Re-building amongst ruins : the pursuit of urban integration in South Africa (1994-2001)
The 'apartheid city' was synonymous with extreme racial segregation and inequality. After the first democratic elections in April 1994, a range of new urban development policies were developed to deconstruct and re-build the apartheid city. These efforts unfolded under a policy discourse of urban integration. Spatial planning featured large in the urban development policy matrix of the South African state at a time when spatial planning was declining in influence in the international context. The thesis focuses on the relevance of spatial planning for addressing three intractable and inter-related features of the apartheid city: racial segregation, land-use fragmentation and inequality. The research sought to explain why by 2001, the urban development agenda was not dismantling the apartheid city, but rather reinforcing its spatial patterns. The theoretical contribution of the research is to show how the policy ideal of urban integration corresponds very closely to planning ideas contained in theories associated with the Compact City and New Urbanism, while procedural aspects are akin to the arguments of Communicative Planning theory. The thesis identifies a hybridised South African approach that found support across a wide spectrum of urban development policies - housing, development planning, transport, local government, environmental management. However, political and institutional frictions between national departments and spheres of government made it virtually impossible to harness the potential synergy that could arise from such policy confluence. The research explored two policy frameworks in close detail: 1) the Urban Development Framework driven by the national Department of Housing; and 2) the Municipal Spatial Development Framework (Muni- SDF) of the City of Cape Town Municipality. The latter policy was explored in terms of its broader institutional setting and through a micro-level study focussed on a land-use dispute. The case study of post-apartheid urban policy was researched through a combination of qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews, archival documentary reviews and an analysis of secondary literature. The thesis argues that the normative planning theories employed need to be articulated in a way that accounts for the specificity of the South African postcolonial experience. It is concluded that the policy tenets of urban integration need to be recast in a way that takes explicit account of specific contextual and institutional dynamics and power that shape the contested political dialogue about how best to advance urban integration so that policies can better reduce the urban fragmentation, segregation and inequality that continue to mark and haunt South African cities.