Effort to standardise a national land use classification scheme

September 8th, 2016, Published in Articles: PositionIT


The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s National SPLUM Forum met in Ekurhuleni on 7 September 2016 to develop a standardised National Land Use Classification scheme.

The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act of 2013 (SPLUMA) requires the department to prescribe norms and standards for Land Use Management and Land Development that are consistent with this act, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000, and the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act. Municipalities have until 2020 to develop a wall-to-wall land use scheme for their entire municipal space. They are required to use the National Land Use Classification symbols and definitions in the preparation and adoption of their Land Use Schemes.

Sam Osei, Abena Kwayisi and Rajesh Makan at the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform National SPLUM Forum in September 2016

Sam Osei, Abena Kwayisi and Rajesh Makan.

The meeting brought together town planners and GIS Professionals to collaborate on standard land use definitions, classes, features and symbology in an attempt to harmonise land use classifications. Land use in town planning refers to the legal land use scheme and land’s intended use, while land use for GIS users typically refer to how land is currently being used, irrespective of its intended use.

Suggested notations for primary and secondary classes, symbology and colour schemes were also discussed. This is only the start of what is anticipated to be a national standards approved by the South African Bureau of Standards, with pilot or test implementation set to begin in 2017. The idea of developing and testing a National Land Use Classification now is to fast track the SABS standardisation process by identifying and troubleshooting issues upfront.

The National Land Use Classification working group identified twelve primary classes as follows:

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Conservation
  • Residential
  • Business
  • Industrial
  • Community Facility
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Utility
  • Transportation
  • Mining
  • Warehousing, storage and distribution

Four thematic working groups were formed. The first group focused on Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural/Traditional/Tribal uses. The second group focused on Conservation and Mining. The last two groups considered all other land use cases, with a specific focus on urban land uses.

See photos from the event here.

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