Research Articles by Planning Academics
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- ItemLocal Councillors: scapegoats for a dysfunctional participatory democratic system? Lessons from practices of local democracy in Johannesburg.(Critical Dialogue: Public Participation in Review., 208) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThis paper starts with the study of participation patterns in different neighbourhoods in Johannesburg, and demonstrates that institutional channels (be it representative democracy, or various participatory institutions and instruments) are currently not working in Johannesburg. Be it in low income or high-income areas, suburbs or townships, residents have to resort to other means, sidelining in particular their ward councillor, to be heard. We question the reasons for this lack of bottomup dialogue, focusing on the figure of the ward councillor as a supposedly key link between residents and local government, but however not able to play his/her role. We contest the dominant vision that the failure of participatory democracy in South Africa is the consequence of a lack of training, education or democratic culture, and we argue that both the limited power of ward councillors in Council, and the lack of incentive for fostering their accountability in front of voters, make local democracy institutions dysfunctional. More broadly, we question the lack of importance of participatory democracy in the ANC and in the government agenda, despite the political discourses claiming the contrary.
- ItemCity of Johannesburg. Brief History of the Development of its system of Government(Public Relations Officer, City Hall, P.O.Box 1049, Johannesburg, 1967) Public Relations Office, City Hall, JohannesburgOn 8th September, 1886, Paul Kruger, president of the Transvaal Republic, signed a proclamation declaring several farms, including Randjieslaagte, on the Witwatersrand ("Ridge of White Waters") public gold diggings. The biggest gold rush in history began to what was until then a piece of bare veld and rocky outcrop.
- ItemCarlton Centre Limited. Statistics and General Information Relating to Carlton Centre(Johannesburg City Coucil, City Engineer., 1970-09-11) Johannesburg PD/MGS/GSFThe promotors of Carlton Centre are the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa, Limited and The South African Breweries Limited...The excavation necessary to permit the construction of the below ground levels was one of the largest ever undertaken anywhere in the world for a commercial building project.
- ItemThe Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002: part panacea or ready recipe for disaster?(SA Public Law, 2003) Boshoff, Brian; Van Wyk, JFloods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions, runaway fires, and transportation and other accidents are all occurrences with which we are familiar, if only vicariously. These events can presumably all be categorised as ‘disasters’. But can the same be said for the dumping of hazardous waste, ships running aground, farm invasions and large-scale evictions, major traffic accidents and the issue of cross-border or internal refugees? When is an event considered a ‘disaster’, who determines that an event is a ‘disaster’, who can do what to prepare for the ‘disaster‘ and what can be done to alleviate the effects of the disaster after it has happened?
- ItemLatter-day South African Spatial Planning And Problem Solving(ISoCaRP Congress, 2003) Boshoff, BrianThe SA space economy and the striving for development has come a long way, but still faces great challenges. One of those challenges is to deal with globalisation -- a highly contested influence that has been shown by many authors to have myriad positive and negative effects and impacts. This paper has shown that globalisation has also influenced SA spatial frameworks and policies, in the context of competing, but related demands, as evidenced in GEAR and the RDP. I argue that there is a great danger of being simplistic and blinded by globalisation as a meta narrative and one should closely examine developmental goals and objectives, especially as they occur in a variety of contexts. For example, “just as Jhb’s citizens and managers must grapple with that city’s complexity, and devise creative ways of thinking about its future, and negotiating present dilemmas, so urban theorists need to move beyond globalisation and developmentalism, and embrace the ordinary, but dynamic complexity of urban life” (Robinson 2003: 278).
- ItemAn Interpretation of Sustainable Development and Urban Sustainability in Low-Cost Housing and Settlements in South Africa(University of Cape Town Press, 2003) Irurah, Daniel K; Boshoff, BrianThe sustainable development paradigm can be viewed as a convergence of two paradigms that initially evolved in an antagonistic manner, possibly as far back as the industrial revolution. The first one is the growth and development paradigm, which was strongly rooted in economic growth based on the economic output of an economy as measured by GDP (gross domestic product). Until the late 1900s, governments and communities had committed themselves to a vision of improved standards of living through increasing the GDP of their respective economies, while paying minimal attention to environmental and resource impacts. Then in the 1950s to 1970s the environmental movement coalesced after almost a century of isolated pronouncements on resource and environmental degradation arising from exponential population growth as well as increasing levels of production and consumption. The movement argued that unless humanity voluntarily controlled population and economic growth, environmental and resource degradation would put a limit on human survival. The strongest substantiation of the argument was presented in the Club of Rome Report, Limits to Growth (Meadows et al., 1972).
- ItemGender and integrated area development projects: lessons from Cato Manor, Durban(Cities, 2004) Todes, Alison; Beall, JoThe paper examines whether integrated area development projects are particularly well placed to recognize the complexity and diversity of gender relations and provide important space for gender sensitive planning and practice. It recounts the case of the Cato Manor project in Durban, South Africa where, despite no explicit focus on gender in design, practices were remarkably consistent with the prescriptions of the urban gender planning literature. It is argued that a multi-sectoral and integrated approach offers space for innovation and close attention to local dynamics. Hence despite a disjuncture between planning and implementation, a nuanced gender aware approach emerged. There were also limitations and these are highlighted, recognizing feminist critiques of area-based development that show gender-aware practice is not automatic. In the case of Cato Manor, it depended on facilitative political and policy conditions, politically empowered and organized women and gender-aware professionals. Nevertheless, the area-based focus of the project was also helpful.
- ItemIntegrated Area Development Projects: Working Towards Innovation(Transaction Publishers. Urban Forum., 2004-10) Todes, Alison; Odendaal, Nancy; Cameron, JennyThere is growing interest in integrated area development projects as a way of responding to special problem areas, including ameliorating the geographic concentration of social and economic disadvantage. This is expressed through the move towards ‘joined up’ government and development ‘in the round’ at the local level; and new forms of area-based initiatives aimed at neighbourhood renewal and urban economic development. The growing influence of sustainability concepts and developmental approaches to housing and urban development is also leading to multi-faceted projects that incorporate economic, social and environmental dimensions. In the South African context, the interest in integrated area development manifests in the major urban renewal projects that are presently being mounted, and reflects a search for ways of achieving integrated development that are more grounded than the grand scale planning associated with Integrated Development Plans and Spatial Development Frameworks.
- ItemPolicing Johannesburg wealthy neighborhoods: the uncertain ‘partnerships’ between police, communities and private security companies(Trialog, 2006) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThe paper examines the challenges raised by “partnerships” between state and non-state security stakeholders, relying on two security experiments developed in Johannesburg wealthy neighborhoods. It raises the question of their monitoring by the police – understood as the police capacity to coordinate the multiple, non-state policing initiatives that otherwise remain fragmented “security networks”. The community initiatives seem easier to integrate within the local police strategies – since the private security sector has got its own, marketdriven logic. However, the formalisation of partnerships between police and communities have generally failed, due to their technical fragility (flexibility of community involvement, personalization of relationships leading to possible corruption and conflict) and their political difficulties (if the private sector can easily target the high income area, it is considered less legitimate for police to set up “elitist policing” thanks to the involvement of wealthy communities). Finally, abandoning these forms of partnerships might encourage a further privatization of the production of security – using more classical, easier-to-set “contracts” with the private sector that do not seem to lead to a real “partnership” with, nor a monitoring by, the police.
- ItemDecentralising voice: women’s participation in Integrated Development Planning processes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.(Paper presented to Conference on the Place of Participation in a democratising South Africa, IFAS, HSRC and CUBES, Wits, 20-21st November, 2006., 2006-11-20) Williamson, Amanda; Sithole, Pearl; Todes, AlisonThe appeal of decentralisation is based on the belief that it will foster participatory democracy, introduce more responsive service delivery and advance the rights of citizens. It is also assumed that decentralisation processes will promote gender equity and benefit women. International experience, however, has begun to show that social transformation does not necessarily follow decentralisation processes, and that the increased autonomy enjoyed by local government can roll back advances secured by national government as local elites entrench their power in ways that exclude and disempower marginalised and vulnerable groups. Against a backdrop of ambivalent evidence feminist scholars have cautioned against an uncritical acceptance of the supposed benefits of decentralisation for women.
- ItemLocal Government, Gender and Integrated Development Planning(HSRC Press, 2007) Todes, Alison; Williamson, Amanda; Sithole, PearlThe South African Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world. It demonstrates a commitment to promoting equality for men and women, and entrenches women's rights. This commitment is carried through in several government policies, but there are debates about the extent of its implementation. Since 1994, local government has become a more important sphere than before. It is bigger than it once was, and has a larger mandate than before. \it has been described as the 'hands and feet' of the government, and is expected to play a key role in developing its local areas. Like national government, local government must carry through the commitment to women's empowerment and gender equity.
- ItemThe place of participation in South African local democracy. Editorial.(Transformation, 2008) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThis collection of papers attempts to start bringing together these different approaches, relying on different methodologies and disciplines, in order to deepen our understanding of the interaction, at the local level, between social movements and the political system, understood as the power structures of local government, the electoral system and local party politics. In other terms, what are the relations between civic and social movements1 on the one hand, and local government structures and politics on the other hand? How does the latter shape political opportunity for social movements – and how does it set up constraints and limits to their development and action? How in return do social movements shape local government practices, and possibly policies – in other words, what is not only the nature, but more importantly the political outcome of social movements’ intervention in urban governance?
- ItemCommunity Policing and Disputed Norms for Local Social Control in Post-Apartheid Johannesburg(Journal of Southern African Studies., 2008-03) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThis article, based on field study in suburbs and townships in post-apartheid Johannesburg, argues that there are different ‘cultures’ of policing and different conceptions of local social order embedded in different local histories and contrasting socio-economic settings. The South African state is currently attempting to homogenise security practices and to ‘educate’ people in a democratic policing culture. At the same time it is also firmly setting some limits (for instance by rejecting road closures and vigilantism) to the local security experiments developed in the period following the demise of apartheid. However, its current policy, supposedly designed to ‘unify’ the policing systems under common principles, is based on the broad encouragement of community participation in the production of security, as well as on the promotion of zero-tolerance principles. These policies actually serve to exacerbate local differentiation regarding the content and practice of policing as well as the undemocratic principles rhetorically resisted by the state.
- ItemCity Planners(HSRC Press, 2009) Todes, AlisonCity planning is a small profession, with only 3 790 graduates by 2004. Data sources on the profession are limited, and there are only a few, mainly qualitative studies. 'Planning' as it is described in the Planning Professions Act (No.36 of 2002), was designated as a 'scarce skill' in the context of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgisa) and the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) (Berrisford 2006; Dol 2006b) Lack of Planning capacity was seen as constraining development in two main ways: through slow processing of land development applications, which was seen as holding up development; and through the lack of transformation of South African cities, perpetuating conditions such as long and costly travel to work, with impacts on labour costs. Further, the focus on infrastructure-led development would also require increased planning capacity.
- ItemGender in Planning and Urban Development(Commonwealth Secretariat, 2009-12) Malaza, Nqobile; Todes, Alison; Williamson, AmandaThere is increasing evidence that women and men experience cities in different ways. Therefore gender-sensitive urban planning is needed. However, like other built environment occupations, the planning profession has traditionally been ‘gender blind’. The Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) has been a strong advocate for ‘reinventing planning’ (Farmer et al. 2006). CAP argues for ‘planning as an inclusive process ... rooted in concerns for equity’ (CAP 2008). Gender equality is one dimension of this kind of inclusive planning. This position, which was endorsed by the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum in 2006, also reflects the Commonwealth’s strong commitment to gender equality. So why does gender matter in urban planning? And, what might ‘gendered planning practice’ hope to achieve?
- ItemBeyond master planning? New approaches to spatial planning in Ekurhuleni, South Africa(Elsevier., 2010) Todes, Alison; Karam, Aly; Klug, Neil; Malaza, NTraditional master planning has been criticised, but continues in various forms. This paper critically assesses an initiative by a South Africa metropolitan municipality to develop ‘local spatial developmen tframeworks’: comprehensive integrated plans dealing with 22 sectors, for some 103 areas, to guide land us edecisions and to provide a frame work for development. The paper concludes that despite some innovative aspects, several elements of traditional master planning were evident. New approaches to spatial planning were being shaped by older thinking, but also by the impact of a traditional land use management system.The findings point to the need for greater attention to debating alternative forms of spatial planning and their appro-priateness in various contexts. .
- ItemIncluding Women? (Dis)junctures Between Voice,(Urban Forum. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010, 2010-02-05) Todes, Alison; Sithole, Pearl; Williamson, AmandaAbstract Integrated development plans (IDPs) are municipal strategic plans designed to bring about developmental local government. They have been criticised for providing insufficient space for democratic participation. This paper explores the extent to which a marginalised group—women—has been incorporated into the IDP process, in response to three questions. First, how have IDP participatory processes incorporated women’s voice, and are the new participatory spaces realising their transformative potential? Secondly, how have women’s interests and a gender perspective been mainstreamed in the IDP, and has it promoted transformation? And finally, at the interface between officials and women themselves, how are IDP projects implemented and does agency promote or impede the goals of gender equality? A study of three KwaZulu-Natal municipalities reveals some achievements, but unequal gender relations have not been transformed. These case studies demonstrate some of the complexities and difficulties in the practice of democratic governance.
- ItemContemporary South African Urbanization Dynamics(Urban Forum. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010, 2010-06-16) Todes, Alison et alAbstract The paper provides an overview of urbanization patterns and trends in the current era in South Africa, focusing in particular on the key dynamics and driving forces underlying migration and urbanization. It considers overall demographic trends with regard to migration and urbanization, and points to some of the difficulties with data, and with the analysis of trends and patterns. The paper explores the changing rural context and dynamics, and some of the significant processes in this context: large-scale displacement of black people off farms, the impact of land reform, and conditions in the former homeland areas. Circular migration continues to be an important way in which households in rural areas survive, but some are unable to move, and are falling out of these networks. International migration—the consequence of both conditions in the home country and the draw of the South African economy— is another significant process fuelling mainly urban growth. The paper demonstrates the importance of cities in terms of economic growth and employment, and thus their attractiveness to migrants. Continuing migration to cities is of course a challenge for
- ItemThe researcher as the ball in a political game(Carnets de géographes,, 2010-10) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThis research, undertaken by PLANACT (an NGO) and for which I am playing a role as research adviser, is about the place of residents’ participation in a hostel renovation projecti. The hostelii is located on former mining ground, close to the metropolitan fresh products market. It is not far from the city center in absolute terms (about 10 kilometers) and well connected to it through taxi routes: but in a no man’s land made up of industrial zones, mine dumps, and toxic waste. It is also a political enclave – an ANC stronghold in a DAiii ward, which mostly comprises (besides the hostel) former white working class suburbs. The hostel renovation is conducted by Joshco (Johannesburg Social Housing Company, an entity that is funded by the municipality and is accountable to it but has its own management structure), who also manages the rental units. The project is about converting a former male hostel (predominantly occupied by Xhosa residents, from the Eastern Cape) into family units, inviting the wife and children to join their long-gone husband. It is perceived by most residents as a radical change that has its own challenges (in particular when the migrant husband has established a relationship with another women; but even more generally because the coming of women challenges the former masculine environment and requires some reshuffling of traditional gender roles). In the process of conversion and renovation of the hostel, Joshco has been mainly interacting with the old Tenants Committee, composed of four men and often criticized by other stakeholders (including Joshco itself), for not being representative of all residents. Two other local organizations are powerful locally: the ANC and SANCO structures (partners in what is called the ‘Alliance Forum’) They are said to have a wider audience, and are extremely critical of (and sometimes violently oppositional to) Joshco’s project. It took a long time for us to identify who the leaders were and to organize a meeting, all the more that we were introduced in the hostel by Joshco’s caretaker, who was reluctant to put us in touch with people he perceived as ‘trouble makers’, and was also very wary that the research process could open conflict and even violence in City Deep Hostel, especially in electoral timesv. I had subsequently issued a poster and flyers in English and Xhosa to tell residents about the research and inform them that its purpose was to talk with all stakeholders and hear all voices, from an outsider’s, independent perspective. After several months of fieldwork in the area, and eventually individual interviews with the local ANC representative, and the SANCO chair, I asked the former if I could attend an Alliance Forum executive committee meeting (since there was no public meeting in the pipeline) and he invited me.
- Item‘Up close and personal’ - How does local democracy help the poor access the state? Stories of accountability and clientelism in Johannesburg(Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2011) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThe paper revisits participation and decentralization in relation to local clientelism, arguing that they share the personalization of links between residents and the State and the local possibility to adapt state policies. The line between decentralization-participation on the one hand, and clientelism on the other, is therefore easily blurred. The paper thus argues that clientelism is not per se anti-democratic, some forms allow for local and immediate accountability of politicians. However, in most cases, it contributes to fragment or sedate local organizations or social movements and it prevents contestation of existing policies and dominant power structures. The paper thus challenges the idea that the promotion of decentralization and participatory institutions intrinsically leads to more democratic forms of government.