Development Planning, Environment and Management

 The Development Planning, Environment & Management Unit has offices at various locations across the city, and comprises the Branches listed below:


Development Planning

This department is charged with the medium to short term strategic planning of the City, its functions include :

  • providing the central role in the preparation of the Council's Integrated Development Plan​
  • similarly the subsequent Annual Reports
  • assessing status quo and community needs in the City leading in the  first instance to a framework plan, land use policy and ultimately the local development plan which includes the city's spatial guide plan, a community/public participation plan, an environment plan and the land use management system.
Departments within Development Planning include:
  • ​Land Use Managemen (LUMS)
  • Strategic Spatial Planning
  • Public Sector Housing
  • Research and Policy
  • Information Systems

Land Use Management

The overall objective of the Land Use Management Branch (LUMS) is to develop, manage and regulate the built and natural environment through the implementation and review of the land use management system, the implementation of statutory planning legislation and maintenance of planning procedures in order to ensure a sustainable built environment for the eThekwini Municipality.

Strategic Spatial Planning​

The Strategic Spatial Planning Branch is located within the eThekwini Municipality’s Development Planning Department.  The primary role of this branch is to lead, manage and direct sustainable urban growth and spatial transformation through the preparation of short, medium and long term spatial plans. Its functions include: 

        The preparation and review of the Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF) and city wide spatial priorities

        The preparation and review of a series of lower order Integrated Spatial Plans  (Sub-regional Spatial Development Plans, Local Areas Plans, Functional Area Plans, Precinct  Plans and Draft Schemes) aimed at translating the strategic intent of the IDP and MSDF

        The preparation of special plans and strategies aimed at managing more efficient, equitable, resilient and integrated urban & rural development, such as the City Densification Strategy, Rural Development Strategy, Transit Oriented Development and Public Transport Corridor Plans

        Playing a central role in revitalising former townships and urban nodes through the preparation of Regeneration Plans

        Plays a pivotal role in integrating and informing the respective sector plans and the long term spatial plans of the City

        Plays an advocacy  & advisory role to national, provincial and city wide initiatives and public and private sector development

        Undertakes Stakeholder and Community Engagement on short, medium and long terms spatial plans​ 

The Information Systems Branch

The Information Systems Branch comprises of 3 sub-branches namely:

Information Centre which provides and inward and outward customer focused, building development and land use advisory service that will proactively engage with investors and developers in providing a holistic pre-development guidance service to assist in facilitating development;

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Branch develops, maintains and interrogates spatial data in order to provide relevant information that will assist with decision making across the City.  It also provides continual maintenance and capturing of zoning and land use data on the GIS for properties within the City providing information to the general public and other internal departments;

Busines Process Management (BPM) Branch assists our various Branches in the automation of their business processes so as to provide a more eficient service to our citizens as well as to improve the efficiency of our workflow.

Development Management

This Department consists of five Branches:

  • Development Applications & Approvals
    The Development Applications and Approvals Branch is responsible for the processing of Building Plan Applications. The thrust of this Branch is towards the scrutiny and assessment of these applications in a reliable and efficient manner in order to promote and facilitate development of the built environment.
  • Building Inspectorate
    The Building Inspectorate Branch is responsible for monitoring Building Development to protect the interests of all Property Owners and Government Agencies against undesirable contraventions of existing legislation and acceptable norms in the interests of maintaining a safe and healthy environment of the residents of Durban.

  • Enforcement & Prosecutions
  • The Enforcement and Prosecutions Branch is responsible for monitoring compliance with legislation in the interest of maintaining a safe and healthy environment of the residents of Durban.
  • Advertising & Signage
    The Advertising and Signage Branch is responsible for the processing of Advertising and Signage Applications. All scrutiny and assesment of these applications are undertaking by the officials of this branch in a reliable and efficient manner in order to promote and facilitate development of the built envirnment.


The Branch aims to contribute toward quality of life for all by ensuring environmentally sustainable development in the Durban Metropolitan Area. This will be achieved by developing and implementing an appropriate environmental management system through Durban's Local Agenda 21 Programme. Environment currently have their own website​.​

Development Facilitation Department

The Development Facilitation Department's most important role is to facilitate economic development in order to make it easier for communities and individuals to access or else package resources needed for their projects.

As part of its functions the DFD engages in research to provide communities, individuals and the Central Local Councils with direction on economic strategy, areas of economic opportunities and assistance in navigating the institutions and organizations involved in development.

The DFD liaises with investors, developers, consultants, other government departments, communities and other civil society organizations concerning specific projects. The DFD also manages a range of projects which it has initiated in terms of tourism, economic development, small business development, revitalising the Durban Central Business District, project packaging and Beachfront development.

The DFD consists of six branches, namely Economic development, Special Projects, Tourism, Informal Trade and Small Business Opportunities, Youth Affairs and Land Transactions which are all actively involved in the economic development of the city.

Town Planning Regulations

The Town Planning Regulations were first adopted in 18 November 1974. These regulations apply to the Central Operational Entity of Unicity Durban as shown on Plan No. 1849.380C as amended from time to time, except for such other areas as the Council may from time to time determine.

This online version of the town planning regulations provides an easy to use facility to determine regulations pertaining to the town planning scheme and controls of the Central Operation Entity of Unicity Durban.

This service is provided as up to date as possible, however the Web version of the Town Planning Regulations, Zoning and Land Use is provided solely for reference and the convenience of having the information in a computer readable format. The provisions and maps may not be the official version as enacted into law. The accuracy of any specific provision cannot be assured, and you are urged to consult the Development and Planning Unit for the current and official version of both the text and maps.