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Town and Regional Planning

On-line version ISSN 2415-0495
Print version ISSN 1012-280X


DE JAGER, Anna. Urban pressure on the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Tshwane, South Africa: An application of the Greenspace Stress Model of Urban Impact. Town reg. plan. (Online) [online]. 2023, vol.82, pp.34-51. ISSN 2415-0495.

Despite the ecosystem services potentially provided by urban green spaces, there are concerns about the sustainability thereof. Therefore, the nexus between development, conservation, and sense of place was explored from a geographical perspective. A Greenspace Stress Model of Urban Impact was developed through a case study of the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Tshwane, Gauteng province, South Africa. The position of an urban green space within two rapidly expanding cities was evaluated through a case study. Methods included a literature study, an analysis of land-use changes on remote sensing images, face-to-face interviews, and focus group interviews. Findings from this research include that urban growth leads to increasing human needs and expectations regarding the ecological services provided by green spaces. Stressors within the reserve include the water quality, the presence of invasive species, development pressures intensified by the location relative to spatial development corridors and administrative boundaries, and insufficient environmental awareness. Successful local strategies support the idea that green space should be fit for purpose and meet the expectations justifying its existence. Global environmental concerns should be considered in urban planning frameworks and in management of local spaces that people know and care about. The physical characteristics and functions of an urban green space as well as the environmental perception and sense-of-place evaluations of different stakeholders are important in decision-making about, and sustainability of ecosystem services.

Keywords : Conservation; development; environmental change; human-environment interaction; urban pressure; geography; water; Rietvlei Nature Reserve; Tshwane.

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