2015 Honours Reports
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- ItemChanging Practices of the State: Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo Officials’ Views on Opportunities and Challenges of Community Engagement(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Bosaka, PatienceSouth African cities are embedded in a paradigm of transformation, informed by post- apartheid aspirations, good governance principles, and the value of community engagement in a democratic context. The Parastatal Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo situated in this broader context thus also envisage transformation in their ways of urban governance. This research takes interest in the institutional reshuffling of JCPZ that has resulted in their move towards the promotion of community development in the management and development of urban parks. The reshuffling aims to respond to pressing issues such as mismanagement, crime, homelessness, unemployment, vandalism inter alia which manifest in public green spaces, showcasing inequalities and poverty in ways that are difficult to manage. One of the strategies that are emphasized in responses to these issues is community engagement which is the arena that grounds this research investigation. The paper looks at JCPZ officials’ practices, challenges and experiences in their mandate of community engagement and demonstrates the importance of structure (the institutional programmes and systems put in place for this task) and perceptions (what officials’ feel and think about communities) as influential to the actual State practices. It also reviles the other side of the story (the officials’ narratives) about community engagement which is hardly documented in community engagement discourses.
- ItemCoffee in the City: An Analysis of the Hipster Culture’s Influence on Urban Regeneration in Inner City Johannesburg(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Memela, WetuThe modern image of inner city Johannesburg is one that has undergone many transformations. These changes have been brought on by many different things, from the abolishment of political regimes to the rise of popular youth culture, such as the hipster culture today. Literature not only provides clear understandings but also debates, thoughts and questions of the hipster culture, urban regeneration and even the combination of the two. This research aims to understand the effect that the budding hipster culture has on inner city regeneration efforts in Johannesburg. Through the application of the Braamfontein case study, data collected in field work can be analysed through the literary understanding to paint an in-depth picture of not only the manifestation of the hipster culture in Braamfontein but also what affect their presence has on the district.
- ItemA Comparative Study of Students' Experiences of Public Transport in Johannesburg and Berlin(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Monakali, MaryamThis research report is an analysis of the main debates, arguments, and concepts pertaining to the topic of public transport and the experiences of students’ using public transportation in Johannesburg and Berlin. The purpose of a comparative study is to understand the manner in which public transport is experienced in different contexts, whilst the case study method will be used to narrow the subject area of public transport down through using students’ as the analytical lens. A semi-structured questionnaire was conducted on students’ at The University of the Witwatersrand. The questionnaire revealed that public transport in Johannesburg is not efficient, as it does not work to improve the experience and participation of students’ in this city. I argue that due to the paralysing system of apartheid, South Africa has been left with a dysfunctional administration system that lacks the capacity to actualise policy. With the use of the Berlin case study, I further argue that there are lessons to be learnt from the successful model of public transport systems in this city. These are two contradictory cases that reveal the importance of a combination of policies, financial means, capacity, and the built environment to establish a good public transport system that does more than just enable mobility. This body of research reveals that efficient public transport makes it possible for everyone in the city to contribute to its vitality, making it one of the most important tools of integration between the urban and the people. This recognises that there is a need for transport planning and urban planning, as two spatial tools, to be used in conjunction in the planning of cities that are inclusive for all students’ and urban dwellers.
- ItemA Critical Examination of the Nature of the Public Participation Process: A Case of the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square Project(2015-07) Khanyile, Ntokozo VincentThis research study sought to evaluate the participation process which was put into practice by the Tshwane City Council as part of implementing the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square (SMFS) project in 2012. NMA Effective Social Strategies were appointed by the City to facilitate the public participation process and Ikemeleng Architects to do the design of the square. The square is a public space of heritage significance to the locals and its upgrading bears a remembrance devoted to Solomon Mahlangu and other apartheid struggle heroes from Mamelodi Township. Accordingly, a variety of local organisations were invited to share their stories and memories around this memorial marking. In turn, this would help the designers of the space to collate information which would be handy for the design of the space. This study then sought to investigate the nature of the public participation process that was used in the SMFS project. It examines the rationale behind the promotion of participation in this project, the methods used. Furthermore, it analyses the participants’ interests, their roles and inputs which they contributed into the design brief. Hence, the study contributes to the radical theorist’s responses to the mainstreaming of participation that have tended to view participation as dual, i.e. as means to an end (participation to achieve certain development objectives) or an end in itself. Indeed participation holds a promise of mankind emancipation from the oppressive system of power. However, some scholars have observed that participation could be used as a way of co-opting local organisations or civil society and communities into top down development schemes that serve interests of those in power. On the contrary, others have argued that civil society is in place to guard against the exercise of power by the state or those with private interest and thus aiding people’s participation at grassroots level. This report recounts the different perspectives highlighted above in the experience of the SMFS project. It employs data pertinent to the project and in-depth interviews to answer the central question: what was the nature of the public participation process employed in the design of SMFS? The study then seeks to contribute to the understanding of different denotations and procedures of participation. While governments are requires to streamline participation, the study also adds the understanding of civil society’s role and the need for is mobilisation in public participation. The researcher argues that participation spaces and methods should be flexible to allow collective action amongst the state, civil society and communities. Furthermore, the paper argues that participants should begin to take a more intricate process of engaging plans and not to merely shape them through partial inputs and fragmentary processes.
- ItemThe Decentralization Of The South African Planning System Through SPLUMA: The Gert Sibande District Municipality experience.(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015) Nkosi, PhiwokuhleThis research report aims to assess the decentralization of spatial planning and land use management system in South Africa through the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) (2013). The Constitution of South Africa adopts a decentralized governance system. However, planning legislation has been slow in creating a planning and land use system consistent with this Constitutional allocation of functions. This, coupled with the non-existence of definitions for the scope of the functional areas contained in the schedules, has created a complex land use management system riddled with challenges associated with undefined functional areas. Realizing the need for change in planning legislation, and on the basis of the Green Paper on Development and Planning (1999), the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Affairs formulated the White Paper on Planning and Land Use Management (2001) which identified the need for the Minister to formulate legislation to define the roles of the different spheres of government in planning and land use management. This research is accordingly concerned with the extent to which SPLUMA addresses some of the key conditions for the successful decentralization of the planning and land use function. The key conditions that must prevail in the decentralization process are identified as follows: constitutional security; jurisdictional scope; intergovernmental relations; administrative authority; legislative authority and institutional capacity. SPLUMA and the implementation process in Gert Sibande District Municipality are therefore assessed against these key conditions, and recommendations are made to inform land use management in the Gert Sibande District Municipality and the rest of South Africa.
- ItemThe Economic Evolution of a Former Homeland Capital: The Case of Siyabuswa, KwaNdebele(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Mahlangu, GladysHomelands, also known as Bantustans, played a significant role during apartheid to foster the vision of separate development set out by the apartheid government. As a result homeland small towns have inherited a legacy of spatial inequality in terms of being located far from social and economic opportunities. The study seeks to understand the current status of a former homeland capital, particularly investigating how it has economically evolved and survived over time in spite of its past condition. The study was conducted in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga Province, a former homeland capital of KwaNdebele. In investigating how the former homeland capital has evolved the study interviewed 21 households that currently live in Siyabuswa, together with the LED manager and property managers of the township. It can be concluded that such places are experiencing declining populations and struggling to diversify their economic base. However the investment by government has significantly contributed to the survival of these places in addition to the social capital that exist in such places hence there are still people who reside there. It is important that homeland small towns are understood in their current context in order to implement appropriate policies that will assist in the development of former homeland towns. Recommendations have been provided indicating alternatives for which how such places can be better assisted in improving their status- quo.
- ItemEvaluating the Effects of Spatial Politics of Public Transportation in Johannesburg: A Focus on Bus Systems(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Mthimkulu, NoluthandoThe importance of effective and efficient public transport systems in developing cities has become a topic of focus. Here, the research report seeks to investigate the spatial politics of public transport systems in the city of Johannesburg. With a spatial and social structure that remains sprawled and separated, there is an inherent need to discuss the value of public transport systems and their role in integrating and transforming the city. The research attempts to provide an enlightening overview of bus systems in the city, particularly the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit, Metrobus and Public Utility Transport Corporation and to discover whether they have a place in the city’s future urban form. It does this through exploring notions of access, integration, resilience and transformation and how public transport routes are affected by bureaucratic and spatial decisions. I argue that public transport has the power to shape the city’s urban form and social structure. This leads to how the disjuncture in the system affects daily commuters and anyone who is required to interact with public transport. There are many different recommendations that are made to facilitate better systems. These include better infrastructure and providing more forms of access in public transport. I also recommend, at a more cognitive level, the changing of perceptions. In coda, the research provides final evaluation of what has been discussed with regards to having more effective public transport systems.
- ItemExploring Maboneng as an International Urban Tourism Attraction within Johannesburg(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Murtagh, RoryMaboneng has become a prominent and valuable urban tourism destination in Johannesburg and with the positive and growing impacts and influences that tourism could have on Johannesburg’s inner city as a whole there is a dire need to find out how international tourists has contributed to the UR project, specifically the social and economic dynamics. Tourism is a massive component of what drives our economy on a national scale. Other than how tourists contribute to and impact the area there is also a necessity to figure out why it is that tourists are attracted to areas like Maboneng, the fact that we do not know intrinsically what these attractive components are poses a problem in trying to maximise on these tourism elements in the future. There is a need to find out from the tourists perspective as well as the developers and relevant parties. Urban tourism is a fundamental component of the continued sustainability of the inner city and to know what the detailed attractive components and elements are within the Maboneng urban framework would prove vital for planning and implementing future developments that could draw/learn from this research. Maboneng has been viewed as a precinct that is reminiscent of other international spaces, a homogenous urban environment which is comparable to global cities. There is a need to identify what aspects of Maboneng have been viewed as such (urban design, buildings, art, culture, and atmosphere) and how have these international ‘ideas’ contributed to the development of Maboneng. It is crucial that we find out if tourists view Maboneng as a homogenous space and what aspects have made them feel that way. These international examples and ideas taken from other international contexts are crucial to understanding how we as planners can either utilize these international examples as a means to adopt them further or to use them as an indicator or contributor to strengthen the South African example and identity. This leads to the next potential problem which is that of authenticity that is embodied in the ‘Africaness’1 of Maboneng, if that aspect, if present, is an attraction in itself. It is imperative that we find out what Maboneng represents as an urban city area precinct, to figure out if it is portrays an authentic African city, that it exemplifies and allows tourists to engage with an authentically African experience that makes Maboneng unique and original. It is essential that we promote tourism as far as possible but we also need to bear in mind what affects these tourists are having on our home soil (South Africa) so that we may be better prepared to handle the positive and negative aspects that might arise. There is a dire need to grapple with the underlying issues that this report might represent and use this information accordingly to plan and strategize better for urban tourism provision and support in the inner city of Johannesburg. 1 Africaness refers to how a place reflects or portrays the African culture, lifestyle and African identity within space.
- ItemExploring the Implications of SPLUMA’ (16: 2013) Municipal Planning Tribunal in South African Local Government: The Case of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Johannesburg(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015) Sibiya, ZwelibanziTogether with the enactment of a new legislature in the form of SPLUMA (16: 2013), the change from a provincial based DFA Tribunal to a local based SPLUMA Tribunal raised many implications and issues for the local government sector. The objective of the research was to explore the implications of adopting a local government based tribunal. The purpose was mainly focused on the operations of a tribunal. A qualitative method was used in the research and it included analysing contents as well as conducting interviews. International case studies were used to analyse the findings. It was found that the CJMM will use its planning committee as a temporary tribunal. The implementation of the tribunal has uncovered capacity, resource and governance issues that exist within the CJMM. Therefore, the implication of adopting and implementing a tribunal for the CJMM include having to increase resources and capacity as well finding ways to maintain the transparency within the tribunal.
- ItemFamily Units to Address the Stigam of Hostel Life? A Study of Sethokga Hostel(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Moloto, Shereen TumeloIn the wake of the political transition in South Africa in 1994 and for some time preceding this time frame violence, squalor, overcrowding and socio-political strife had long become characteristic of some of the features associated with hostels and the stigma of hostel life (Thurman, 1997). Due to its history as systematically disempowered, yet, politically vocal enclaves, we have come to know or perhaps be familiar with hostels as highly contentious and antagonistic environments, with a burdened local identity (Ramphele, 1993; Benit-Gbaffou and Mathoho, 2010). The stigma of hostel life constitutes among a host of conditions, an innate reality where the residents of hostels inhibit isolated, destitute and unbecoming spaces (Segal, 1991). Built as single-sex labour compounds to accommodate African migrant labourers for the duration of their stay in South Africa’s white urban areas, hostels occupy a unique position within the country’s physical and mental landscape (Thurman, 1997). As sojourners in South Africa’s white urban areas, the law constructed a ‘legal’ person called a labourer who was ‘authorised’ to temporarily reside in the urban space but had to retreat to their rural quarters once their ‘service’ had been concluded (Pienaar and Crofton, 2005). Thus to draw attention to the unkindness of their living conditions many hostel dwellers have continued for the better part of South Africa’s democracy to ‘choose’ physical violence as a tool perceived to best serve and afford some attention to their troubles (Pienaar and Crofton, 2005). Within the context of this research report the term hostel/s widely refer to single-sex dormitory style labour compounds, which emerged in South Africa under the apartheid system and ideology of separate development (Pienaar and Crofton, 2005). The ideology of separate development and the resultant influx control policies were a distinctive trait of the government of a particular juncture in the country’s history - a government that as part of its mandate held to discourage the permanent settlement of the African populace in urban areas (Ramphele, 1993). This further translated itself in the government’s refusal to plan and consent to any sort of ‘meaningful’ investment into areas designated for the other who were primarily located in the townships on the periphery of the urban terrain (Ramphele, 1993).
- ItemThe Feasibility of Bicycling in Moving Away from the Automobile-Centric City: The Case of Johannesburg(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015) Lekgothoane, Dineo“In the 20th century, as motorization progressed, cities poured most of their investment into roads, to accommodate motorized traffic” (Godefrooijet al, 2009, p7). Automobile dependence has risen since then; contributing to problems associated with declining city centres, increases in air pollution, traffic noise and road accidents (Greene and Wegener, 1997). Urban planners and city managers, together with politicians, are now faced with the task of reconstructing South African cities that carry the legacy of apartheid urban planning and development (Donaldson, 2001). These cities remain fragmented, and hence they continue to support a huge reliance on private car ownership. The research deems automobile dependence as being highly unsustainable, and hence the study begins to seek alternatives. The bicycle therefore gains recognition as one of the most sustainable modes of travel. This paper seeks to delve into the feasibility of instigating a bicycling initiative in an automobile-centric city of Johannesburg. That is, while the bicycle is widely accepted as a crucial part of any urban transport strategy (GPSM, 2015), it lies within the interests of this research to weigh the pros and cons of successfully converting Johannesburg into a bicycle-friendly city. Since the notion of sustainability forms the core of transportation policy, practice and implementation (Kamau, 2007), the study locates bicycling in the broader literature of sustainability and sustainable development. Part of the findings of the research incorporates the idea that for a bicycling initiative to be feasible in an urban setting a) there has to be a society-wide support (Wittink, 2009), and b) it must be integrated with public transport so as to allow bicyclists to have seamless journeys.
- ItemThe Flexibility of Urban Planning Policy, Processes and Outcomes in Response to Cultural Diversity(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-12) Ramahlo, AngelineThe system of government that regulate planning policy and processes, under which most planners are required to work, tend to obstruct the efficiency and efficacy of the planning process. Notwithstanding rising criticism, planning remains a largely technocratic process that is exorbitantly concerned with “procedure” and technocratic bureaucratic processes. Despite criticisms of planning, the manner in which land use management is regulated is still processed in terms of bureaucratic procedures that are guided by rigid rules and regulation which sanction for very little scrutiny from the public (Taylor, 2007). Government initiatives are often met with criticism and resistance from the community, owing to the fact that government does not follow thorough consultative processes and that various programmes are simply “forced down communities throats”. Are there ways in which the participatory process can be improved given the bureaucratic processes and constraints that municipal planners have to work under? Can synergy and compromises be solicited amongst the different cultural settings that coexist within the cities? A case in point is the Chinese community located in the suburb of Cyrildene that has experienced a rapid change in land uses that are occurring outside the bounds of the applicable planning regulatory frameworks of the City of Johannesburg.
- ItemHow is Planning Managing Urban Growth in Region ‘A’ of the City of Johannesburg?(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-12-11) Jackson, AshlynThis study attempts to understand whether or not Johannesburg is reaching its objective of becoming a „compact, sustainable‟ city and whether or not it is able to combat sprawl; questions pertaining to the management of growth, in the metropolitan, therefore became of key concern. Initially this study was set to continue the annual review reports conducted on the GMS which came to a standstill in 2012. However, due to the limitations associated with this study the initial purpose of the study could not be carried out. Therefore, the study shifted in its perspective and began to focus on how the City and its planners manage growth and whether or not it is effective. It continues to analyse the 2008 GMS; the Urban Development Boundary; the spatial development framework as well as the regional spatial development framework for region A. Therefore it aims to provide an understanding of how these strategies and frameworks work simultaneously and in terms of effectiveness and whether or not planning is working successfully, within the City.
- ItemImpact of Alexandra Renewal Project on Women in Informal Dwellings: A Case Study of Women in Far East Alexandra(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Mazamane, ZintathuStudying on women’s challenges in urban areas might be a voice for these women and they should create a platform on which policies can address these issues. As a result, this research which is based in Alexandra Township (in the Far East) looks at the impact that informal settlement upgrading had on the women of the Far East after the Alexandra Renewal Project. The study is fundamentally an assessment of the quality of services delivered to the residents of Alexandra in the Far East. It investigates how the RDP houses along with other basic services in the Far East have helped women to improve their livelihood. Twelve women living in the far East Bank were interviewed. The impacts of the project are divided into three categories, the social, economic and the environmental. Within each category there were both negative and positive impacts that the upgrading had on the women. The study identifies negative externalities accompanied by informal settlement upgrading in Alexandra. This study provides a unique gender perspective of women’s challenge in informal settlements and the impact of informal settlement upgrading in an urban environment.
- ItemThe Impact of BRT Systems on Local Economic Development: The Case of Meadowlands, Soweto(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015) Ngobeni, MatimbaUrban planners and transportation advocates around the world have become more innovative in confronting regional and global development concerns such as rapid urbanisation, congestion, urban sprawl, climate change, mounting infrastructure costs and high levels of urban poverty. In addressing these pressing issues, among many other policy advances, Local Economic Development and Transit Oriented Development have grown in popularity because they are considered important strategies in the notion of sustainable development. Due to the aforestated economic realities, environmental and social problems, most cities around the world support a change of transport modes in favour of efficient and sustainable mass transit options over private vehicles. As one example of this shift, BRT systems have become widely implemented. There are a wide-ranging reported socioeconomic and environmental benefits associated with BRT systems worldwide. This study focuses on the economic prospects they do offer in the context of Johannesburg. The central objective of this study is then to scrutinise the impacts the Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya BRT network has had on businesses and residents’ livelihoods in Meadowlands, Soweto. The study uses a single case study to deepen an understanding of how public transport improvements tend to influence social and economic development strategies in previously disadvantaged, emerging economy areas. The research is based on the critical analysis of literature on TOD and LED and qualitative interviews in Meadowlands and their critical analysis. A set of nuanced perspectives emerged on how the City of Johannesburg might formulate and carry out future TOD policy and projects as a way of effectively facilitating economic development through public interventions. Most pertinently, the study found that the operational Rea Vaya system in Meadowlands has improved access to social and economic opportunities. It has provided employment opportunities and triggered the development of Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises. The provision of BRT services also diversified and improved mobility options in this area. However, affordability still remains a two-fold question among the BRT users and non-users.
- ItemThe Interface Between Practice and Theory Within Participation and Decision Making: The Development of a Precinct Plan in the Suburb of Bramley, Johannesburg(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Lishivha, KeitumetseIn essence the study will investigate the link between Governance and Development control and how fair and inclusive the processes of decision making are by looking at these processes in the formation of the Precinct Plan of a specific neighbourhood. At the end of this research process I outline what has been discovered through the research process and identify to what extent the participatory process within the Precinct Plan process has accounted for the different interests of different stakeholders. From that I deduce if and how the decision making process in precinct Plans needs to be changed to be more participatory or whether we need to find more pragmatic and contextually applicable participatory processes to ensure equal contribution in contested spaces. The main interest of this study investigates how different interests of stakeholders are managed .The study attempts to uncover the rationale behind changes in land use and the prioritisation of land use in that specific space and how these decisions are particularity influenced by interest-based negotiations.
- ItemIntersectionality of Space and Gender: The Case of Usindiso Ministries Women’s Shelter(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Kgosiemang, MmathapeloThis research focuses on the gendering of spaces within the inner city of Johannesburg using Usindiso Ministries Women’s Shelter as a case study. This case study was chosen due to the shelter’s location in a building which used to be the old Albert Street Pass Office. The juxtaposition of the past and present realities of the space is an interesting issue to explore especially with regards to women’s experiences of gendered spaces. The primary aim of this study is to describe the complexities of the process of gendering of spaces and how it occurs as well as the shelter staff members’ perceptions of women’s experiences of safety (read inclusion and belonging) within those spaces.
- ItemLearning From Communities' Involvement in the Management of Parks: The Case of Zoo Lake and Thokoza Park, Johannesburg(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Hadebe, SizakelecommunityToday officials within Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo face the daunting challenge of delivering high quality public spaces that have meanings that are stable enough to accommodate the cultural diversity and social polarisation that are inherent in contemporary Johannesburg. This report examines a recent trend towards joint management of public spaces, where responsibilities are shared between the state and communities interested in these spaces along the lines of what Jones (2010) has called the “Friends of the Park” (FOP). It is argued in this report, with reference to Don Mitchell’s (1995) work with People’s Park in San Diego, that instances where a particular public space is perceived to be in decline are a reflection of contradictions within that public space’s socio-cultural dimension where the introduction of new activities or a new kind of user into the space conflicts with the commonly held meaning of the space. Such a space would thus be characterised by a crisis of meaning. Although the meaning of public space is contested, there is a tendency over time to move towards a stability of meaning, referred to in this report as consensus. While it usually resolves the crisis of meaning, this consensus does not necessarily mean a shift towards justice or towards an equitable end (Castells, 2003). Without making any value judgements on the end result, by studying FOPs’ efforts to engage with the management of parks, this research essentially seeks to understand how actors (members of the community, employees of the state, political activists and others) work towards this kind of consensus. It is noted in this research that an FOP approach risks romanticising participation by thinking of the transition from invented spaces to invited spaces as being organic, natural and perhaps even inevitable; and thereby overlooking the fact that invented spaces today exist in the context of deliberate efforts by planners to mobilise communities for the purpose of absorbing them into the formal planning structure. In the context of neoliberalism it could be said then that such an approach to park management might allow governments to dump their responsibilities on the communities they are meant to serve.
- ItemMaking Gender Inclusive Spaces Around Rea Vaya Transit Areas: The Case of Commissioner Street.(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Conco, ZolaThe planning profession has been regarded as a mechanical, value free activity and mainly dominated by male perceptions. Planning policy has begun to consider more social issues, however, even with this transition, gender issues in the urban environment have been a particular challenge and have not been completely understood by planners. As a result gender issues have often not been considered in the physical design of the urban environments. The travel patterns of women and men have generally been understood to differ due to the different roles played by women and men in our societies. However, women’s vulnerability may also shape their travel patterns within the city. While numerous studies have presented findings about the strong relationship between women and their fears within the built environment, particularly in public spaces, little attention has been given to the relationship between women’s fear and transit environments in South African cities. This is an important relationship to be considered, as the degree to which this affects women will determine the extent to which they are able to participate equally in the city. A number of development plans have been introduced into the city of Johannesburg, as a method of improving the lives of its citizens. One of these has been the introduction of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT). However, it appears that little consideration has been paid to the environments around that BRT stations, primarily with concerns of gender sensitivities. Therefore, this study investigates whether the physical design of the built environment around the BRT stations has considered the effects of gender sensitivities on women’s travel patterns. The research assess whether the built environment around the bus stations have helped to reduce the spatial barriers faced by women in the city, namely their vulnerability and facilitate their right to the city. A case study was done around the Rea Vaya station on Commissioner Street and the adjacent urban spaces. Women of various ages were interviewed in an open-ended manner to gather in-depth information about women’s personal experiences and concerns for safety in the city centre. The case study also included a safety audit of the site, which was conducted by the researcher. High levels of actual and perceived safety amongst women were found, especially for walking in the area and using the BRT at night. As a result, women who were using the site were found to have distinct needs in ensuring their safety and comfort while using the space. A mismatch was found in the responses of women’s expressed needs and the variety of common safety strategies implemented by the City of Johannesburg (CoJ). The conclusion argues that women’s safety is an essential but neglected issue, which deserves the attention of urban planners. Drawing on responses from the case study and interviews, the research offers a set of recommendations that planning policy that focuses on the initiatives and responses that can be used to improve on women’s experience of the site.
- ItemNavigating the City: Female Students’ Experiences of Movement in Johannesburg(University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2015-11) Makan, DarshikaIt is clear that men and women experience the city differently. The practice of urban planning tends to ignore this and continues planning in a gender-neutral fashion. Planners should aim to have a wider understanding of different groupings of individuals of society in order to plan inclusive cities that accommodate all its citizens. Johannesburg is a city that students move to, temporarily or permanently, to further their studies. Women’s ability to fully utilise the city depends on their ability to access transportation. Violence occurs within the public realm of Johannesburg whereby women’s perceptions of danger limits their movement in the city. This research explores how female students who are newcomers to Johannesburg (from within South Africa and foreign nationals) experience moving around in the public realm. This research investigates the extent that physical accessibility and perceptions of safety have on the movement patterns of female student newcomers. The research drew on the experiences of fifteen female students from University of the Witwatersrand. The fieldwork was conducted through a set of initial interviews as well as experiences recorded in a notebook and a second follow-up interview. Analysis was done through mapping, comparing respondents’ experiences and through relating findings to theory. The outcome of the research revealed that physical accessibility and perceptions of safety impacts female students’ movements, as well as other factors of the length of time since the move to Johannesburg, the cost of movement and whether students have company to move between spaces and their perceptions of spaces. It was discovered that their movement choices are more complex than the above two factors. Gender sensitive planning is the main planning tool that may assist in creating positive experiences of female student newcomers in the city. It is understood that planners need to consider the legibility of spaces and the safety of different modes of transportation. These students, due to their unfamiliarity with the city and limited finances, require easy access between spaces. It is also understood that institutions, such as the university, should aim to assist these young women with settling in to a new city environment as adjustment issues often do arise. The ability to better plan for this grouping of young people will ensure that Johannesburg is an all-inclusive city that does not further discriminate against women in public spaces.