens if instead of stating ‘activities that are allowed’, and therefore excluding a lot of other possible wanted activities, one states ‘these activities are not allowed’.
Planning regulations in South Africa are quite similar to the ones in the Netherlands. Therefore I pleaded to start experimenting with flexible planning in South Africa as well and I think that many areas would benefit from it.

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Presentation Flexible Planning @ SAPI2014 Marrit van der sSchaar

  1. 1. Flexible planning & innovative approach Marrit van der Schaar 21 October 2014
  2. 2. Content • Who am I? • Very similar planning regulations SA and NL • Economic crisis brought to light ‘old- fashioned’ planning • Experiment Flexible Planning • Vision, communication and trust is key to success • Changing perspective makes great places in SA
  3. 3. Who am I? • Human Geographer, MsC. • Y-generation, perky/bold • Worked on Social housing and Urban planning issues @Platform31 – Flexible Planning – Transformation office- residential • Moved to Johannesburg in December 2013 • Maboneng Precinct • Author of the blog:
  4. 4. What is an experiment? • Exists 30 years from Ministry of Internal and Kingdom Relations  feet on the ground • Problem? Research and test • 3 years • Outside law • Monitor and evaluate • Up scale, implement It is not a pilot project: experiments never fail
  5. 5. Main similarities and differences in Planning schemes South Africa • National Building Regulation, Environmental laws, Safety regulations • Zoning in Planning: regulated by government (standardised) • Local government makes city planning • IDP • No obligation to renew Planning Scheme Netherlands • National Building Regulation, Environmental laws, • Zoning in Planning: regulated by government (standardised) • Local government makes city planning • Vision before making Planning Scheme • 10 year Planning Scheme with obligation to renew • Holistic approach for more than 10 yeas.
  6. 6. Problem: Rigid Planning • Financial crisis 2008 • Many vacant offices and need for housing • Small entrepreneurs • Regulations and laws from rebuilding the country after WWII • Different lifestyles and wishes consumer • Planning not transparent and bureaucratic
  7. 7. Solution: Make it easier! • Cut back on regulations but ensure safety etc • Makes it easier for small initiatives • Costs less money for municipality + initiatives • Quick reaction to change of local needs • More transparent
  8. 8. Changes needed in law
  9. 9. Ground Breaking Experiment • 6 municipalities: Amsterdam, Maastricht, Den Helder, Tynaarlo, Overbetuwe, Beuningen
  10. 10. Getting approval • Outside the law: Experiment status • Ministry of Internal and Kingdom Relations + Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment • Council of State Act & Approval House of Representatives • Municipalities and their Councils
  11. 11. How to go about?
  12. 12. Keys to success / Lessons learned • It is difficult!! • Revise the planning scheme of a certain area: is it not to restricted and old fashioned? • Communication: internally and external is very important • Have trust • It takes time • Think about what is not desirable instead of what you want • Raises awareness and ownership • Different places, different approach
  13. 13. How can it help South Africa? • Different perspective on urban planning • Holistic approach: break with Apartheid legacy • Clean up legislation: new times, new requirements • Many small entrepreneurs and initiatives: use them! • An experiment can help stimulate innovative thinking • Experiment status makes people take risks • It deals with practical problems, you need to address them
  14. 14. Final remarks • Inspiring and some open doors • Book recommendations: – Jane Jacobs: The death and life of great American Cities (1963) – Doug Saunders: Arrival City (2011) • Experiments on: – RDP apartments – Breaking down the walls – Flexible Planning
  15. 15. Thank you Marrit van der Schaar
  16. 16. Questions?