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Nelson Mandela: An Urbanist Remembered

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Walter Fieuw
Walter Fieuw  
12/16/2013 11:33:48 AM
User Rank Blogger
Reconstructing urban forms
This was also an urban strategy for the ANC's election manifesto, which was passed as the new country's macro economic framework: the Reconstruction and Development Programme. It is especially insightful that the new government recognised how an urban strategy is closely linked with a macro-growth and redistribution strategy. Sadly, once the RDP programme was administrated by the private sector, massive low-income housing developments were constructed on the periphery of the cities, where developers paid the cheapest for land and maximised the profit out of the government housing subsidies. Today we have a housing paradigm that is causually refered to as 40x40x40: 40sqm house, 40km outside the city, where you spend 40% of your income to get to work and back!

Walter Fieuw
Walter Fieuw  
12/16/2013 11:27:09 AM
User Rank Blogger
A dream deferred
Dear Mary

Thanks so much for your insightful post. As a South African, the apartheid legacy of our cities required bold and brave thinking, and Madiba was leading the way. What strikes me about your captions were how informed and relevant these core proposals were, given the struggle movement's (ANC) underground operations for more than three decades. 

Can you believe that most of South African planning law still dates to apartheid years! Many of these laws were revisted in the mid 1980s when the apartheid state was forced into negotiations. Truely, as Nicole also indicated, this is a dream worth striving for. But at the moment it is still a dream deferred, as we are still fighting urban sprawl and a lack of urban transformation.

While we moarn the passing of a giant, we need to consider the small steps that Madiba advocated for, starting with a commitment to justice and reconciliation.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/12/2013 11:57:51 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Any city would benefit
Indeed, @Nicole. I particularly was struck by the emphasis on public/private sector collaboration. It's even more important today than it was then, given the sheer scale of urban growth we're facing.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/11/2013 1:47:44 PM
User Rank Staff
Any city would benefit
Nice blog, Mary, and thanks for reminding us of Mandela's support of urban growth. That list from the document is astonishing... those points apply to any and all cities, not just those struggling. It's also wild to see how little has changed despite us knowing years and years ago what was to come for our cities all over the globe. Anyone saying "it's up to us now" is absolutely right.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/11/2013 9:20:21 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: An Urbanist Remembered
By most accounts, Africa's cities are both messy and incredibly vibrant and full of potential. The challenges are enormous, but there is hope of conquering some of the problems over time.

One leader can inspire and offer vision, but it's up to citizens themselves to help put the principles into practice in order to really follow through and make a difference.

James@SanDiego
James@SanDiego  
12/10/2013 9:08:50 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
An Urbanist Remembered
Yes Mary, Rest In Peace Mr. Mandela.  What a humanist and forward thinker.  The minion trying to come to power are really holding the dark continent back.  Business ventures there would be wary of attacks, terrorists, territories and just the whole civil unrest going on.  Leadership is what is needed there and most places nowadays.  America herself is without strong leadership and left to flounder and drift according to economic tides and woes.

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