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Town and Regional Planning

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

Town reg. plan. (Online) vol.78  Bloemfontein  2021 



From the Deputy Editor: James Chakwizira 2021



In his classical book, 'Cities of tomorrow: An intellectual history of urban planning and design since 1880', the late, Professor Sir Peter Hall presents a critical history of planning theory and practice in the twentieth century. The critique is linked to the socio-economic constraints and opportunities that emerge and are emerging in advancing the city artefact as a civilising tool. In essence, humankind has been consumed by the need to make great places that are able to serve humanity's changing needs and expectations.

In his works, Alexander Gavin (2016) revisits the idea, concept, and notion of 'What makes a great city, and highlights that retrofitting, spatial change and restructuring opportunities and moments in a city-development journey can be maximised for dividends. This can be achieved by providing space for all citizens to And entrepreneurial meaning and innovative space for growth and development expressions and (re)interpretation.

On the other hand, Patsy Healey's (2010) work on 'Making better places' highlights how spatial transformation and development should include the need for improved quality of life among many other equally important considerations.

The above-mentioned succinct review of some seminal urban and regional planning works serves as testimony to the ever growing and ever changing complexity of urban and regional planning that requires spatial planning intelligence and foresight studies that enable people, places, and cultures to overcome existing (old and new) problems and constraints by converting obstacles to optimise the urban and regional planning value chain and dividends. In this issue of Town and Regional Planning, differentiated, complex and scale-dimensioned planning themes are (re)visited with the empirical lens in assessing their adequacies and inadequacies. The following issues are explored: collaborative planning potential, promise and limitations; spatial planning transformation, contradictions and struggles; land-use planning, and management opportunities, abuse and vulnerabilities. The following issues are also debated: the place of town and regional planning, nuanced spatial resilience and fragmentation narratives as well as transitional imperatives and methodological shortcomings as represented by a repertoire of tools and techniques adopted in spatial (re)structuring administrative planning units. The twist and drift in planning theory and practice is made even more exciting, given the COVID-19 era, in which our thinking paradigms and realms, in respect of the fundamentals that drive, for example, interaction, business, leisure, shopping, travelling and spatial movement patterns, are being called to question. This implies a (re)think on (re)shaping and (re)configuration and behavioural change in the context of on-line shopping, on-line meetings, perhaps suggesting (re)inventing, finding new and alternative ways of (re) designing spatial forms, patterns and distributing movement and activity patterns. Does this suggest shifts in spatial targeting, branding, budgeting, and allocation of resources vis-â-vis the improvement of information communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure, network efficiency and reliability being superimposed on a spatial planning platform base? How do we create the right balance and mix of spatial and non-spatial planning interventions that are able to incentivise, balance and re-allocate spatial distribution of activities and systems in ways that are inclusive and progressive in terms of advancing the New Urban Agenda as well as Integrated Urban Development Frameworks? The themes of spatial justice, efficiency, economy and governance are a common thread throughout all the articles in this volume. Therefore, by placing and juxtaposing critical urban and regional planning matters that draw from wide cases, Volume 78 of the Town and Regional Planning Journal contributes towards further debates and policy action possibilities within the realms of resource availability for planning in the twentieth century.

Adeniran, Mbanga and Botha consider a framework for the management of human settlements, by exploring Nigerian and South African case studies. This article acknowledges that a complex interplay of social, economic, physical, environmental, and political factors have constrained novel and innovative approaches experimented with in seeking to promote sustainable human settlements. To overcome emergent sustainable human settlement barriers, the authors propose a three-layer expanding circle framework, in which the inner core circle represents sustainable human settlement implementation, while the middle 'sandwiched' circle, which is influenced by the outer circle, is constituted of human settlements management (estate, facility, strategic, and performance management). The article argues that the efficiency levels of human settlements are influenced by the outer circle in respect of how social, economic, physical, and environmental factors for anchoring and (re)producing sustainable human management play out and determine the human settlements management strategy/method deployed in any specific spatial and administrative set-up.

Badiora and Ojo explore the spatial planning manifestation of perceived constraints to public participation in contemporary Nigerian land-use planning. Their central argument is the selective nature of the traditional or conventional public participation approach, as it presents hindrances for inclusive participation of ethnic minorities, the aged, females, tenants, and rural dwellers. The authors suggest that inclusive participatory planning requires a re-invention and re-interpretation of the lens and participatory governance systems and mechanism in place to steer an inclusive, sustainable and productive public participation agenda and culture.

In respect of small-scale land grabbing in Greater Gaborone, Botswana, Kalabam and Lyamuya highlight how the under-researched phenomenon of small-scale land grabbing in urban and peri-urban areas is manipulated by 'knowledgeable others', who understand the intricacies of how the market value of urban and peri-urban land operates. The outcome of the complex interplay and interaction of urban and peri-urban land values with land and property developers, speculators and land-use and management regimes has compromised urban land governance, accessing the envisaged benefits of the rights to the city, housing, community, recreational facilities, and increased socio-economic spatial and non-spatial inequalities in the city. Finally, the article underwrites the need to undertake more studies and audits by way of collecting empirical data on the exact nature and extent of land grabbing in urban and peri-urban areas, with a view to developing policy and decision frames that advance sustainable, inclusive land-use and management systems and processes.

Moffat, Chakwizira, Ingwani and Bikam share experiences in respect of policy directions for spatial transformation and sustainable development, using Polokwane City, South Africa, as a case study. The study results highlight how advancing spatial transformation to change the urban form can be achieved by implementing a raft of measures and actions such as strategic development areas, spatial targeting, housing development, densification, sustainable transport, greening, and the smart-city concept. While acknowledging the complexity of implementing 'tactical urbanism' in post-apartheid South Africa, the authors suggest the importance of understanding and properly locating spatial issues within the contextual realities of the different hierarchies of cities in any spatial landscape.

In his article, 'Changing urban management doctrines in Cape Town', Kuhn applies Andrea Faludi's concept of planning doctrines to understanding how political values, economic (re)structuring and settlement scales in Town and Regional planning have evolved from its founding date to the current dispensation. The author found that the evolving and changing urban-management doctrines employed range from corporate management to self-help, public works, town planning, upscaling, and transformation. The results, therefore, emphasise the importance of time, context and content in shaping solutions for adopted urban-management doctrines in (re)solving everyday urban-planning struggles and challenges for urban towns, cities and regions.

Meanwhile, Jeeva and Cilliers, making use of an explorative approach to the evolving municipal landscape of South Africa: 19932020, investigate the extent to which the municipal demarcation methodology and criteria fail to support the intended spatial (re) structuring and integration outcomes as part of addressing the spatial imbalances inherited from the pre-apartheid era. This disjuncture is explained in part, due to inadequate 'critical mass' knowledge on spatial landscaping as well as the complexity of the spatial administrative and restructuring processes. Generating a universal or standard municipal demarcation methodology to steer spatial administrative areas from fragmentation to integration remains a stubborn challenge, with spatial gains locked being criticised as not enough. The authors suggest that structural reforms and more research to inform the transition from spatially inefficient municipal administrative boundaries to more efficient spatial landscapes are critical.



GAVIN, A. 2016. What makes a great city? Washington: Island Press.        [ Links ]

HALL, P. 2014. Cities of tomorrow: An intellectual history of urban planning and design since 1880. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 978-1-1-118-45647-7        [ Links ]

HEALEY, P. 2010. Making better places. The planning project in the twenty-first century. Macmillan International Higher Education. London: Palgrave Macmillan.        [ Links ]



1 Dr James Chakwizira, Head: Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UNIVEN; Chair: South African Council of Planners (CHOPS); SACPLAN Board Member.

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