Local and sub-regional socio-economic and environmental impact of large-scale resort development
Thesis (MA (Geography and Environmental Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
The problem addressed in this research is that large-scale estate developments in the Western Cape generally have, up to now, apparently not fulfilled their potential as primary economic drivers, thus, failing to contribute in a significant manner to addressing the primary challenges facing the present-day South Africa, namely poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation. This research focused on the recently-formulated project-based Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) approach as a strategy to optimally unlock the potential benefits of largescale development as a primary economic driver. In the research, the potential of the SDI approach in this regard was tested by comparing the envisaged performance of an SDI to be implemented in the Hoogekraal area near George in the South Cape with the performance of five selected large-scale estate developments that have been planned and developed in terms of the ‘conventional’ approach as it was defined for this research. The over-arching purpose of the research was to determine whether the project-based SDI approach, as demonstrated by the pre-development condition of the proposed Hoogekraal SDI, could make a meaningful contribution to the alleviation of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation and whether it presents an improvement in this regard on the ‘conventional’ planning, implementation and management approach for large-scale estate developments. The SDI approach, in its current, conceptual format, does not profess to be flawless. The research has left a number of questions unanswered pertaining to, in particular, the mobilisation, involvement, and required participation capacity of the communities that would be affected by an SDI. The research has indicated that the proponents of the SDI approach still have a long way to go to bridge the divergent views and evident opposition against large-scale estate development of conservation-orientated NGOs and community groups, and factions within government departments. However, the research has indicated that the SDI approach holds the promise to be an innovative strategy through which the benefits of large-scale development could be optimised for both people and the environment. The SDI approach, at least, represents an honest response to the national goals for sustainable development put forward in, amongst others, the South African Constitution. It is therefore concluded that there is merit in the claim of the SDI proponents that the SDI approach to large-scale development presents, to a larger extent than the ‘conventional’ approach, a mechanism through which this development typology can contribute to the eradication of poverty, inequality and environmental rehabilitation in partnership with local communities and other stakeholders. It is believed that this research can contribute as: a) an input in the drafting of regional and municipal development policy aimed at promoting sustainable development, for example, the spatial development frameworks prepared by municipalities in terms of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 (South Africa 2000); b) a basis for the planning and implementation of large-scale estate developments in a manner that would, on balance, improve the state of any given condition in a sustainable, integrated, holistic and practical manner and in partnership with those who would be affected by the developments and those who support the ethos of sustainable development; and c) a basis for further research pertaining to the implementation and long-term management of the SDI approach at the project level, the objective being to promote the continual improvement of the approach.