A place-making approach to spatial planning of rural landscapes : the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site as a case study
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In its course of development, urban and regional planning has been greatly influenced by the modernist movement, which left human environments with various problematic ecological and social conditions. In reaction to these conditions, alternative planning approaches branched from the planning profession, one of these being the development approach known as place-making. Place-making is the physical designing of a place based on locational contexts. Place-making is offered as an alternative planning approach to current planning practice to ameliorate and possibly prevent continuation of the problematic ecological and social conditions. However, this implies that there has to come about a shift in the focus and aims of current planning practice. The main implications of place-making are that planning should become more contextually driven, holistic, multidisciplinary, as well as human and quality centred. Also, it is proposed to increase research on place in the South African context. In terms of current research in South Africa, a mixed-method research approach made it possible to include symbolic locational elements, like sense of place, in the planning process. Researching the Vredefort Dome's sense of place aimed to explore sense of place in a rural area and to concretise the area's sense of place for inclusion in spatial planning. Initial qualitative research informed the quantitative phase. This way symbolic experiences and meanings of participants were linked to spatial locations and three-dimensional features, which made it possible to create place-making guidelines based on both symbolic and material contexts of the Vredefort Dome.