The Spatial Development Framework reflects the spatial vision and objectives aimed at steering a city’s future economic growth and building investor confidence. In essence, the SDF presents a possible future whilst being cognisant of the past, present and future growth. The importance of Spatial Development Framework (SDF) in development cannot be overemphasised, SDF plays an important role in shaping the spatial development of cities, their sustainability and inclusiveness as well as to assist them to recognise their true development potential.

How Does it Influence Growth?

The SDF can be used as a defining tool of facilitating a transformative agenda to set up strategies that will lead to the realisation of a city’s vision of building a compact, inclusive and connected city. The SDF being a long term strategic plan, identifies economic nodes for stimulating growth, areas for housing needs and services. Importantly, the SDF identifies the main challenges and opportunities in a city, which could be defined as priority areas used in the city infrastructure investment model to stimulate growth.

The SDF sets the guiding vision that builds a concrete spatial strategy for the realisation of bridging the spatial and social barriers that exists in our societies. Transformative Areas is one key spatial strategy that could be identified in the framework to unlock investment for future urban growth. The Transformation Zone includes areas where investment is prioritised for future urban intensification and growth, as it has the capacity to trigger positive effects on a wider scale. The strategy focuses on creating compact developments of inclusive residential densities around public transit and economic hubs.

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The Transformation Zone also indicates areas where the developmentof detailed spatial plans and where they do not exist already, will be prioritised. Building opportunities in neglected areas of the city and tacking issues of fragmented development triggers investor confidence. Another important strategy is that of the Protection of the Natural Areas, this one is a key element in the structuring of the city’s development. The SDF identifies natural assets that should be protected from development for the betterment of a city’s economic growth.

The natural assets are seen as irreplaceable assets that provide an ecosystem of services and not simply vacant land available for residential development. The emphasis is to protect these areas from a SDF perspective, done to make surrounding developed parts of the cities more sustainable, liveable and valuable (socially, financially and in terms of green infrastructure). As such, the protection of natural assets must be the starting point for all planning, land use management and development.

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How is Spatial Development

Framework Stimulating Development? Unlocking development opportunities around existing and future public transport nodes focusing on transit oriented development nodes is a driver for economic growth. Diversity and intensification is an important element used to address the challenge on the lack of land resources and reducing costs of providing infrastructure services.

By developing mixed use nodes this in turn enhances economic growth, allowing for a city to function as a liveable area with access to job opportunities and a wide range of urban amenities. The nodes are focal points of growth in the city and should be seen as such, support for these areas is vital and should be through an extension of development rights in terms of density and land uses and most importantly capital infrastructure investment.

Therefore, it is vitally important that we take cognizance of the importance of SDF in the developmental structure as it represents a key development policy that accelerates economic growth and reduces that added pressure of spatial imbalances.

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