Research Articles by Planning Academics
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- ItemAccessing the State: Everyday Practices and Politics in the South(Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2011) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThis special issue explores everyday practices and politics of accessing the state and state resources from a southern perspective. The collection of papers documents low-income residents’ everyday relationships with the state, through the study of actual practices of interaction with a range of state representatives at the local level (councilors and officials, at various levels of local government). Formal and informal, legal and illegal, confrontational and cooperative, we analyze the multiple tactics of engagement with the state by low-income residents to understand the extent to which they allow access to state resources and to degrees of state recognition, even in contexts of mass poverty, informality and scarce public resources. The modes of interaction with the state also embody and frame low-income residents’ representations of the state, of their expectations, and of their own citizenship. This special issue thus critically draws together a wide-ranging and important debate on governance, and the relationships it constructs between state and civil society. The main question we thus raise in this special issue is how the dynamics of governance reform, with attempted development or deepening of both decentralization and participation, affect everyday practices to access the state and the resulting politics that shape state-society relations in southern contexts. Collectively, the articles in the special issue reflect on the ways in which low-income citizens access to the state challenges existing theories of the state and democracy. Stemming from a research programme entitled ‘The Voices of the Poor in Urban Governance: Participation, Mobilisation and Politics in South African Cities’, this special issue focuses on South African cities primarily but not exclusively. Although the contexts examined have their own specificities, we argue that they provide an interesting and critical context in which to work through the debate from a Southern perspective. South African societies are specific in the huge expectations residents have in the post-apartheid state, and in the ways that ideals continue to be framed in modernist terms, as emblematized by policies of mass public housing delivery and effort towards mass access to urban services. The state, even if it is not so powerful, remains at the core of representations and expectations especially of lower income residents (Borges 2006) – mass urban protests which continue to rise in South African cities today show the disappointment of these expectations rather than a disregard, ignorance or avoidance of the State (Bénit-Gbaffou 2008, Alexander 2010). Attempts to address the gaps between expectation and public delivery have taken the form of major local government restructuring in a post-apartheid context, relying extensively on principles of good governance (decentralization, democratization as well as new public management principles). However, these expectations and experiences of confrontation of civil society with the state co-exist with everyday practices of negotiation, seeking of favours, and clientelism, which also shape residents’ access to resources, and more broadly their representations of the state and the construction of their urban citizenship (Oldfield and Stokke 2004). The South African case is thus particularly relevant to study the interaction between the modern state and good governance ideals, and practices of ‘political society’.
- ItemAre Johannesburg peri-central neighbourhoods irremediably ‘fluid’? The local governance of diversity, mobility and competition in Yeoville & Bertrams(Wits University Press, 2014) Benit-Gbaffou, ClaireJohannesburg’s inner city, often emblematized by the infamously known Hillbrow, has often constituted the point of departure for depicting urban chaos, unpredictability, endless mobility, fluidity and undecipherable change – be it in novels and movies (see 2002 Welcome to our Hillbrow, 2010 Zoo City, 2008 Jerusalema), or in academic literature (Morris 1999, Simone 2006). Inner city neighbourhoods, in the CBD but also at its immediate fringe (‘peri-central’ areas) are currently functioning as ports of entry into South African economic capital, for both national and international migrants. They are characterized by a degree of urban decay that have earned these neighborhoods the label of ‘slums’, ‘sinkholes’, in need of ‘urban management’ and re-affirmation of ‘law and order’. Some have also attracted specific attempts at urban regeneration led mostly by the municipality, followed or not by private investment. They are all marked by a level of informality (in housing and in economic activities) which is often a condition for low-income migrants to enter the urban labour and housing markets.
- 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. .
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- ItemCLAIMING ‘RIGHTS’ IN THE AFRICAN CITY: POPULAR MOBILISATION AND THE POLITICS OF INFORMALITY IN NAIROBI, RABAT, JOHANNESBURG AND CAPE TOWN.(Oxon & New York. Routledge, 2014) Benit-Gbaffou, Claire; Oldfield, SophieIn this chapter however, we do not directly use the term ‘right to the city’, as we follow Mayer (2009) in her call against the ‘proliferation of this rights [to the city] discourse’ that runs the risk of weakening its political power (see also Purcell 2002)....Our aim, in articulating urban mobilisation to the notion of ‘rights’ (in the plural) in this chapter, is to understand more narrowly, more practically, and perhaps then theoretically, to what extent these ‘rights’ to the city are (or not) a strategic tool for collective mobilisation in cities of the South to access urban goods, spaces, resources. In this respect, we are more interested in literature that takes the notion of ‘rights’ seriously, in line with Fernandez in Brazil (2007) or Bhan in India (2009) for instance: examining the legal dimension of ‘rights’ and its impacts in securing different forms of access to urban spaces and urban goods. But this approach needs to explicitly take into account how the formality of this definition unfolds in urban politics and collective mobilisation marked by high levels of informality.
- ItemCommunity leadership and the construction of political legitimacy Unpacking Bourdieu’s political capital in post-apartheid Johannesburg(2014) Benit-Gbaffou, Claire; Katsaura, ObviousIn our attempt to unravel the structures, constraints and opportunities under which community leaders operate, we have been inspired, as many before us in different ways , by Bourdieu’s work on political capital, political representation and his analyses of the specificities of the ‘political field’ (Bourdieu, 1991). However, we also feel that his theoretical frames are built on reflections developed at a supra-local scale, in contexts of highly institutionalized or institutionalizing politics (national party apparatuses), and where the politics of informality are not at the center of his observations. We believe our perspectives on the micro-politics of the local in urban societies dominated by informality, and in globalizing and neoliberalizing governance contexts which see the proliferation of governance institutions (private and public, formal and informal, local, national and international) might bring new insights into the understanding of the complex construction of political legitimacies. In particular, we argue that community leaders – being both grounded locally, in close proximity to their constituencies; and in search of institutional recognition (by a party, or a fraction of the state) that might give them less uncertain legitimacy as well as possible access to material resources, need to build their political legitimacies not either from the bottom or from the top, but from both simultaneously. Following Bourdieu’s notion of double dealings (the need for what he calls ’professional politicians’ to fight in the political field as well as in the social field; for their own political positions and as representatives of their mandators), we then elaborate on instances where the relationships between the two legitimation processes (what we call here legitimation from the ‘bottom’ and from the ‘top’) reinforce one another or contradict one another
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- ItemLocal democracy in Indian and South African cities: A comparative literature review(Wits University Press, Johannesburg, 2011) Benit Gbaffou, ClaireThe local level has become since the 1990s an important arena of development of democracy in most countries of the world – in a move sometimes described as part of “the third wave of democratization” (Huntington 1992), encouraged both by progressive movements seeking a form of grassroots democracy, and by the World Bank as a new form of governance. India and South Africa are no exception, and both countries have implemented reforms of local government in the mid 1990s, with the objective of broadening and deepening democracy. This chapter aims at comparing the political and academic debates that took place in South Africa and India concerning decentralization, and more broadly local democracy, in an urban context1. We believe, with Hantrais, that “the definition and understanding of concepts and the relationship between concepts and contexts are of critical concern in comparative research that crosses national, societal, cultural and linguistic boundaries” (Hantrais 2009: 72). Through a literature review and a contextualization of local democracy’s history, institutions, and practices, this joint chapter aims at identifying the commonalities and differences in the political and social stakes contained in the debates on “local democracy”.