Spatial Justice and Urban Design

The case of Southern African settlements

Authored by: David Dewar

The New Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138302129
eBook ISBN: 9780203731932
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203731932-7

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Abstract

The chapter identifies five criteria for evaluating spatial justice: ecological justice, the generative capacity of settlements, equity of access, livability, and choice. Applying these criteria to the generic characteristics of structure and form of settlements in Southern Africa makes us understand why a United Nations-Habitat report found them to be amongst the most inequitable and unjust in the world. The chapter argues that one of the largest obstacles to reducing these inequities in the future lies in the planning system itself. Two different approaches to spatial planning are identified and compared: programmatic and structural-spatial approaches. The chapter makes an argument for making structural-spatial approaches central to spatial planning and urban design. However, while a changed spatial planning system is a necessary precondition for sustained future improvement towards more just settlements, it is not a sufficient one. It is also necessary for the state at all levels to intervene aggressively in the urban land market.

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