Remaking an Apartheid City: State-Led Spatial Transformation in Post-Apartheid Durban, South Africa

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Remaking an Apartheid City: State-Led Spatial Transformation in Post-Apartheid Durban, South Africa
Schensul, Daniel M. (creator)
Heller, Patrick (director)
Logan, John (reader)
Itzigsohn, Jose (reader)
Henry, Paget (reader)
Baiocchi, Gianpaolo (reader)
Brown University. Sociology (sponsor)
Copyright Date
Durban, South Africa contains the most pervasively planned areas of racial and economic exclusion in the world. Apartheid's effectiveness was not just in segregating race groups, but in keeping them so geographically distinct from one another as to entrench completely different paths of political, social, and economic development within the same urban boundaries. With South Africa's new democratic regime came the dissolution of the legal underpinnings of apartheid planning. However, disparate developmental paths remained, held in place through the spatial distribution of access, infrastructure, and residential race and class mobility ? what I call the city's "spatial hierarchy." The African National Congress empowered Durban's local government to intervene to transform apartheid space, targeting public investment in infrastructure and services as the primary strategy. At the same time, high inequality, the power of capital vis-à-vis the state, the skills gap between the African and white populations, and the lack of engagement between the state and civil society all acted in concert with spatial path dependencies to prevent fundamental spatial change. As a result, much of the state's infrastructure program heightened spatial lock-in of poor Africans in economically stagnant townships, while the city's core continued to develop, resulting in increased inequality. However, I find areas of spatial transformation in Durban, tightly linked to state investment in public housing. These areas, which I call "bridging communities," contain both race and class diversity ? including access for poor Africans ? and provide access to economic opportunity. I argue that Durban's state resources, coupled with geographies of power and state-society interactions, meant that the state could create bridging communities through well located public housing, despite the difficulty of impacting established communities in the core and townships. Quantitative data for this dissertation came from the 1985, 1996, and 2001 South African censuses, geocoded by community in Durban, and from geocoded data on municipal infrastructure and services. I displayed the quantitative results on maps of Durban's communities, and used these maps to drive workshops with over 50 local key informants, including municipal officials, planners, policy makers, and academics.
urban space
spatial hierarchy
state power
developmental state
Race relations
Thesis (Ph.D.) -- Brown University (2009)
xi, 264 p.


Schensul, Daniel M., "Remaking an Apartheid City: State-Led Spatial Transformation in Post-Apartheid Durban, South Africa" (2009). Sociology Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.