Urban Geography in South Africa: An Introduction
More than half the world’s population now live in urban areas, with this number set to increase rapidly in coming decades. South Africa itself is one of the most urbanised countries on the continent with urban population numbers expected to rise to 71% by 2030. This increase in urbanisation puts tremendous pressure on already strained infrastructure services, economic systems, the natural environment, and governance processes. Food insecurity, homelessness, crime and violence, unemployment, a lack of access to clean water and sanitation, pollution, and energy poverty are an ongoing concern and, coupled with environmental and economic shocks, risks and hazards, present ‘wicked problems’ that need to be grappled with. The impact and legacy of apartheid still persist on the urban landscape which has both produced and exacerbated many of these challenges. Urban Geographers are interested in location, space, and place, focusing largely on spatial processes and how these materialise within urban settings. This includes unpacking the political, social, economic, and environmental/ecosystem dynamics that exist within these spaces and the impact they have on urban areas and vice versa. This book brings together key thinkers on Urban Geography in South Africa, exploring the past, present, and future of contemporary urban landscapes and providing in-depth insights into a range of pressing issues.
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