The Unit is also engaged in a number of interventions aimed at providing direction on the spatial aspects of economic development.  These relate to centres or nodes where businesses have developed employing people from the area.  The LED interventions seek to ensure that these nodes are replicated across the eThekwini Municipal area thereby reducing the communities dependence on the Durban CBD. The development of these nodes and corridors also attempts to bring economic opportunities closer to the people while increasing the overall competitiveness of the city’s economy.  In the 2007/08 financial year, significant progress was made in upgrading a range of centres such as the KwaMashu Town Centre;  the main streets in Tongaat and Verulam; developing taxi ranks where the lack of such facilities were hampering growth; undertaking upgrades in Pinetown; Amanzimtoti and the streets in Umhlanga.  In addition to physical upgrades the Unit also undertook initiatives to provide direction to the future development of these areas.

The four areas of delivery within this overall programme include:

Strategic Township Development – The City entered into a partnership with the National Treasury to unlock approximately R700million worth of funding for public infrastructure development in identified areas that have been previously disadvantaged. These areas include Inanda-Ntuzuma-KwaMashu (INK); Umlazi; KwaMashu Town Centre; Bridge City Project; Mpumalanga and Clermont. With regard to the KwaMashu Town Centre; Bridge City and Clermont, development has already began with the department rolling-out infrastructure in support of private sector development. In the case of Mpumalanga, detailed planning is being finalised for the development of a Town Centre. Detailed planning is further being undertaken for Umlazi and INK with implementation expected to begin towards the end of 2009.   

In addition to the Industrial Design Skills initiative, there is a critical skills shortage within the Tool & Dye Industry.  This is being addressed through the KZN Tooling Initiative through the Tooling Centre of Excellence.  EDU is funding the ‘’Train the Trainer Programme’’ within the Centre.

Town Centre Renewal – infrastructural interventions are being made in important centres of economic opportunity in a bid to minimize any potential decline of these nodes while fostering an investor-friendly environment.  It is recognized that such nodes are important centres that bring economic opportunity closer to communities.  In addition, plans are to be developed for the future growth of such areas.  A focus will be brought in 2009/10 on eight such nodes. 

Upgrade of Tourism Nodes and Corridors.  This programme seeks to broaden the destination profile of Durban by diversifying the range of tourism assets aimed at stimulating local economies by increasing the number of tourists and their spend in the EMA.  The EMA is home to many tourism nodes which are important in meeting the long-term tourism objectives of the City, and which support the overall need to position Durban as major tourism destination. In this regard the Department undertook many projects which included the extending and upgrading of the Umhlanga Beach Promenade; upgrading at Winklespruit; planning for Warner Beach as well as the development of lifeguard facilities; upgrading of Umgababa as a recreation node; planning for the Umkomaas Dive-site; the upgrading of Westbrook beach, the upgrading of Baggies beach on the South Coast; developing the Intathakusa resort; planning for Inanda and Hazelmere Dams and initiatives around the Inanda Heritage Route. This is envisaged to provide the platform for business opportunities in the tourism industry while increasing the range of tourism product available in a bid increase the expenditure from visitors into the local economy. Some of these initiatives will be continuing and will only reach fruition in the near future, such as Umgababa; Inanda Heritage Route and the development of tourist facilities at the major Dams.

Local Economic Development (LED) Strategies - the Department has developed a partnership with the Provincial Department of Economic Development (DED) to co-fund the development of LED Strategies for areas within the EMA that have both developmental challenges as well as opportunities. Thus far, LED strategies have been completed for Umlazi and greater Tongaat. At Umlazi the emphasis has been on key projects that could create jobs, while at Tongaat a key focus has been the opportunities to be presented by the development of the Dube Trade Port. As both strategies have been concluded, the focus has shifted to the packaging of projects for implementation. Such strategies will be further extended to other areas including Clermont; Hammarsdale-Mpumalanga; Cato-Ridge; Verulam and Illovo, in the short-term.