Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Publications

3 Third Places for Social Sustainability: A Planning Framework Based on Local and International Comparisons

Authors: Z. Goosen, E. J. Cilliers

Abstract:

Social sustainability, as an independent perspective of sustainable development, has gained some acknowledgement, becoming an important aspect in sustainable urban planning internationally. However, limited research aiming at promoting social sustainability within urban areas exists within the South African context. This is mainly due to the different perspectives of sustainable development (e.g., Environmental, Economic, and Social) not being equally prioritized by policy makers and supported by implementation strategies, guidelines, and planning frameworks. The enhancement of social sustainability within urban areas relies on urban dweller satisfaction and the quality of urban life. Inclusive cities with high-quality public spaces are proposed within this research through implementing the third place theory. Third places are introduced as any place other than our homes (first place) and work (second place) and have become an integrated part of sustainable urban planning. As Third Places consist of every place 'in between', the approach has taken on a large role of the everyday life of city residents, and the importance of planning for such places can only be measured through identifying and highlighting the social sustainability benefits thereof. The aim of this research paper is to introduce third place planning within the urban area to ultimately enhance social sustainability. Selected background planning approaches influencing the planning of third places will briefly be touched on, as the focus will be placed on the social sustainability benefits provided through third place planning within an urban setting. The study will commence by defining and introducing the concept of third places within urban areas as well as a discussion on social sustainability, acting as one of the three perspectives of sustainable development. This will gain the researcher an improved understanding on social sustainability in order for the study to flow into an integrated discussion of the benefits Third places provide in terms of social sustainability and the impact it has on improved quality of life within urban areas. Finally, a visual case study comparison of local and international examples of third places identified will be illustrated. These international case studies will contribute towards the conclusion of this study where a local gap analysis will be formulated, based on local third place evidence and international best practices in order to formulate a strategic planning framework on improving social sustainability through third place planning within the local South African context.

Keywords: Social Sustainability, urban area, planning benefits, third places

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2 The Planning and Development of Green Public Places in Urban South Africa: A Child-Friendly Approach

Authors: E. J. Cilliers, Z. Goosen

Abstract:

The impact that urban green spaces have on sustainability and quality of life is phenomenal. This is also true for the local South African environment. However, in reality green spaces in urban environments are decreasing due to growing populations, increasing urbanization and development pressure. This further impacts on the provision of child-friendly spaces, a concept that is already limited in local context. Child-friendly spaces are described as environments in which people (children) feel intimately connected to, influencing the physical, social, emotional, and ecological health of individuals and communities. The benefits of providing such spaces for the youth are well documented in literature. This research therefore aimed to investigate the concept of child-friendly spaces and its applicability to the South African planning context, in order to guide the planning of such spaces for future communities and use. Child-friendly spaces in the urban environment of the city of Durban, was used as local case study, along with two international case studies namely Mullerpier public playground in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Kadidjiny Park in Melville, Australia. The aim was to determine how these spaces were planned and developed and to identify tools that were used to accomplish the goal of providing successful child-friendly green spaces within urban areas. The need and significance of planning for such spaces was portrayed within the international case studies. It is confirmed that minimal provision is made for green space planning within the South African context, when there is reflected on the international examples. As a result international examples and disciples of providing child-friendly green spaces should direct planning guidelines within local context. The research concluded that child-friendly green spaces have a positive impact on the urban environment and assist in a child’s development and interaction with the natural environment. Regrettably, the planning of these child-friendly spaces is not given priority within current spatial plans, despite the proven benefits of such.

Keywords: Built Environment, urban area, child-friendly spaces, green spaces. public places

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1 The Urban Development Boundary as a Planning Tool for Sustainable Urban Form: The South African Situation

Authors: E. J. Cilliers

Abstract:

It is the living conditions in the cities that determine the future of our livelihood. “To change life, we must first change space"- Henri Lefebvre. Sustainable development is a utopian aspiration for South African cities (especially the case study of the Gauteng City Region), which are currently characterized by unplanned growth and increasing urban sprawl. While the reasons for poor environmental quality and living conditions are undoubtedly diverse and complex, having political, economical and social dimensions, it is argued that the prevailing approach to layout planning in South Africa is part of the problem. This article seeks a solution to the problem of sustainability, from a spatial planning perspective. The spatial planning tool, the urban development boundary, is introduced as the concept that will ensure empty talk being translated into a sustainable vision. The urban development boundary is a spatial planning tool that can be used and implemented to direct urban growth towards a more sustainable form. The urban development boundary aims to ensure planned urban areas, in contrast to the current unplanned areas characterized by urban sprawl and insufficient infrastructure. However, the success of the urban development boundary concept is subject to effective implementation measures, as well as adequate and efficient management. The concept of sustainable development can function as a driving force underlying societal change and transformation, but the interface between spatial planning and environmental management needs to be established (as this is the core aspects underlying sustainable development), and authorities needs to understand and implement this interface consecutively. This interface can, however, realize in terms of the objectives of the planning tool – the urban development boundary. The case study, the Gauteng City Region, is depicted as a site of economic growth and innovation, but there is a lack of good urban and regional governance, impacting on the design (layout) and function of urban areas and land use, as current authorities make uninformed decisions in terms of development applications, leading to unsustainable urban forms and unsustainable nodes. Place and space concepts are thus critical matters applicable to planning of the Gauteng City Region. The urban development boundary are thus explored as a planning tool to guide decision-making, and create a sustainable urban form, leading to better environmental and living conditions, and continuous sustainability.

Keywords: Urban Planning, sustainable urban form, urbandevelopment boundary, planning tool

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