A good example of connectivity for peri-urban lower-income communities and slum settlements can be found in Cape Town. Here, the objective of the arterial road design was to link the pockets of disadvantaged communities to the city centre. Responding to the fractured internal spatial structure after the collapse of Apartheid, the vision for Cape Town was to achieve a higher density and a spatially integrated city. The resulting plan identified arterial roads, with a concentration of middle-class residents, and the roads that connected the city core with the south-east section of Cape Town, where there was an over-representation of disadvantaged people. These were the Tygerberg Arm, the Southern Arm, and the Klipfontein Road.
A square grid with nodes and corridors aimed to promote equity, access, and integration by linking the CBD to three centers on the three corners of the square with the three identified arterial arms. The diagonal arm known as the Klipfontein Corridor was begun in 2003 and provided connectivity to the relatively undeveloped land in close proximity to poor residential areas identified as industrial.
The corridor design principles integrate people, space, activity, and movement through interrelated spatial layers. In this example, the NMT layer provided local area access and integration; a layer of socio-spatial generators encouraged economic activity and investment; and a public transport layer with a new BRT system connected the impoverished township of Khayelitsha and the middle-class suburbs of Rondebosch and Mowbray to the city center. The plan was completed with a strategic land use distribution layer. The calculation of the width of the corridor was based on a maximum of 10-15 minutes’ walking distance. A high-density strip of 100 dwelling units per hectare was planned adjacent to the activity spine. Further out, densities of 40 dwelling units per hectare or more were allowed up to 1 kilometer on either side of the corridor.
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Source: Based on Klipfontein-Capetown Brochure available on NM & Associates. Adapted from Transitioning activity corridors: Place making and traffic management, by R. Tiwari, 2008. Working Paper for Department of Pfenning and Infrastructure, Western Australia..
Economic, social, and demographic concerns were pivotal for the corridor design, which aimed to maximize proximity and connectivity while improving the quality of transport and providing a safe urban space.
Another consideration for projects providing connectivity is the affordability of the public transport system. A study of the use of transit in Delhi’s slums revealed that only 2 percent of the respondents used the metro to go to work occasionally, while 87 percent had never used the metro because of the high fares. Providing affordable housing next to unaffordable public transport does not necessarily improve accessibility or promote equity. Through promoting connectivity, the city of Bogota in Colombia has successfully reduced the cost of both housing and transportation. The Metrovivienda initiative, an innovative land-banking program introduced in 1999, integrated TransMilenio with affordable housing projects. TransMilenio operates 200 kilometers of feeder systems in low-income neighborhoods and peripheral areas. After acquisition, open agricultural land in these areas was sold to developers. The government provided the infrastructure on condition that the average unit price was capped at US$8,500. This ensured the availability of affordable housing. A uniform ticket price avoided penalizing the poorer peri-urban communities with higher transport costs.
While connectivity to peri-urban communities through improved public transport and affordable housing strategies is critical, another unique feature of the cities of the Global South is their reliance on informal public transport and two-wheelers to achieve this connectivity.