Data, Analytics and Spatial Planning in Johannesburg: A way forward

  • They push for a partnership and collaboration based model, which requires solid governance frameworks and regulatory clarity, as well as the establishment of common data sharing agreements and licensing regimes.
  • This phase also calls for a greater number of stakeholders, and the rise of data intermediaries, and greater accessibility and findability of high value datasets.
  • They advocate for bolstered public competence and the strengthening of accountability mechanisms, to support rights-based data re-use.
  • To create the technical infrastructure for re-use at the local level, there is a need to invest in Subnational Capacity, Guidance, Legal Frameworks and the development of best practice.
  • They call for actors in both public and private sector agencies and organisations to overcome the tendency towards data protectionism, and the establishment of an infrastructure system that protects privacy while boosting innovation.
  • There is also a need to document and experiment with different operational models that are “fit for purpose”, and to articulate value and build an evidence base of the impact of data re-use for public interest purposes.
  • Remove regulatory barriers to promote connectivity and access to data and cloud services, and enable competition;
  • Provide for institutional mechanisms for the governance of data and cloud services;
  • Support the development of small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs); and
  • Provide for research, innovation, and human capital development.
  • Data-driven urban analytics and platforms: As presented in our first blog, emerging digital tools like OneCity occupy a niche space in the urban development sphere. This is because their potential to combine multiple data sources and analytics into a single platform enables greater synchronsation between spatial planning aspirations with property developers’ investment goals. Such a platform could deepen collaborative planning, expedite development processes, and over time, increase the likelihood of achieving spatial transformation and sustainable development goals. There are opportunities for research in tracking the efficacy of deploying this and other platforms with a revenue-earning component within a South African context over time.
  • Planning, investment, and property market intelligence platforms and methodologies: In addition, it may be useful to compare the OneCity methodology to existing methodologies and spatial analytics platforms prevalent in South Africa, both within the public and private sector.
  • Though the plantech and proptech sector in South Africa is still in its emergent stage, it would be critical to assess the property market intelligence available to the private sector in Johannesburg, and the methodologies used to capture and analyse data. Additional inquiry could explore how current private sector data providers and analytics service providers currently meet the demand of property developers, and existing gaps in this field.
  • From the public sector, there are opportunities to explore the intersection of data, integrated planning and proptech for coordinated investment and sustainable development in South Africa. This would include documentation and exploration of the efficacy of platforms and technologies such as the investment prioritisation model used in the Johannesburg Strategic Infrastructure Platform (JSIP), methodologies used in the City Nodal Review Policy, or the methodologies proposed in the Cities Infrastructure Delivery and Management Systems.
  • Modelling urban infrastructure accessibility: The benefits of improved infrastructure accessibility in relation to public transit and non-motorised transport (NMT) need to be modelled and illustrated for Johannesburg. Adopting data and evidence-led analysis of the impact of public transport and mobility investments on accessibility, and on the achievement of the city’s spatial transformation goals would strengthen the case for the adoption of open data standards, and for a data-driven approach to measuring and evidencing urban change.
  • Monitoring data-driven urban transformation and coordinated investment: Another key area for continued exploration is the ‘regime’ in relation to land use management and public infrastructure investment — in the case of Johannesburg, the Metropolitan Municipality. Here, there is a continued need to investigate how analytical tools like OneCity can enable planning authorities to: realise objectives defined in the spatial development framework; and to improve the turn-around time for development applications for both public and private sector development applications. Researchers could also track how effectively the transition to a more sustainable infrastructure provision is being coordinated, with an emphasis on public transit and non-motorised transport.
Johannesburg, South Arica. By Thomas Bennie.
Johannesburg, by Thomas Bennie




For transparent and data-driven urban transformation

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