Town Planning in South Africa
What is Town Planning?
In the sphere of South Africa’s bustling urban development, town planning, also known as town and regional planning, or urban and regional planning, is an essential and complex field of study that shapes the foundations of our communities. Despite their integral role in the conception and growth of our cities and towns, town planners often go unrecognized. Their expertise lies in laying out the basic infrastructures and ensuring that the community functions efficiently.
A prime example of their craft is the meticulously planned Waterfall City in Midrand, a marvel of modern urban development. From deciding the ideal location for the Mall of Africa to the strategic placement of office parks and residential complexes, every detail was meticulously conceived by a team of dedicated town planners.
The Profession of Town Planning in South Africa
A town planner is a professional who specializes in the field of town and regional planning. In South Africa, these professionals are categorized by the South Africa Council for Planners (SACPLAN) into Candidate Planner, Technical Planner, and Professional Planner. More details about these categories can be found on the official SACPLAN website.
The Everyday Life of a Town Planner
Town planners, whether working in the public or private sector, serve a range of essential duties:
Public Sector Planners work on outlining government development directions, evaluating planning policies and by-laws, and many more.
Private Sector Planners engage in development planning, land use application, and contract with the public sector for various projects.
Becoming a Professional Town Planner
To embark on the path to becoming a professional town planner, one must earn a degree in town and regional planning from a recognized higher education institution (NQF Level 7). It’s necessary to register as a student town planner with SACPLAN during the course of your studies. Upon graduation, you can upgrade to a candidate town planner status. After two years of experience in this role, you’re eligible to register as a professional town planner.
South African Universities Offering Town Planning Courses
South Africa boasts an array of prestigious institutions offering qualifications in town planning, including:
University of Cape Town (UCT)
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
University of Pretoria (UP)
Durban University of Technology (DUT)
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
University of Venda (UNIVEN)
University of Stellenbosch (US)
University of Johannesburg (UJ)
University of Free State (UFS)
North-West University (NWU)
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
A Word of Advice from a Professional Town Planner
Though town and regional planning is a rewarding field financially, it’s important to remember that opportunities to work as a town planner are limited in South Africa. It’s advisable to research thoroughly and explore the market before stepping into this field.