The Undervaluation, but Extreme Importance, of Social Sustainability in South Africa
Almost every planning-related paper employs the increasing urbanisation figures and problematic impact of such, to substantiate research needs and approaches. This is especially true for the African content which often top the charts in terms of population growth. Accordingly, spatial planning recently became a tool to guide broader sustainability thinking and direct the planning of smart futures. Within this notion spatial planning, theoretically, often relates to the three dimensions of sustainability (economic, environmental and social) to find adequate planning solutions. In practice divergent scenarios are seen, where focus are often placed on economic- and environmental interventions, as easier implementable solutions, in comparison to more complex approaches related to social sustainability. This chapter therefore considers sustainability from a South African perspective, illustrating the unique social considerations that impacted on the results of various planning studies, arguing that despite social sustainability being less researched, it has the most prominent role to play in the African context. This finding is substantiated by reference to a literature review regarding the three dimensions of sustainability and relevance within local context, followed by a reflection on six individual studies conducted between 2014 and 2017 on diverse planning-related themes in South Africa. None of these cases aimed to investigate social issues, but findings illustrated deviations from theory, initiated by the unique social context. This chapter concluded on the importance of social sustainability as primary point of departure for realising broader sustainability in practice, referring to adequate knowledge and contextualisation of concepts, and the importance for context-based research in South Africa, acknowledging issues of status, safety and scale.
KeywordsSocial sustainability Context-based planning South Africa Status Safety Contextualisation
The financial assistance of the National Research Foundation (NRF) towards this research is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at are those of the authors and are not necessarily to be attributed to the NRF.
- Bertaud, A. (2010). The study of urban spatial structures. http://alain-bertaud.com. Accessed 4 July 2010.
- CABE Space. (2005). Paying for parks: Eight models for funding urban green space. London: Commission for Architecture and the Build Environment.Google Scholar
- Chen, W. Y., & Jim, C. Y. (2010). Amenities and disamenities: A hedonic analysis of the heterogeneous urban landscape in Shenzhen (China). Geographical Journal, 176(3), 227–240.Google Scholar
- Cilliers, S. S., Siebert, S. J., Davoren, E., & Lubbe, C. S. (2012). Social aspects of urban ecology in developing countries, with an emphasis on urban domestic gardens. In M. Richter & U. Weiland (Eds.), Applied urban ecology: A global framework (pp. 123–138). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Cilliers, E. J., & Cilliers, S. S. (2015). From green to gold: A South African example of valuing urban green spaces in some residential areas in Potchefstroom. Town Planning Review, 67, 1–12.Google Scholar
- Cilliers, E. J., & Cilliers, S. S. (2016). Planning for green infrastructure: Options for South African cities. Johannesburg: South African Cities Network.Google Scholar
- Cilliers, E. J., & Rohr, H. E. (Forthcoming). Integrating WSUD and mainstream spatial planning approaches: Lessons from South Africa. Chapter 23.Google Scholar
- Cilliers, E. J. (2009). Bridging the green-value-gap: A South African approach. International Journal of Environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and Geophysical Engineering, 3(6), 182–187.Google Scholar
- Cilliers, E. J. (2010). Rethinking sustainable development: The economic value of green spaces. Dissertation for completion of M.Com Economics, Potchefstroom: North West University.Google Scholar
- Cities Alliance. (2007). Liveable cities: The benefits of urban environmental planning. A cities alliance study on good practices and useful tools (p. 162). Washington: York Graphic Services.Google Scholar
- De Jong, N. (2013). Addressing social issues in rural communities by planning for lively places and green spaces. Dissertation submitted to the North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2013.Google Scholar
- De Wit, M. P., & Blignaut, J. N. (2006). Monetary valuation of the grasslands in South Africa making the case for the value of ecosystem goods and services in the grassland biome. Report prepared for Lala Steyn at South African National Biodiversity Institute.Google Scholar
- Dixon, T., & Woodcraft, S. (2013). Creating strong communities- measuring social sustainability in new housing development. Town and Country Planning, 473–480.Google Scholar
- EU European Union. (2013). Building a green infrastructure for Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
- Fisher-Jeffes, L. N., Carden, K., Armitage, N. P., Spiegel, A., Winter, K., & Ashley, R. (2012). Challenges facing implementation of water sensitive urban design in South Africa. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Water Sensitive Urban Design, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
- Forman, T. T. (2013) Ecological resilience as a foundation for urban design and sustainability. In S. T. A. Pickett, M. L. Cadenasso, & B. McGrath (Eds.), Resilience in ecology and urban design. Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London: Springer, New York.Google Scholar
- Hardin, B. (2001). Case study using market price methods: Estimating the value of ecosystem functions using the replacement cost method. In Turpieet et al. (Eds), Valuation of open space in the cape metropolitan area. A valuation of open space in the cape metropolitan area. Report to the City of Cape Town.Google Scholar
- Huston, G. D. (2016). Evaluating local green infrastructure training and education approaches within urban planning curricula. Mini-dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Baccalareus Artium et Scientiae in Urban and Regional Planning at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North- West University. Potchefstroom.Google Scholar
- Kazmierczak, A. E., & James, P. (2008). The role of urban green spaces in improving social inclusion. Salford: University of Salford, School of Environment and Life Sciences.Google Scholar
- Konijnendijk, C. C., Annerstedt, M., Nielsen, A. B., & Maruthaveeran, S. (2013). Benefits of urban parks: A systematic review. A Report for IFPRA, Copenhagen & Alnarp, January 2013.Google Scholar
- Kriel, M. (2014). Planning child-friendly spaces for rural areas in South Africa: The Vaalharts case study. Dissertation submitted to the North-West University, Potchefstroom. 2014.Google Scholar
- Kuo, F. E. (2003). The role of arboriculture in a healthy social ecology. Journal of Arboriculture, 29(3), 148–155.Google Scholar
- Landscape Institute. (2013). Green infrastructure: An integrated approach to land use. London. Available at http://www.landscapeinstitute.org/PDF/Contribute/2013GreenInfrastructureLIPositionStatement.pdf. Date of access: 22 Mar 2016.
- Lategan, L. G. (2016). Reflecting on South Africa’s informal backyard rental sector from a planning perspective. Ph.D thesis at the North-West University, South Africa.Google Scholar
- Lategan, L. G., & Cilliers, E. J. (2017). Considering urban green space and informal backyard rentals in South Africa: Disproving the compensation hypothesis. Town and Regional Planning, 69, 1–16.Google Scholar
- McPherson, E. G., Maco, S. E., Simpson, J. R., Peper, P. J., Xiao, Q., Van Der Zanden, A. M., & Bell, N. (2002). Western Washington and Oregon community tree guide: Benefits, costs, and strategic planning. Silverton: International Society of Arboriculture.Google Scholar
- Natural Economy North West. (2007). The economic value of green infrastructure. North West England. 20p.Google Scholar
- Perman, R., Ma, Y., McGilvray, J., & Common, M. (2003). Natural resource and environmental economics. Harlow: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
- Perry, E. D., Moodley, V. & Bob, U. (2010). Open spaces, nature and perceptions of safety in South Africa: A case study of Reservoir Hills, Durban. School of Environmental Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal. 17p.Google Scholar
- Pienaar, A. (2014). Structured interview. Potchefstroom.Google Scholar
- Riddel, R. (2004). Sustainable urban planning: Tipping the balance. Blackwell Publishing Ltd..Google Scholar
- Roberts, D. C., Boon, R., Croucamp, P., & Mander, M. (2005). Resource economics as a tool for open space planning Durban, South Africa. In: T. Trzyna (Ed.), The Urban Imperative, urban outreach strategies for protected area agencies. Published for IUCN-California Institute of Public Affairs (pp. 44–48). IUCN, Sacramento: California Institute of Public Affairs.Google Scholar
- Roger, S.U. (2003). Health benefits of gardens in hospitals: Plants for People. Texas: Centre for health systems and design.Google Scholar
- Schäffler, A., Christopher, N., Bobbins, K., Otto, E., Nhlozi, M. W., De Wit, M., Van Zyl, H., Crookes, D., Gotz, G., Trangoš, G., Wray, C., & Phasha P. (2013). State of Green Infrastructure in the Gauteng City-Region. Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), a partnership of the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and the Gauteng Provincial Government.Google Scholar
- Stigsdotter, U. A. (2008). Urban green spaces: Promoting health through city planning. Sweden: Swedish university of agricultural sciences. 17p.Google Scholar
- Stiles, R. (2006, December). Urban spaces – enhancing the attractiveness and quality of the urban environment. WP3 Joint Strategy. University of Technology, Vienna.Google Scholar
- Sutton, C. M. (2006). On urban open space: A case study of Msunduzi Municipality, South Africa. Canada: Queens University. (Thesis – B.Sc). School of Environmental Studies. 139 p.Google Scholar
- Tlokwe City Council. (2010). Tlokwe City Council Valuation Roll for the period 2009/2013. Potchefstroom.Google Scholar
- Turpie, J., & Joubert, A. (2001). Case studies using revealed preference methods I: Estimating the recreational use value of Zandvlei using the travel cost method. In Turpie et al. (Eds.), Valuation of open space in the cape metropolitan area. A valuation of open space in the Cape Metropolitan Area, Report to the City of Cape Town.Google Scholar
- United Nations. (2017). Progress towards the sustainable development goals. Report to the Secretary-General. E/2017/66. Available at: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/2017/66&Lang=E. Date of access 5 July 2017.
- Van Leeuwen, E., Nijkamp, P., & de Norohna Vaz, T. (2009). The multi-functional use of urban green space. Amsterdam. Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Bedrijfskunde Research Memorandum, (2009-51):1–13Google Scholar
- Veiga, R. S. (2015). A proposed green planning development framework: Integration of spatial planning and green infrastructure planning approaches. Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Magister Artium et Scientiae in Urban and Regional Planning at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North- West University. Potchefstroom.Google Scholar
- WCED World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Woolley, H., Swanwick, C., & Dunnet, N. (2003). Nature, role and value of green space in towns and cities: an overview. www.atypom-link.com/ALEX/doi/abs/10.2148/benv.220.127.116.11467. Accessed 18 Sept 2009.