Creating environments where people and business can thrive

What Urban Improvement Precincts Can Do for You

Urban Improvement Precinct

Urban Improvement Precincts (UIP) are intended to establish a local management structure for specific strategic areas in which property owners and investors participate to ensure that their area is clean and safe.

Urban Improvement Precincts (UIP) are intended to establish a local management structure for specific strategic areas in which property owners and investors participate to ensure that their area is clean and safe.

Excellerate Security Managing Director, Derek Lategan, explains that the UIP concept is based on the theory that in any environment, urban decay has a negative impact on more than just the area around it, and ultimately affects the feel and perception of an area as a whole. This not only impacts property values, business prosperity and investor confidence, but the general quality of life of all who use it.

“If an area feels dirty and unsafe it is likely to repel people and positive activity and, rather, attract negative elements, such as criminals.”

In KZN there is are a number of commercial and residential UIPs in operation, including the Point Waterfront, Florida Road precinct, Umhlanga and Ballito, and their establishments have seen much improvement in their respective areas. With Excellerate Security being the security provider for most UIP’s in the province, crime has decreased and many criminals have been arrested. But moreover, the areas have been cleaned up, seen improved reputations as safe places to move in to and attracted further investment.

Florida Road UIP Manager, Jarrod Evans said that the precinct has seen “marked improvement” in all areas since its establishment three years ago, and explains that, in order for a precinct’s public space to truly work, all services need to perform optimally.

“Our private security (managed by Excellerate Security) plays a big part as does our cleaning contractor, municipal service delivery, Metro Police and SAPS. All contribute to creating a public space that is safe, clean, engaging and an attraction for the city of Durban.”

In the past two years spent as the Florida Road precinct manager, Evans says he has noticed “an incredible turnaround” in safety and security, owing to the dedicated Metro Police presence, a 24/7 Excellerate Security patrol vehicle , two additional nightshift officers, and sidewalk monitors.

“In addition, as the UIP has become a recognised name along Florida Road, more victims have started reporting their incidents to the UIP, which ultimately results in more focused reaction and prevention strategies. The Urban Improvement Precincts is a Section 21 Company, not for profit, with the mandate to establish Special Rating Areas (SRAs) or Precincts. In early 2000 it established three Council-approved areas in the inner city in response to the needs of property owners who wanted to progress, at their cost, the environment in which they lived and worked.

While the current services provided by Metro Police, SAPS and DSW are invaluable, property owners identified visible gaps in the urban management space that required additional and individual care. This could only be achieved by a specialist team working closely with the property owners, the municipality, and various other partners. The function of the UIP is not just a top-up service of cleaners and security surveillance in the streets and lanes, but involves daily SAP and Metro Police contact, as well as regular contact with the other municipal service departments to ensure the different forms of complications are resolved.

The primary aim of UIPs is to unlock economic opportunity by creating vibrant complete urban environments which secure property values, encourage investment, and deliver an improved environment. The first phase of the UIPs is to address crime and grime. However, in time the objective of the UIP is to grow into a comprehensive urban management structure providing a wide scope of on-the-ground services such as safeguarding, landscaping, and general maintenance. Very importantly, the UIPs work in close partnership with the municipality to optimise service delivery while lobbying for infrastructure to support economic growth. UIPs further unify property owners around a common vision for the respective area.

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