BC Gildenhuys & Associates bags international award for City Planning – First South African recipient

BC Gildenhuys & Associates and the City Planning Department of the City of Ekurhuleni are proud to announce that we were awarded the Commonwealth Association of Planners Award for Outstanding Planning Achievement in the Commonwealth for 2022. This award was in the category “Planning for Cities & Human Settlements/Plan Making.”

BC Gildenhuys & Associates is the first South African company to receive this reward. The international award comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa told the Parliament earlier this month that South Africa doesn’t have suitably skilled town planners to help with urban planning.

The award is for the City of Ekurhuleni’s Growth Management Strategy (GMS), which is a response to a rapidly changing environment. High rates of urbanisation, growing unemployment and a struggling economy, compounded by the impact of COVID-19, have meant that the City Council has had to rethink its spatial planning approach to achieve its long-term development goals. The Growth Management Strategy (GMS) used new and innovative spatial analysis techniques underpinned by technology and driven by a solid data and evidence-based methodology. The GMS encapsulates the principles of accountable, responsive, and responsible governance by setting objectives and fact-based guidelines to measure city development performance, formulating an appropriate response to change, and promoting a more sustainable and resilient city form. The strategy’s formulation was driven by the view that if we cannot quantify, we cannot measure, and if we cannot measure, we cannot manage.

“We want to acknowledge and thank Ekurhuleni’s planning team who allowed us the freedom to address the specific local development challenges rather than driving a process complying with endless government policies and guidelines,” said Stephan Gildenhuys, BC Gildenhuys & Associates’ director responsible for the project. “This is the way forward, and we hope this award will inspire other councils to make this much-needed mind shift.”