Socio-spatial transformations: Johannesburg and Cape Town public spaces

Lowton, Zubeida (2021) Socio-spatial transformations: Johannesburg and Cape Town public spaces. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the experience of public space users and analyse the perceived socio-spatial transformations of South African cities. Studies on South African spatial and social transformation focus on macro-policy approaches and negate the micro-perspectives of public space users. Additionally, there is a lack of understanding in the academic discourses of the user experience and the way post-apartheid public spaces are navigated. To address these gaps, I ask how socio-spatial transformations are perceived and experienced by public space users in light of the apartheid legacy? I am also concerned with how addressing the legacy of socio-spatial fragmentation contributes towards new forms of socio-spatial fragmentation? This thesis takes a social constructivist stance and uses a qualitative comparative case study approach. Between 2017 and 2018, 26 semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 participants in six public spaces. The study shows that there is a disconnect between displaying uncomfortable apartheid spatial reminders and a willingness to share personal experiences or memories related to the public spaces. Many of the participants expressed caution when entering discussions of apartheid. This suggests that apartheid discussions relating to memories and experiences remain a sensitive topic. My analysis also shows that accessibility and economic affordability result in some public space users being excluded from public spaces. This exclusion results in new forms of inequality based on socio-economic status. The significance of this study contributes to the gap in understanding the micro-perspective experiences of public space users in South African cities. Empirically, the research also improves our understanding of the social function, use and perceptions of socio-spatial transformation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Joss, Prof. Simon and Conway, Dr. Daniel and Kamete, Dr. Amini
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Ms Anikó Szilágyi
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82415
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2021 10:18
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2021 10:20
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82415

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