Living in a Post-Apartheid City: A Baseline Survey of Quality of Life in Buffalo City
Community quality of life (QOL) is an elusive concept to define. Its meaning depends on where you live, where you work (if you work), and who you are (for example, your gender, class, and culture). This view of QOL is supported by other researchers like Proshansky and Fabian (1986). Like other cities and towns in South Africa, the legacy of apartheid not only left deep physical and psychological scars but also resulted in huge data gaps in Buffalo City for proper city planning. The 2001 QOL collected a spectrum of social data for Buffalo City, including community indicators of development at the level of smaller towns and suburbs. The survey had a number of important specific objectives, the main ones being: filling large socioeconomic data gaps to facilitate the completion of the municipality’s first strategic plan—in South African city planning parlance, these are also referred to as Integrated Development Plans (IDPs); facilitating economic development of the city; quantifying development needs and prioritizing development initiatives; and providing baseline data for the monitoring of service delivery backlogs (Buffalo City Municipality Integrated Development Plan, 2002). The survey also set up a vehicle through which Buffalo City residents were able to participate in city planning by identifying their own development needs.
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