Scoping Study: State of the City Infrastructure
The South African Cities Network (SACN) is considering producing a State of Cities Infrastructure Report (SOCIR) and appointed PDG to investigate what the scope of such a report should be. The methodology applied included a review of existing infrastructure reporting, both internationally and here in South Africa, and interviews with key stakeholders, including the cities themselves. After completing the literature review, it became clear that there are a number of ways to understand the “state‟ of cities infrastructure and the role of a possible SOCIR. Under a narrow definition, the “state‟ of cities infrastructure refers simply to the physical condition of that infrastructure and to its ability to perform the functions required of it in a sustainable, efficient and effective manner. A broader view, however, would include an assessment of the broader system within which infrastructure is provided.
It is proposed that the approach to the SOCIR is based on a logic model for infrastructure provision that includes an assessment of the inputs required to deliver and manage infrastructure, the activities undertaken, the outputs (infrastructure itself) as well as the desired outcomes and impacts. This should be considered within the institutional and organisational context. A key purpose of the first SOCIR should be to establish a baseline for data on cities‟ infrastructure. It should bring together existing data on cities infrastructure, and highlight what is known and where data gaps exist. Of course, the SOCIR should also include analysis and comment on the data that is gathered, highlighting where there are areas of strong performance or possible concern. It is proposed that the methodological approach for preparing the SOCIR should include engaging with city officials to understand what they currently measure and report with regard to city infrastructure and gathering existing data from national datasets and city documentation. Modelling work will also be required in order to establish estimates of the need for infrastructure investment going forward, as there is no consistent set of estimates currently available elsewhere.