Our Projects



Gauteng Vision 2055

The Gauteng Planning Commission, under the auspices of the Premier, appointed Urban-Econ to compile a long-term development Vision for the Gauteng City-Region. The project was the outcome of wide public participation, which involved the public, academia, civil society, organised business and government among others. Specific attention was paid to planning integration across the spheres of government towards a set of envisioned outcomes for the Province. Based on current realities, the National Development Plan and global macrodevelopment trends, four main pillars of development were identified. These Strategic Development Pillars were (1) Equitable Growth, (2) Social Development, (3) Infrastructure and the Environment, as well as (4) Good Governance. Gauteng Vision 2055 sets the direction for planning in the Province and places the city-region on a rapid growth trajectory through the introduction of significant game-changing development interventions.

Waterfall Medical Development Market Investigation

This appointment by the Waterfall Investment Company had the purpose of undertaking a demographic market investigation and case study for a planned new specialised rehabilitation private medical facility that would form part of an envisioned medical cluster in the prominent Waterfall Mixed-Use Development, in Midrand, Gauteng. The medical facility development concept is a 200-bed rehabilitation hospital linked to a 50-bed day clinic and the existing Netcare Waterfall City general hospital. Th rehabilitation hospital would be utilised to treat and rehabilitate patients that have become acutely disabled through a stroke, major trauma, brain injury, spinal cord injury, or any other medical condition.

Regulatory Impact Assessment and Business Environment Improvement for KZN DEDT

This Feasibility Study was formulated for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN DEDT) and was compiled to test the feasibility of the establishment of a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) and Business Environment Improvement (BEI) Unit within KZN DEDT. The document provided a background and situational analysis for the RIA at provincial level, as well as provided key insights into the costs and benefits of various options for RIA and BEI. The study showed that RIA was rarely undertaken in the establishment of legislation, policies and regulations in the Province. This, in turn compromised a healthy business environment and the ability to effectively grow the local economy. The results from this study were derived through a Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) of the costs and benefits of the establishment of RIA and BEI at provincial level, as well as through a series of key stakeholder interviews and workshops.

Tygerberg Medical Portal Pre-Feasibility Study

The Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) identified the establishment of an integrated health care portal as one of the initiatives that would result in economic improvement and development in the Bellville area. The proposed portal aims to improve access to healthcare service provision through the establishment of an integrated network of facilities and services, i.e. patients and medical practitioners will be able to gain access to medical facilities and related services in the Bellville area. Urban-Econ was appointed to conduct a pre-feasibility study in order to determine whether the proposed health care portal would be viable. The pre-feasibility study also provides a best practise model for the implementation of such a portal, specifically relating to the Bellville area.

Kruger National Park Beneficiation Scheme - Project Scoping Study

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) sought to conduct a scoping exercise to inform the proposed Kruger National Park (KNP) Beneficiation Scheme. The exercise focused on determining the optimal benefits for claimant communities from the implementation of projects inside and outside the borders of the KNP.  The communities involved were those that had unresolved, yet validated land claims within the borders of the KNP. The optimal benefit was primarily determined by identifying and evaluating a range of projects, based on their socio-economic upliftment potential for the associated communities. Ten projects were selected and pre-feasibility studies were conducted for each. The projects were selected based on their viability in terms of social and market-based potential.  These projects included the establishment of a wellness centre or spa; night-time game drives; a KNP academy; a community lodge development both inside and outside of the park; hot air balloon rides; tourism activity hubs; a clothing and textile production facility; community nurseries; and a natural resource beneficiation plant.

Integrated Development Plan: Blood Hound Supersonic Car

The Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism commissioned Urban-Econ to develop an Integrated Development Plan around the Bloodhound Supersonic Car initiative planned to take place in Hakskeenpan, in the Northern Cape. The purpose of the Bloodhound Integrated Development Plan is to ensure that local communities benefit from the Bloodhound initiative during and after the event. During the project, Urban-Econ specifically focused on the impacts and benefits of a major event on rural communities and how such benefits can be translated into long-term, sustainable change for households and individuals.

Northern Cape Renewable Energy Study

The Northern Cape provincial government initiated the Development of a Renewable Energy Strategy for the Northern Cape. The main objective of the project was to formulate a credible Renewable Energy Strategy that meets the required standards as set out in the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy, the Northern Cape Planning and Development Act, 1998 (Act 7 of 1998); and the Northern Cape Spatial Development Framework. The primary goal of the study was to formulate a plan to unlock the existing potential of the province with respect to harnessing renewable energy to the benefit of its communities and the nation as a whole.

SEDA Poultry Cooperatives Study

SEDA’s Cooperative and Community Public Private Partnership Programme is tasked with providing both financial and non-financial support towards cooperative development.  In support of this mandate, SEDA appointed Urban-Econ to compile a set of guidelines and recommend interventions aimed at promoting the development of cooperatives and collectively-owned enterprises in the poultry and related industries.  The project entailed the undertaking of research into the challenges and barriers faced by cooperatives, as well as the critical factors to operate successfully in the poultry industry.  Opportunities along the poultry value-chains and segments were identified and recommendations were made on the interventions, products and services that SEDA could provide to cooperatives and collectively owned enterprises to enable growth in the poultry industry.

Limpopo Agro-Processing Strategy

The Limpopo Department Agriculture appointed Urban-Econ to formulate the Limpopo Agro-Processing Strategy. The purpose of the project was to undertake a detailed analysis of the agro-processing sector in the Limpopo Province. The Strategy analysed and interpreted findings to formulate an agro-processing strategy aimed at accelerated agro-industrial development and increased job creation in key sectors. Viable business opportunities were identified, based on an understanding of market forces related to the agro-processing industry. The end result was an intervention strategy providing a package of intervention focus areas, value propositions and implementation guidelines.

Red Door Flagship Project

The Real Enterprise Development (RED) Door is a flagship programme of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) aimed at addressing SMME development in the Western Cape. The RED Door is a single entry-point, easily accessible, user-friendly, walk-in centre where SMMEs are able to access basic business support services and information. Urban-Econ was appointed to conduct an impact evaluation of the RED Door as an initiative in the Western Cape. The objective of this evaluation was to determine what outcomes have been achieved by the Red Door Initiative thus far, as well as the impact Red Door has had on the local community and economy of the Western Cape in terms of enterprise development.

Local Economic Development Strategy for a Green Economy

The uThungulu District Municipality required a study for the formulation of a “Green” Economic Development Strategy. Most economic development and growth strategies encourage the rapid accumulation of physical, financial and human capital, normally resulting in the excessive depletion and degradation of natural capital, which includes the endowment of natural resources and ecosystems. The green economy is not a new sector, nor a nice-to-have, but rather a prerequisite for economic survival in a world of increasing environmental constraints.
The Urban-Econ research focused on both the rural and urban areas of all six the local municipalities of the District. As such, the following main areas of intervention were indentified:

• application of green principles in manufacturing
• responsible waste management
• green cities and buildings development
• sustainable transport systems
• responsible and sustainable tourism
• sustainable agriculture
• sustainable fisheries
• water resource and usage management
• forests and forestry management
• application of alternative and renewable energy usage and supply.

Research on Second Economy Communication Channels

Urban-Econ Development Economists was appointed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to compile a study in order to understand the state of non-organised strategic stakeholders in the 2nd economy and the potential of organising them to participate in policy formulation processes. The study was aimed at identifying strategic stakeholders throughout the country, as well as the existing communication channels used by those stakeholders. The study also sought to set out methods to improve policy participation, as well as the representation and organisation of informal workers.

Sere-Wind Energy Project: Impact Assessment

Urban-Econ was appointed by Eskom Holdings Ltd to update the macro-economic and regional impact assessment study for the proposed wind energy project (Sere-Wind) to be established to the north-west of Vredendal in the Western Cape Province. The purpose of the impact assessment study was twofold: Firstly, the study needed to assess its contribution towards the achievement of strategic government objectives. Secondly, it involved quantification of its potential economic impacts, i.e. the ability of the project to stimulate the development of provincial and local economies, as well as to improve the standard of living of the affected households.

Maximising the R&D Job Creation Potential in South Africa

High levels of unemployment in the country compared to other countries require active policy interventions from South Africa’s government. In 2010, the Presidency released the New Growth Path Framework, where government set a target to create five million jobs over a ten year period. Research and Development (R&D) activities play a pivotal role in stimulation economic growth through an increase in knowledge and innovation productions, and ultimately the improvement of competitiveness of the country. In this context, the Department of Science and Technology, as the overseer of the Science and Technology mandate, which also includes R&D activities, was tasked with the identification of mechanisms and interventions that could be implemented to stimulate decent job creation in the country. Identification of such mechanisms, though, firstly requires a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between R&D and employment creation throughout the economy. Urban-Econ was appointed by the Department of Science and Technology to conduct research and to develop a conceptual framework describing job creation along the Research, Development and Innovation value-chain, as well as to advise the government department with respect to interventions that could be employed to realise the potential and maximise job creation along the value chain.

Environmental Impact Assessment of a 80MW Photovoltaic Solar Electricity Installation at Grootvlei, Mpumalanga

Urban-Econ, in consortium with a range of technical experts, was involved with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Programme (EMP) for the proposed development of an 80MW Photovoltaic Solar Field at Grootvlei, near Balfour in the Mpumalanga Province. The solar photovoltaic (PV) technology proposed for the project would utilise approximately 3 ha of land for each megawatt (MW) of power generated. The study included a survey and analysis of a sample of 100 households located in Grootvlei, to determine the population dynamics of the receiving environment and to identify the local skills available in the area. The client’s intent is that the proposed development contribute to the local community, especially the previously disadvantaged individuals, as promoted by NERSA’s Regulatory Rules on Selection Criteria for Renewable Energy Projects promulgated in February 2010.

Market Assessment for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Precinct

Urban-Econ Eastern Cape was appointed by the Mandela Bay Development Agency to undertake extensive property market research to determine the viability of establishing commercial activity in the immediate surrounds of the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.   The purpose of the study was to undertake a detailed property market demand assessment, culminating in the identification of suitable property development concepts for the precinct surrounding the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – a legacy project that came about as a result of the city’s hosting of eight FIFA World Cup 2010 matches.

Urban-Econ led a multi-disciplinary team of consultants that included architects, urban designers, civil and transport engineers as well as financial specialists. The findings of the study would assist the Municipality in drafting Request for Proposals (RFPs) with the intention that property developers would utilise the findings to propose commercial development interventions within the Stadium Precinct, the intent being that the stadium would become a vibrant tourism, entertainment and sporting destination.

Gauteng Infrastructure Renewal and Investment Programme, Integrated Development and Strategic Potential Analysis (LED Capacity Building)

Urban-Econ was appointed by the Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works to formulate an Infrastructure Renewal and Investment Plan for the Province up to 2025, with a view of transforming Gauteng into a competitive Global City-Region. Three categories of infrastructure were examined, including social infrastructure (housing, educational facilities, health facilities, sport and culture facilities); economic infrastructure (transport infrastructure, IT, commercial property, and tourism infrastructure); and environmental infrastructure (water, energy, and sanitation).

Socio-economic projections were made for each main place in Gauteng, providing a comprehensive province-wide information base of the existing and future demographic and economic situation in Gauteng. Various analytical tools were used to model these projections, including the use of methods triangulation. The key output of the study was a detailed infrastructure master plan for the Province, indicating infrastructure components that would need to be established throughout the Province, as well as the capital requirements and timeframes for such development.

Marula Beneficiation Feasibility Study

Urban-Econ Development Economists was appointed by the Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipality to conduct a Marula Beneficiation Feasibility study. The study was aimed at identifying additional uses for marula products and testing the feasibility of processing and developing such products in the market place. The intent was that the feasibility study would allow the development of projects to expand the existing marula activities and to utilise maximum beneficiation from the marula fruit and tree in Ba-Phalaborwa.