Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO)
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The Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) was established in 2008 as a partnership between the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits) and the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), with local government in Gauteng also represented on the GCRO Board. Behind the motivation for setting up the GCRO is a vision for South Africa's economic heartland as a region that is competitive, spatially integrated, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. GCRO is charged with helping to build the knowledge base that government, business, labour, civil society and citizens all need to make this vision a reality. GCRO collects data and benchmarks the city-region, provides policy analysis and support, undertakes applied research, and publishes critically reflective academic work. Visit the GCRO home page at www.gcro.ac.za
For information on accessing Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) content please contact Bongi Mphuti via email : email@example.com or Tel (W) : 011 717 1978
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- ItemAcid mine drainage and its governance in the Gauteng City-Region(2015-05) Bobbins, KerryAcid mine drainage (AMD) in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) has been described in the media as a ticking time bomb after it was officially reported to have begun surfacing from old mining works on the West Rand in 2002 (Masondo et al., 2011; TAU SA, 2011; Slack, 2013). Acid mine drainage occurs when ‘fool’s gold’ (FeS2) or iron pyrite found in mined rock oxidises. This occurs when either underground mine shafts, or crushed conglomerate in Mine Residue Areas (MRAs) on the surface, become exposed to oxygen and water creating run-off that is very high in sulphates – effectively sulphuric acid – and is hazardous to both humans and the environment (McCarthy 2010). Over the last decade, a flurry of news articles have highlighted the threat of acid water decant and its likely effects on human health, the environment, water quality, municipal infrastructure and building foundations in the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD). These reports have fuelled anxieties around when and where decant will take place and who will be affected by AMD. In response to these concerns, government, through the National Department of Water Affairs (DWA), has introduced a set of immediate and short-term interventions to overcome decant in the West Rand. These have allowed AMD to be framed as an environmental emergency. DWA has also set in motion a process to develop a long-term solution that, through a broader and more inclusive approach, will solve various AMD issues over time including its impact on the Gauteng water supply. In relation to both these two government interventions – the immediate/short and long-term solutions – very few stakeholders or members of the public know enough about AMD and its governance to understand what the real challenges are and how they should respond. Even fewer are able to piece together the series of events that led up to the current and proposed set of actions taken by DWA to tackle AMD. This paper argues that the current trajectory of government-led responses has suspended meaningful public engagement and debate, and the result is a grey cloud of misinterpreted facts and presumed motives that has cast a shadow of misunderstanding, which in turn exacerbates the anxieties of affected communities and interested stakeholder groups
- ItemAdventures in City Data: An Ethnographic Story(Gauteng City-Region Observatory, 2022-12) Shirley RobinsonSouth Africa is urbanising rapidly, and its economic landscape is continuously changing as a consequence. In this context, city governments and urban scientists have long called for better access to city economic data. The National Treasury has reinforced this demand, insisting that intra-city economic data is critical in order to improve planning, performance and investment in South Africa’s cities. A wealth of data is collected by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in the course of its routine operations assessing the tax obligations of companies and individual taxpayers. In addition to its bureaucratic purpose, this data represents an enormous potential resource for a detailed understanding of the urban economy. Until recently, this resource has been underutilised because it was not available in an anonymised and geocoded form. At a practical level, however, the significant amount of energy and time required to access, clean and align administrative datasets to make them usable is not generally understood. This GCRO Occasional Paper presents an ethnographic account of a decade-long journey in city economic data collation by the author who, as a long-term technical advisor to the National Treasury’s Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), led the work on the city economic data programme in support of the first phase of the National Treasury’s Cities Support Programme (CSP). After observing the critical need for anonymised and geocoded economic administrative data in policy formulation and urban research, this paper examines the reasons for the limited availability of datasets able to show the location of economic activity and employment at a disaggregated local level. The paper details how the National Treasury’s collaboration with the World Bank in 2016 to produce the Urbanisation Review of South Africa stimulated and directed the efforts of GTAC and the Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN) to pursue official sources of city-level administrative data. The paper goes on to recount subsequent National Treasury/CSP collaborations with Statistics South Africa, SARS and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to collect and collate anonymised and geocoded city economic data from sources other than national general surveys. Despite progress, these efforts were ultimately stymied due to practical and governance constraints. Nevertheless, in a parallel process, these collaborations ultimately bore fruit in the establishment of a secure administrative data centre at the National Treasury that stores anonymised data, which can then be geocoded using postal codes. This secure data centre in turn, after the author had left the process, ultimately provided a foundation for the milestone publication of the 2021 City Spatial Economic Data Reports. The paper concludes by reflecting on the insights from this ethnographic account around possibilities for improving the integrity of the city spatial economic data resource, and enhancing its use in credible, evidence-based urban analysis. First, these conclusions highlight broader institutional and public management concerns in the current governance environment on which future steps to improve the city spatial economic data will depend. Second, the paper points out that, despite the long journey travelled, business classification uncertainty still remains. Solving these governance and data puzzles may further enhance the incredible potential that such a rich data resource holds for evidence-based policy aimed at creating a more just and equal society in South Africa.
- ItemAn analysis of well-being in Gauteng province using the capability approach(Gauteng City-Region Observatory, 2020-12-08) Mushongera, Darlington; Kwenda, Prudence; Ntuli, MiracleThe purpose of this occasional paper is to analyse well-being in Gauteng province from a capability perspective. We adopt a standard ‘capability approach’ consistent with Amartya Sen’s concept of capabilities (1985; 1993; 1999). This study builds on earlier research on poverty and inequality in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) focusing on income inequality (Tseng, 2018), labour market inequalities (Kwenda & Benhura, 2018) and multidimensional poverty (Mushongera et al., 2017; Mushongera et al., 2018). These analyses were based mainly on objective characteristics of well-being, such as income, employment, housing and schooling. However, adopting a capability approach provides us with a more holistic view of well-being in Gauteng by focusing simultaneously on both objective and subjective aspects. According to Robeyns (2016, p. 1), the capability approach is a theoretical framework that entails two core normative claims: first, the claim that the freedom to achieve well-being is of primary moral importance, and second, that freedom to achieve well-being is to be understood in terms of people’s capabilities, that is, their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value. Writing from a feminist and social justice perspective, Nussbaum (2003) generated a list of what she considered the most central capabilities. These capabilities are relevant to the analysis of well-being in general and generate useful insights that can potentially provide an additional lens within the policy realm. They can be combined into indices that capture ‘functionings’, or the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ indicators of well-being. Out of the ten capabilities suggested by Nussbaum (2003), our analysis is based on eight, namely ‘play’, ‘emotions’, ‘other species’, ‘affiliation’, ‘bodily health’, ‘bodily integrity’, ‘senses, imagination and thought’ and ‘control over one’s environment’. The analysis uses data from the Gauteng City-Region Observatory Quality of Life (GCRO QoL) Survey IV-2015/16 (GCRO, 2016), which asks a wide range of questions, and the response options vary significantly. For instance, some questions have binary responses while others have multiple possible responses, such as those captured by a Likert scale. To generate similar units of measurement, all indicators were normalised using a standard ordinal ranking procedure. Normalisation is a simple technique whereby all variables are scored consistently so that the lowest rank always indicates the worst outcomes and the highest means the best in relative terms; for example, for the Health Status Indicator, a rank of 1 is assigned to individuals with very poor health; 2 for poor health; 3 for good health; and 4 for excellent health (OECD, 2008). Each capability index in our analysis was computed as a weighted average of its related normalised indicator variables. The weights were generated using multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), which is an objective statistical approach. The results of our analysis indicate that the capabilities with high scoring indices are ‘play’ and ‘senses, imagination and thought’, while ‘bodily integrity’ and ‘affiliation’ scored very low. Capability achievements vary across race, age, gender, income level and location. The results confirm the well-known heterogeneity in human conditions among South African demographic groups. However, we observe broader (in both subjective and objective dimensions) levels of deprivation that are otherwise masked in earlier studies. Policies that directly target indicators for capabilities where historically disadvantaged and vulnerable groups (such as youth, elderly and the physically challenged) are deprived are highly recommended. Given the spatial heterogeneities in capability achievements, we recommend localised interventions in capabilities that are lagging in certain areas of the province.
- ItemBenchmarking the way cities and regions around the world are responding to the global recession(2009-09) Everatt, David; Gotz, Graeme; Phakathi, Sizwe; Makgetla, NevaThe Gauteng Provincial Government Department of Economic Department (GPGDED) approached the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) to provide them with a fast turn-around report that benchmarks sub-national responses to the economic crisis globally. The brief was to provide a review of what cities and regions are doing in response to the crisis in other parts of the world, and to emphasise the action side of the story – what is being done, rather than analysing the differing nature and impact of the crisis in different places.The report is filled not so much with specific recommendations as a suite of possible interventions that the Gauteng Provincial Government may wish to choose from and implement.
- ItemBrazil: innovation and development(2012-10) Arbix, Glauco; de Toledo, Demétrio G. C.; Felizardo, Rafael G.This essay discusses recent developments in Brazil´s innovation policies. These policies are part of a long-term developmental process and the current search for a new national configuration of policies and instruments capable of steering Brazil in the midst of globalisation and economic systems that have knowledge as their backbone. Industrialisation became the main source of inspiration as a means of attaining social evolution in countries like Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico, Argentina and South Korea, to name a few; and in a sense this remains true today. These roots have marked state institutions and underscore the modus operandi of government planners. Brazil´s prospects for overcoming poverty, inequality and the burden of late development can be described as a process of attaining a better balance between earlier achievements and the current process of institution-building aimed at providing Brazil with the policies and instruments to support innovation as a means of achieving social and economic development.
- ItemA composite index of quality of life for the Gauteng city-region: a principal component analysis approach(2015-03-30) Greyling, TalitaGCRO's 'Quality of Life' survey and outputs are increasingly part of the research landscape, with both policy and academic uptake. However, to ensure that the results are as accurate as possible, we commission external reviews using alternative analytic methods, to see if they generate similar or very different findings, in addition to the in-house quality control measures in place. In this way, all spheres of government - and GCRO ourselves - can be reassured that rigorous peer review and critique is an integral part of our work. In this paper, UJ economist Talita Dalton-Greyling uses PCA (Principal Component Analysis) to re-run the 2011 Quality of life data and see if her outcomes are similar to ours - which they were. The paper also provides an interesting overview of the global move away from GDP and other economistic measurements of growth to more quality of life and/or well-being measures, and locates her and our work in a broader global context.
- ItemThe decanting of acid mine water in the Gauteng City-Region: analysis, prognosis and solutions(2010-09) McCarthy, TerenceThe large void beneath the Witwatersrand created by gold mining over the last 120 years is filling with water, which is rising at about 15m per month. The void will fill and water will begin to leak out (decant) on surface in about three years from now. It is likely that multiple decant points will develop in municipal areas across the Witwatersrand from Roodepoort to Boksburg. experience on the West Rand has shown that the quality of the water is likely to be poor and toxic. The prime risk area where decant points are likely to develop is in a zone about 500m wide straddling Main Reef Road and the M2 motorway, plus a secondary zone some two kilometres to the south. deep basements of buildings and other sub-surface infrastructure in the risk zones could experience flooding and the underground facility at Gold Reef City, a national treasure, will be lost. The problem can be solved by establishing pump stations at shallow depth in the mining belt to keep the water at a safe depth below surface. a depth of 300m is recommended in order to protect the Gold Reef City facility. The technological capability to do this is readily available, and the necessary water treatment processes are well established. although initially expensive, the pumping operation may ultimately generate a profit. Moreover, the cost of not pumping may ultimately vastly exceed the cost of timely intervention. establishing the necessary pumping and water treatment infrastructure will take considerable time, and therefore immediate action is required.
- ItemDistribution of population vs economic activity(Gauteng City-Region Obervatory, 2021-08-31) Mosiane, Ngaka; Murray, JenniferThe location of population in relation to economic activity in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) has been a subject of considerable interest from a number of researchers and institutions. This Map of the Month contributes to that body of work, highlighting a misalignment between where people live and where Gross Value Add (GVA) typically associated with urban development occurs. The map shows every ‘mesozone’ – equally sized polygons drawn by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – across the extended Gauteng City Region, using a radius of 175km from the centre of Johannesburg. The value of each mesozone is calculated by subtracting its share of the whole region’s population from its share of selected urban economic sectors. In green mesozones, the share of urban economic activity exceeds the share of population, while in red or orange mesozones, the share of population exceeds the share of the urban economy. The map draws attention to the edges of Gauteng’s metropolitan areas as sites with larger population shares than that of the economy (e.g. the red and orange shaded ‘mesozones’ in Soweto, Soshanguve, and KwaMhlanga). The opposite is true for the core of the GCR, which is characterised by high urban economic agglomeration compared to the people living there (e.g. the green shaded mesozones around Johannesburg and Pretoria).
- ItemEconomic and commuting connections in the northern GCR(Gauteng City-Region Obervatory, 2022-02-28) Mosiane, Ngaka; Murray, JenniferThis Map of the Month illustrates some of the ways through which the core areas of the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) are interconnected with their peripheries, including those that are outside the Gauteng Province, but are within commuting distance. The connections are drawn as straight lines from the start to end points, representing some of the regional flows of goods, services, and people (particularly workers). These flows signify disparate types of relationships between the city region peripheries and core areas, involving the transporting of mining supplies from Gauteng to Rustenburg mining operations. They also indicate relationships of interdependence, including daily commutes from northern Tshwane and former KwaNdebele to the City of Tshwane. It suggests that railway lines, highways, and roads are among the government's most important development interventions. Ordinary people themselves turn those facilities into resources to cope with, rework, or even overcome their marginality. The resultant large-scale practices and spaces of mobility overcome the divide between the core and periphery.
- ItemA framework for a green infrastructure planning approach in the Gauteng City-Region(2016-09) Bobbins, Kerry; Culwick, ChristinaAs the population, economy and urban built environment in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) expand, government is increasingly under pressure to provide urban infrastructure to support growth. It is increasingly important that this infrastructure is sustainable, minimising the negative environmental impacts often associated with traditional forms of urban development. Green Infrastructure (GI) is the interconnected set of natural and man-made ecological systems, green spaces and other landscape features that provide services and strategic functions in the same way as traditional infrastructure. In harnessing the benefits of ecosystem services, GI has emerged as a more efficient, cost effective and sustainable alternative – and sometimes accompanying approach – to conventional forms of infrastructure. Despite international evidence demonstrating how GI can be used as an alternative to, or in tandem with, traditional infrastructure, the GI approach has so far gained only limited traction in the GCR. In 2013 the GCRO published the State of Green Infrastructure in the GCR report. The report established the principles that underpin GI, used available data to map the extent of GI networks in the region, assessed to what extent municipalities were aware of and applying a GI approach, and demonstrated a possible way to value GI in local government financial systems. The conclusions of the State of Green Infrastructure report were used to guide the next phase of GCRO’s research in support of the adoption of GI approach – a phase focused on better understanding the opportunities for implementing GI in planning and infrastructure development programmes and on addressing some of the challenges associated with shifts towards this approach. A framework for a green infrastructure planning approach in the Gauteng City-Region, GCRO’s fourth Research Report, builds on the foundations laid in the State of Green Infrastructure report. It assembles expert inputs and reflections from collaborative stakeholder discussions in what was known as the Green Infrastructure CityLab to illustrate important considerations for the development of a GI planning approach in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR). The report is divided into three broad sections. Part A introduces the theoretical underpinnings of a GI approach and builds an argument for the importance of incorporating GI into planning and infrastructure development in the GCR. Part B presents three pieces written by external experts. They consider how GI and ecosystem services can be valued by municipalities, and how so-called ‘grey-green’ infrastructure design solutions can be implemented in the GCR. Part C reflects on the stakeholder engagement process that has been undertaken, primarily through the GI CityLab, to deepen understanding of how GI can be embedded in municipal practice. Based on these research findings, this report concludes with a strategy for GCRO’s next phase of work in its ongoing Green Assets and Infrastructure Project.
- ItemGauteng going dark: How nighttime light intensity changed during early stages of lockdown(Gauteng City-Region Obervatory, 2020-07-21) Naidoo, Yashena; Maree, GillianThe COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa has had far reaching impacts on society and the economy. A national disaster was declared on 15 March 2020 and by 26 March 2020 strong restrictive measures were put in place to manage the spread of the disease. The tightest restrictions were in place for lockdown level 5 which lasted from 26 March 2020 until the end of April 2020. During level 5 all movement was restricted and only essential workers were permitted to work. The country's borders were closed; interprovincial movement was banned; all gatherings except for small funerals were prohibited and schools, restaurants and non-essential businesses were closed. With movement restricted, activity was confined largely to domestic spaces. In the July 2020 Map of the month, we use nighttime satellite data to see whether night light intensity across the Gauteng City-Region reflects the impact of lockdown. We looked at how light intensity changed from before lockdown (March 2020) to lockdown level 5 (April 2020). In the full write up, we also show a second map of the difference between level 5 night light brightness (April 2020) and level 4 brightness (May 2020). The maps show a clear dimming of light intensity which resulted from reduced nighttime activity during the various lockdown levels. Roads were noticeably darker with far less vehicle traffic on main highways and many areas with usually vibrant activity at night were darker. As restrictions have eased, light intensity and nighttime activity have increased again across the GCR.
- ItemGauteng’s property gradient three decades after the repeal of the Group Areas Act(Gauteng City-Region Obervatory, 2021-06-30) Ballard, Richard; Namponya, Alfred; Tshangana, AlisonIn June 1991, the South African parliament repealed the Group Areas Act, the legislation that the apartheid state had used to drive urban segregation. To mark the three decade anniversary of this moment, this month’s map showcases remarkable analysis conducted by the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) on property values across the three metros in Gauteng. It shows in broad terms the way in which historically-white suburbs continue to be the most financially exclusive parts of the city region. Each pie graph represents one Census subplace or suburb: the size of the circle reflects the total number of registered properties in that suburb while the coloured slices of the pie represent the number of properties in each market segment. Green and blue segments represent properties under R600 000, while red segments indicate properties over R1.2 million.
- ItemGauteng’s urban land cover growth: 1990-2020(Gauteng City-Region Observatory, 2022-03-31) Ballard, Richard; Hamann, Christian
- ItemThe GCRO barometer 2014(2015-04-17) Mushongera, DarlingtonThe GCRO Barometer 2014 depicts developmental progress in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) in a single interactive graphic using 38 indicators across ten key sectors. It serves as a tracking and diagnostic tool to inform policy makers and the public on where development progress is being made, and areas of concern. It also serves as a tool for benchmarking Gauteng against other South African provinces and similar sized city-regions across the world. The GCRO Barometer 2014 is the first release and shows progress in 2012 against three base years: 2002, 2007 and 2011. Overall, the Barometer shows that the developmental outlook for Gauteng is positive with significant progress realised between 2002 and 2012 in nearly all sectors. For instance, the poverty rate has fallen dramatically since 2002 and access to basic services has improved. However, there are challenges in areas such as Social Cohesion, Governance, the Labour Market and Sustainability. Sadly, people’s perceptions of government, as well as their unwillingness to participate in governance matters do not correspond to the achievements made by government during this period. This should be a cause for concern for policy makers in all spheres of government as it reflects dissatisfaction with the nature and quality of services being provided as well as the methods of provision. The Barometer also shows that the impact of government programmes is minimal over shorter time spans – change between 2002 and 2012 is considerable, but change between 2011 and 2012 is insignificant. This is a cause for concern given the 5-year cycle of electoral terms for local government in South Africa. The Barometer’s outcomes underscore the need for government to step up policy and programme monitoring with a view to achieving immediate and positive short-term impacts on communities.
- ItemGoverning the GCR series: Displaced urbanisation or displaced urbanism? Rethinking development in the peripheries of the GCR(Gauteng City-Region Observatory, 2022-04) Ngaka Mosiane; Graeme GotzThis Provocation attends to a feature of the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) – its periphery – that continues to receive very limited public and private investment yet remains home to many hundreds of thousands of largely poor people. The extended GCR has a complicated social, economic and spatial structure due to the legacy effects of apartheid. That system’s laws against free movement frustrated the urban aspirations of the African population, forcing them to stay in the extended cheap labour pools of economically unviable bantustans, many in proximity to but removed from burgeoning city centres. This system has not unravelled with the formal arrival of democracy. The GCR remains a complex functional space whose edge is not defined by the boundary of the Gauteng province. Tens of thousands of commuters routinely flow across the northern boundary of Gauteng each day to work, shop, trade goods or seek employment in Pretoria and other Gauteng cities. This flow, and the lasting social, economic and spatial dislocation effects of apartheid it reflects, has come to be symbolised by the R573 Moloto Road, colloquially named the ‘road of death’ because of the staggering number of traffic accidents it sees each year. The question of what should now be done with the still underdeveloped zones of what has historically been termed ‘displaced urbanisation’ on Gauteng’s periphery, has occupied the state, amongst other actors, for almost three decades. Focusing on the efforts to conceptualise and plan for massive transport infrastructure along the Moloto Development Corridor as a key solution to the problem, this Provocation reveals a set of unresolved divergences within the South African state. Differences of opinion and policy approach – which pivot on whether it would be better to facilitate the continued, but safer, mobility of peripherally located commuters through massive rail development, or to encourage population relocation to Gauteng’s core – have meant that development efforts have so far remained largely uncoordinated. In turn, the gains that a negotiated process around a broadly common agenda could potentially yield have remained constrained. This Provocation contends that coordination through a strategy of mutual engagement remains absent because the relevant actors lack a shared ‘concept of development’. Both sides of the debate miss the significance of the day-to-day actions of residents, formal and informal traders, civil society, traditional leaders, and other actors, who are not waiting to be moved, or developed by transport investment, but are striving to transform the zones of ‘displaced urbanisation’ they occupy into vibrant spaces of ‘displaced urbanism’. We argue that this ‘displaced urbanism’ – the innovative co-existence of formal and informal land uses and activities; prolific acts of self-realisation by local residents trying to survive and pursue their aspirations; and, in turn, dynamic local economies from below – needs to be taken much more seriously on its own terms.
- ItemHistorical spatial change in the Gauteng City-Region(2013-03) Mubiwa, Brian; Annegarn, HaroldThis Occasional Paper is one of two that GCRO has commissioned specifically to deepen our understanding of the past of the GCR. Both focus on aspects of the region’s spatial past, and ought to be read together. This paper by Brian Mubiwa and Harold Annegarn explores the historical spatial evolution of the GCR. It examines key spatial changes that have shaped the region over a century and provides a remarkable picture, based on satellite imagery, of regional spatial growth in the last two decades. The companion paper by Alan Mabin asks the different but related question of how the idea of a city-region found expression in various statutory planning frameworks over the course of the last century, and how embryonic city-region concepts influenced spatial decisions and developments.
- ItemThe impact of COVID-19 on long term care facilities(Gauteng City-Region Obervatory, 2020-10-01) Maree, Gillian; Khanyile, SamkelisiweFor those who live in long term care facilities the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been particularly devastating. For the September Map of the Month we explore the impacts on long term care facilities in Gauteng by mapping the known cases in these facilities across the province. Many, if not most, long term care facilities have had cases of COVID-19 across Gauteng. Most of these have been in retirement and frail care facilities, but facilities for people with mental and physical disabilities have also been affected. To date at least 243 facilities have recorded 2606 cases across Gauteng Province since March 2020. Many long term care facilities were overwhelmed or left unprepared for the impact of COVID-19. By now long term care facilities have been under lockdown for 6 months, with many residents isolated from family and friends. The move to level 1 and increased visitations to these facilities will be welcomed but comes at a high risk of new cases. High levels of vigilance needs to remain into the foreseeable future.
- ItemIn pursuit of just sustainability(Gauteng City-Region Observatory, 2021-11-01) Culwick Fatti, Christina; Cohen, Brett; Jennings, Gail; Kane, Lisa; Rubin, Margot; Tyler, EmilyThis volume is the product of a research collective that brought together researchers from different backgrounds to explore just sustainability in Gauteng. This research collective, which was initiated by the volume’s editor emerged out of a desire to explore from a range of perspectives those instances where social justice and environmental sustainability are not neatly aligned. The aim of such an exploration is to refine how just sustainability is conceptualised and put into practice.
- ItemJohannesburg and its epidemics: Can we learn from history?(Gauteng City-Region Observatory, 2020-11-30) Harrison, PhilipCovid-19 has massively disrupted life globally and locally, bringing many uncertainties in its wake. It is not, however, the first epidemic to pummel the Gauteng City-Region. This GCRO Occasional Paper provides a detailed account of previous epidemics, including smallpox, the plague, influenza, measles, polio, scarlet fever and HIV/Aids. It asks whether we can learn from this history to benefit the present time. It shows that although we must use history judiciously because circumstances vary enormously across time, there are persisting themes and a knowledge of history can help direct attention to critical concerns. These themes are addressed in the report and include: the uncertain and idiosyncratic course of epidemics; social fault-lines exposed through epidemics, worsened through scapegoating, stigmatising and pathologising; the effects on livelihoods and the economy; the impacts on spatial form and infrastructures; the ways in which governance impacts the course of epidemics; and the ways in which epidemics influence the continued evolution of governance.
- ItemThe map of Gauteng: evolution of a city-region in concept and plan(2013-07) Mabin, AlanThe mission of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) is to help illuminate trends and dynamics shaping the region of towns and cities in and around Gauteng, and also enhance understanding of the idea of the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) as a project – a different way of thinking about and governing this space.While much of the data collection and analysis work of the GCRO is focused on the present, we also consider the city-region’s past and its possible futures. This Occasional Paper is one of two that GCRO has commissioned specifically to deepen our understanding of the past of the GCR. Both focus on aspects of the region’s spatial past, and ought to be read together. This paper by Prof Alan Mabin explores how the idea of a city-region found expression in various statutory planning frameworks over the course of the last century, and how embryonic city-region concepts influenced spatial decisions and developments. The companion paper by Brian Mubiwa and Harold Annegarn considers the different but related issue of the actual historical spatial evolution of the GCR.
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