Glossary, acronyms, abbreviations


Access distance

The maximum distance that people should have to travel to reach a facility.

Building line

An imaginary line that defines an area within and parallel to the boundary of a plot within which no permanent structures may be built. The purpose of the building line is to prevent buildings from being erected too close to neighbouring properties or to the street. Building lines are defined in the local land use scheme and are not the same for all plots.

Consent use

Consent use means that a municipality allows additional land use rights on a particular property upon request. The zoning of the property will not be changed. The zoning category, as described in the land use scheme, usually makes provision for a pre-described number of uses that may be allowed for with the necessary consent.

Desire line

An imaginary line that links facilities or places, forming a convenient and direct route for pedestrians and cyclists. Desire lines become evident when watching people move through an area. These lines are often visible as informal footpaths across open space.

Land use scheme

A land use scheme forms part of a land use management system that regulates and manages land use within a municipality. The scheme confers legal rights to properties to develop and to erect and use buildings subject to certain stipulated conditions. A detailed description of the content of a land use scheme is provided in Chapter 5 of SPLUMA.


A measured piece of land, also known as an erf, stand or site that is registered at the deeds registration office or forms part of a municipal land use scheme.

Population threshold

The size of the population that could be served effectively by a specific facility. More specifically, the population threshold indicates the minimum number of people living in a specific area (the service catchment area) that would possibly necessitate (and be able to sustain) the provision of a particular facility.


A colloquial description of the process of making an amendment to a land use scheme (or any of its provisions), to change the land use rights and development restrictions applicable to a specific property.14



A servitude is a registered right that a person or an entity has over the immovable property of another person. It usually means that a portion of land is set aside for a specific purpose, such as road widening, or provision for engineering infrastructure (e.g. water pipelines, electricity cables, sewerage pipes). The municipality might for example have the right to construct electricity cables over a privately owned property. The property owner is then restricted in what he or she can do within the servitude. The servitude is attached to the property and will continue to exist even if ownership of the land changes. The servitude forms part of the conditions contained in the title deed and can only be cancelled by agreement between both parties.

Site development plan

A plan that provides an overview of the intended development on a property, specifically indicating features such as the position of the proposed buildings, access provisions, parking, landscaping, adherence to the building lines and the position of servitudes.

Township establishment

Township establishment is a legal process whereby agricultural land is converted into proclaimed individual plots (with certain land use rights attached to them), which can be transferred to different owners. The process is regulated by SPLUMA.


A property’s zoning stipulates the purpose for which the land may be used and is described in the municipality’s land use scheme. The zoning also stipulates restrictions on the building erected on the property in terms of floor area ratio, coverage, density, parking requirements, etc. In order to change the purpose for which the property can be used, an application for rezoning has to be submitted to the local municipality for consideration.


Acronyms and abbreviations

CBA Critical Biodiversity Area
CBD Central Business District
CHC Community Health Centre
CSOS Community Schemes Ombud Service
CYCC Child and Youth Care Centre
DORA Division of Revenue Act
ECD Early Childhood Development
ESA Ecological Support Area
FAR Floor Area Ratio
FET Further Education and Training
HLAMDA Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Act
ICT Information and Communication Technology
IDP Integrated Development Plan
NBR National Building Regulations
NGO Non-Governmental Organisation
NHBRC National Home Builders Registration Council
NMT Non-Motorised Transport
SABS South African Bureau of Standards
SANBI South African National Biodiversity Institute
SAPS South African Police Service
SASSA South African Social Security Agency
SPLUMA Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act
TOD Transport-Oriented Development



  1. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). 2016. World Cities Report 2016 Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures. UN-Habitat, Nairobi.
  2. SANS10400 - The application of the National Building Regulations (NBR) is available for purchase from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) at
  3. Shisaka Development Management Services (Pty) Ltd, University of Witwatersrand and Jill Schlachter HRD and Performance Consulting. 2015. The National Upgrade Support Programme (NUSP) Introduction to Informal Settlement Upgrading course. Department of Human Settlements, Pretoria.
  4. CSIR. 2019. Green Book: Adapting South African settlements to climate change.
  5. South African National Biodiversity Institute.
  6. CSIR. 2012. Guidelines for the Provision of Social Facilities in South African Settlements. CSIR, Pretoria.
  7. CSIR. 2015. CSIR Space Planner. CSIR, Pretoria.
  8. Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, CSIR. 2016. Social Facility Provision Toolkit. Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Pretoria.
  9. Department of Sport and Recreation. 2011. Norms and Standards for Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Provision and Management (Volume 1 and 2). Department of Sport and Recreation, Pretoria.
  10. Department of Basic Education. 2009. The National Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure. Department of Basic Education, Pretoria.
  11. Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, CSIR. 2016. Social Facility Provision Toolkit. Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Pretoria.
  12. Refer to Social Facility Provision Toolkit for different grades of community halls
  13. Department of Human Settlements. 2009. National Housing Code.
  14. South African Association of Consulting Professional Planners (SAACPP).


Postal address
The Department of Human Settlements
Private Bag X644

Call centre
0800 146873


If you would like to receive information
regarding training events, revisions,
amendments and other updates related
to the Red Book, please register here.

The Neighbourhood Planning and Design Guide
Creating Sustainable Human Settlements

Developed by
Department of Human Settlements

Published by the South African Government
ISBN: 978-0-6399283-2-6
© 2019