Considering the potential of the social function of land to advance an integrated approach to urban land use and spatial planning

Tristan Gorgens

Paper presented at 'Overcoming structural poverty and inequality in South Africa: Towards inclusive growth and development', 20–22 September 2010, Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Gauteng.

Despite an extensive process of basic needs service delivery since 1994, the South African state as largely failed to challenge, and in some respects has contributed to perpetuating, the form and functioning of the apartheid city.  In this regard, there are two related areas of policy debate that have continued unabated since the early 1990s: the nature of the role the state should play in ensuring integrated and sustainable cities and how to address growing informality in such a way to support and deepen that the initiative and livelihoods of the urban poor, while its negative aspects are mitigated.  This paper suggests that a focus on the social function of land, in contrast to market-based approaches (including those taking an explicitly pro-poor stance), enables a fresh perspective on these debates and provides a solid base for the conceptualisation of such an integrated spatial planning system.

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