Ivory Park is large township in the Midrand area, with a high unemployment rate, and a history of minimum investment in infrastructure. As part of a larger plan of local development, a multi-purpose sport and community project was envisaged with the aim of establishing a multi-functional precinct which would address community needs for various age groups and act as a catalyst for community development.
The centre includes a library, a senior citizens service centre, a youth centre, a Council pay-point and transport facilities. The entire layout is adjacent to a major sporting stadium, a new primary school and a major road through the Ivory Park township area. A pedestrian movement network and public transport modes link the various amenities in this precinct. The roads around the precinct can be closed off to facilitate a community market and other small-scale business opportunities.
The construction of the precinct evidences a new way of implementing urban regeneration. One of the major aims of this project has been to empower community participation, develop a sense of community ownership, and train members of the community. It was the intention of the project to generate economic development within the community, and all building work was done by local contractors.
Particular emphasis was placed on the inclusion and participation of local youth groups. A thorough needs analysis was performed with a view to developing an appropriate skills development programme within the context of the development. Local youths were trained in landscaping and grassing skills, and were contracted for the landscaping and ongoing maintenance thereof. In addition, the youth will administer bookings for the basketball and cricket net facilities as well as the general office administration of the precinct.
This project is a community based, multi-functional initiative, which provides a mix of sporting, cultural and economic activities in a practical, attractive environment. Democratic leadership by local councilors has been translated into a highly professional project by the town planning officials, with ongoing community support and administration by the local youth group. The project has positive and beneficial impact on the community, both in terms of its development and its resources.
"This project is the creation of a beacon for the area, not only giving it identity, but also indicating a coming-together of hope, opportunity and community spirit" Marius Pieters, Senior Town Planner, Midrand.
Innovation: The design concept of the precinct integrates a pedestrian movement network, public transport modes, community amenities and other facilities into a "compact city" ideal. The community was involved in the planning, and was preferred contractors for the development. The provision for the administration of the precinct by the youth group, in addition to the training and contracting of youth for the basic landscaping and grassing, and the maintenance thereof.
Poverty impact: The construction of the precinct provided jobs for local contractors and labourers. Job creation is generated by the precinct itself, i.e. employment opportunities available in the library, senior citizens' centre, pay-points and the youth centre. Local economic development is stimulated through maintenance contracts for the precinct. The youth group was provided with training in landscaping, and thereafter allocated the maintenance contract for the precinct; in addition, the youth group was given the opportunity to administer the precinct and generate an income from this activity. The provision of the various facilities address development in the context of the previous total lack of community amenities, and provides convenient, accessible, multi-purpose facilities for various age groups and interests which were previously not available to residents of Ivory Park. Opportunities for small retailers and businesses as a result of the creation of an area that will attract large numbers of people, especially during sporting events. Access to training and skills enhancement programmes will prepare the community for employment outside of the project.
Replication: The concept, basic designs and integration of various community activities into one central precinct is replicable in townships throughout the country as a low cost, effective and visually attractive community centre. This integrated approach is definitely a model for potential use by many other municipalities.