Development from below as a regional planning approach in Southern Africa

de Beer, G R M
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Starting from the background of the modernisation/dependency debate, the author examines traditional top-down and bottom up approaches to regional planning. The major findings of this document are that South African regional policy has been dominated by political rather than economic criteria. Furthermore, the evidence indicates that regional policy has shown particularly poor results, and will continue to do so. The author finds that neither top-down nor bottom-up approaches constitute a comprehensive approach to regional development in Southern Africa. The suggested outcome is a combination of the two approaches. The bottom-up school's major contribution is seen to be the promotion of rural development and community based decision making. The Transkei case study however highlights the importance of a simultaneous urbanisation policy to allow agriculture in Transkei to become viable. Transkei's relative disadvantage in attracting industry requires that the emphasis falls on the existing metropolitan and secondary cities to accommodate rapid urbanisation. Implicit from this is that the South African government abandon the political ideal of apartheid and concentrate on a more economically efficient industrial location policy, whilst simultaneously providing substantial support for rural development policies, optimally within a more conducive institutional environment