The phenomenon of the urban edge as a planning tool for compact cities : an international and local comparison
Pekelharing, Elizelle Juaneé
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Urban Growth Boundaries are one of the most popular urban containment tools worldwide. In South Africa, this has found expression in the recent (2001) implementation of the Gauteng Urban Edge. (Barker, 2004 [Email interview]). Many urban conurbations are experiencing severe symptoms of urban sprawl resulting from the development of industrial manufacturing cities in the 19thcentury,and mass transport modes that facilitated movement away from city centers during the 20th century .Today, major urbanized areas such as Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and London exhibit exhaustive urban sprawl. International experience: Policymakers responded to these experiences as early as 1947 when the Town and Country Planning Act in the United Kingdom suggested as policy objective, the containment of growth of major conurbations and large cities. The policy found expression in the implementation of greenbelts around these cities, which at the time proved to be the most effective form of containment policy. Since then, the concept of an urban growth boundary has become one of the most popular urban containment tools, and has been implemented in sprawled urban areas such as London, Copenhagen and the often cited example of Portland, Oregon. National experience: Deliberate government policies during the pre-1994 Apartheid regime effected that, South Africa, as a developing country, exhibit wide disparities between richer urban areas, and poorer rural settlements. As a result large numbers of the population migrates to city centers. The influx of people are usually accommodated on the (cheaper) periphery of the city, and consequently, all South African cities have one important feature in common - that urban growth has taken the form of dispersed residential accretion at the city edge. (Department of Development Planning and Local Government, 2002: 1). In response to National legislation, the Development Facilitation Act of 1995, which promotes urban densification and infill development, the Provincial Government of Gauteng drafted a spatial framework in 1999, which aimed to steer all spatial trends in Gauteng. One of the proposals in this Spatial Development Framework was to strive towards a more compact urban form. The process of delineating the Gauteng Urban Edge was initiated and the policy implemented in 2001. The purpose of this paper is to review and assess the origin of the Urban Edge and to finally draw some conclusions from this specific case study, on the lessons learnt from International case studies, concerning Urban Growth Management in South Africa. Focus of this study: . To integrate existing planning knowledge and approaches in order to answer to the research questions. . To gain and unlock new knowledge in the research area, to describe the current trends. . To integrate the theoretical founding and empirical realities mentioned, and to apply the knowledge and findings in the South African context. . To communicate professionally with Professional Planners, Scientists and the community, to stimulate further debate and to publish the results of the research.
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