E. J. Cilliers

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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Abstracts

5 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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4 Restoring Urban South Africa through a Sustainable Green Infrastructure Approach

Authors: Z. Goosen, E. J. Cilliers

Abstract:

Referring to the entire green network within urban environments, at all spatial scales, green infrastructure is considered as an important constituent of sustainable development within urban areas through planning for a healthy environment and simultaneously improving quality of life for the people. Green infrastructure has made its appearance internationally in terms of the infrastructural urban environment focussing on ecological systems and sustaining society while building with nature. Within South Africa, the terminology of green infrastructure has, however, not continuously been entertained, mainly due to more pressing realities and challenges faced within urban areas of South Africa that include but are not limited to basic service provision, financial constraints and a lack of guiding policies and frameworks. But the notion of green infrastructure planning has changes, creating a newfound movement within urban areas of South Africa encouraging green infrastructure for urban resilience. Although green infrastructure is not an entirely new concept within the local context of South Africa, the benefits thereof constantly needs to be identified in order to measure the value of green infrastructure. Consequently challenges faces within urban areas of South Africa, in terms of human and nature, could be restored through focussing on a sustainable green infrastructure approach. This study does not focus on the pressing challenges and realities faced within urban areas of South Africa but rather aims solely on improving a green infrastructure approach within urban areas of South Africa. At the outset, the study will commence by introducing the concept of a green infrastructure approach by means of a local and international comparison. This will ensure an improved conceptual understanding of green infrastructure within a local South African context. The green infrastructure concept will be elaborated on through the inclusion of South African case study evaluations. The selected case studies will illustrate existing green infrastructure implementation within South Africa along with the benefits provided through the implementation thereof in terms of human (the people) and nature (the natural environment). As green infrastructure within South Africa continues to remain a fairly new concept with moderate levels of implementation thereof, room for improving on the approach in terms of implementation and maintenance exist. For this reason, the study will conclude with alternative green infrastructure suggestions and approaches to possibly be enforced within South Africa, led by international best practices.

Keywords: Sustainability, Green Infrastructure, international best practices, urban South Africa

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3 Corridor Densification Option as a Means for Restructuring South African Cities

Authors: T. J. B. van Niekerk, J. Viviers, E. J. Cilliers

Abstract:

Substantial efforts were made in South Africa, stemming from a historic political change in 1994, to remedy the inequality and injustice, resulting from a dispensation where spatial patterns were largely based on racial segregation. Spatially distorted patterns predominantly originated from colonialism in the beginning of the twentieth century, ensuing a physical imprint on South African cities relating to architecture, urban layout and planning, frequently reflecting European norms and standards. As a consequence of physical and land use barriers, and well-established dual cities, attempts to address spatial injustices, apart from limited occurrences in metropolitan areas, gravely failed. Interception of incessant segregated growth, combined with urban sprawl is becoming increasingly evident. Intervention is a prerequisite to duly address the impact of colonial planning and its legacy still prevalent in most urban areas. During 1998, the National Department of Transport prepared the “Moving South Africa” strategy; presenting the Corridor Densification Option Model for the first time, as it was deemed more fitting to the existing South African urban tenure patterns than more familiar planning approaches. Urban planners are progressively contemplating the Corridor Densification Option Model and its attributes, besides its transportation emphasis, as an alternative approach to address spatial imbalances and to attain the physical integration of contemporary urban forms. In attaining a clearer understanding of the Corridor Densification Option Model, its rationale was analysed in greater detail. This research further investigated the provisional applications of the model in spatially segregated cities and illustrated that viable options are present to effectively employ it. Research revealed that the application of the model will, however, be dependent on the occurrence of specific characteristics in spatially segregated cities to warrant augmentation thereof.

Keywords: Integration, corridor densification option model, spatially segregated settlements, urban restructuring

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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, Green spaces, urban area, child-friendly spaces, public places

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1 Comparative Sustainability Assessment as a Gauge of Sustainable Community Development in South Africa

Authors: B. B. van Schalkwyk, C. B. Schoeman, E. J. Cilliers

Abstract:

High levels of urbanisation and the lingering effects of Apartheid have caused South African municipalities to experience difficulties in planning for sustainability and, more specifically, sustainable community development. Sustainable community development is needed in order to achieve more integrated and sustainable towns and cities with an improved living environment and a higher quality of life. Due to this, sustainable community development is of particular relevance to South Africa. Although policies and legislation exist at international, national and local level, there is a lack of suitable planning instruments to guide sustainable community development. Tlokwe Local Municipality is researched in this paper as study area to test and develop planning instruments for sustainable community development. A comparative assessment matrix of sustainability indicators is linked to Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and applied to identify the themes and sub-themes applicable to sustainability in which intervention is required to improve the sustainability rating of the municipality. The result of the comparative sustainability assessment is that the Tlokwe Local Municipality is considered to be relatively sustainable, performing overall better than the three spheres of government against which it was measured. It is recommended that municipalities use the comparative assessment matrix method to determine its level of sustainability when developing respective sectorial plans (SDFs, ITPs, EMFs and IDPs). Areas in which there is a lack of sustainability are highlighted and can consequently be addressed through intervention strategies. The comparative assessment matrix method is a valuable planning instrument with which to achieve sustainable community development.

Keywords: Urban Management, Urbanisation, sustainable community development, sustainability indicators, comparative sustainability, development planning

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