stepSA News

Social facility investment:
preparing for urban growth

CSIR Built Environment has recently completed an assessment of social facility backlogs for the City of Tshwane. The empirical evidence and results of the analysis serve as key inputs to the social facility planning of the City, the facility management plans for individual line departments and the City’s Integrated Development Planning (IDP) process. The goal of the analyses was to support sustainable and high impact capital investment / expansion. Social facility location planning involves a process of accessibility analysis, which has been developed and effectively applied by the CSIR in several metros over the past decade. The assessment was undertaken for the City of Tshwane’s 2014 population and its 2021 projected population. Considering projected population growth, the approach enables metros to ensure that access for citizens to key services is improved over the medium-long term.

The project undertook a status quo analysis for the supply and demand of social facilities which includes a range of municipal facilities such as ambulance services, fire stations, community halls, parks and sports facilities, as well as provincial and national facilities such as libraries, schools and clinics. The accessibility analysis uses agreed upon social facility provision standards with regard to acceptable access distances and minimum facility thresholds (capacity) as key input parameters and makes use of a GIS-based accessibility analysis tool. Recommendations have been made with respect to the need for both new and expanded facilities.

The analysis assesses current provision and access levels and identifies areas where there is insufficient facility capacity to meet the demand for services or where the service is located too far away from users. The outputs inform current plans and pro-actively contribute to more sustainable development and well-provisioned settlements.

Based on the backlog analysis, spatially specific intervention strategies to improve the levels of access in the areas of greatest need were developed. This includes recommending increases in facility capacity and/or the addition of new, well-located facilities. Some recommendations have also been made with respect to the reconsideration of selected provision standards where these were considered to be unsustainable with regard to suitable available land, utilization rates and operational factors.

Implementation of the results supports the development of well serviced cities and could ultimately shorten the distances citizens have to travel to access these important services. The study, completed in June 2016, also serves as key input to brief newly appointment councillors with respect to the status quo of the provision levels of key social facilities

The project promotes greater co-operation across provincial and local planning spheres especially in terms of health, education and library services through the alignment of access standards and integrated planning in targeted areas that will guide spatial development plans.

For more information on this project and the accessibility planning methodology that has been developed by the CSIR, contact Hunadi Mokgalaka ( or Chéri Green (

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