The "bottom-up" approach to Local Economic Development (LED) in small towns: A South African case study of Orania and Philippolis
Keywords:advocacy planning, capacity building, collaborative planning, environmental movement, land use planning, location theory, physical planning, public participation, regional development, restructuring process, spatial interaction models, transportation planning
While global forces are playing a bigger role in the world economy, the real changes tend to occur at local level. Local Economic Development (LED) is regarded by many - including the South African government - as a means to facilitate the bottom-up approach in regional development. In two small towns along the Orange River, Philippolis and Orania, local economic development was implemented in different ways. In Philippolis, it was mostly brought about by government investment, and help from outside was the driving force. Here, money and ideas were offered to a community with a high level of unemployment. Some projects were abandoned or discontinued because of a lack of managerial skills or funds, or merely as a result of certain petty local issues. In Orania, highly-skilled people initiated projects, funded them with their own money and were personally responsible for making these projects work. Lessons from these towns show that economic development cannot originate from the outside alone, but that people with experience and the willingness to shoulder responsibility are needed in order to bring about such development.
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