Author(s): Juanee Cilliers
Abstract / Introduction (download full article at the bottom)
Urban functions are no longer separated spatially or socially, and the contest between diverse land-uses is reaching a peak due to growing populations and increasing urbanization that inflates the pressure on already strained resources within the urban fabric. The trend of depletion of green spaces is an increasing global phenomenon, intensifying the growing carbon footprint, impairing water quality and compromising health and overall quality of life, ultimately leading to cities that are far removed from the safe, clean, and livable environments, as envisioned in planning theory. Green spaces are often viewed as a“luxury good”, despite the comprehensive literature on the extensive benefits of such spaces to their host cities and communities. Misconceptions relating to the notion of green spaces are reflected in the undervaluation of these spaces, under-prioritization in the budgeting process and ultimate negligence in terms of broader spatial planning approaches.
The lack of function and ownership further exacerbate the social and economic value of these green spaces, especially within the South African context, apparent by the disproval of the compensation hypothesis and rejection of the proximity principle. Much effort will be needed to change perceptions and sensitize decision-makers to understand green spaces as a “public good” and “economic asset”. Resilience thinking could pose solutions in this regard, drawing on transdisciplinary planning approaches to manage change and steer Spatial Planning towards the era of transurbanism. It would, however, require the emancipation of the disciplinary identity of Spatial Planning as a crucial driver towards resilience, departing from theoretical and methodological frames of supplementary disciplines, as well as the indigenous knowledge and living experiences of communities, to co-produce urban innovations. Conveying strategic and lateral thinking, contemporary Planners would need to become generative leaders, with socio-emotional intelligence, to generate innovation and co-create solutions for strained social contexts, for depleting scare resources, for managing change of contemporary urban landscapes.
Publication: ISOCARP Congress Proceedings, pp. 1675-1687