Considering the intricacies of urban boundaries: the South African story
Urban boundaries play a decisive role in the growth and form of cities. It is characterised by a series of intricacies giving rise to the questioning of its function and its feasibility. The major driving force in contemporary South African planning, integrated planning, further considers the desirability and applicability of the borders. Recent legislation in South Africa, although not explicit, requires that Spatial Development Frameworks should interpret the short and long term vision for urban development that, by definition, implies the identification and representation of boundaries. Demarcation undertaken in South Africa since 1994, further revolutionised municipal boundaries, also giving additional jurisdiction, over initially state-owned land, to municipalities. The primary purpose of this research is to consider the intricacies of urban boundaries in the South African context. The empirical research focus on two purposefully selected case studies where a legal and spatial analysis was conducted, to consider the effectiveness of urban boundaries in local context. It was further attempted to reflect on the perspectives of professional planners concerning urban boundaries. The research finally questions the role and function of urban boundaries, as an integral component of current spatial planning approaches, in an ever-changing South Africa. The study concludes that urban boundaries are still an essential element of spatial planning approaches, especially when effectively applied and enforced by all levels of government.