Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Urban Renewal

All cities go through cycles of growth and decay, and the centre of Port Elizabeth is no exception. Established in 1820, she grew rapidly and a bit haphazardly at first, to become, by the early 1900s, the South African port with the biggest exports. This was mainly because the diamond industry in Kimberley, and the Ostrich feather and mohair industries were all in their heyday, and used PE to export their goods.

But as these waned, she was overtaken by other ports. She became the centre of the South African motor industry, and boomed again for a while, but then fell on hard times in the 70s, when Ford relocated inland.

Buildings started looking shabby, crime increased and suburban malls were developed. Decentralisation took place, and the old city centre became a place few residents would visit.

This is now changing, we are taking our city centre back from the criminals, and the town council is making serious efforts to rejuvenate the area, by diverting traffic and creating a pedestrian area full of market stalls, sidewalk cafes etc, with strict policing to make criminals unwelcome in the area.

These messy building operations will soon give way to a renewed and refreshed city centre..... (In fact, I read in this morning's paper that the grand opening of phase 1 is due next week watch this space! )


  1. Urban decay seems to be worldwide. I'm happy to hear that your fine city is taking steps to reverse that. Good luck!!

  2. Its good to see PE standing up to its feet and rebuilding itself.