UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sustainable urban form for a democratic South Africa Swanepoel, Lourette


"Apartheid planning...made our [South African] urban settlements extremely dysfunctional and unsustainable" and we now need to "take up the challenge of achieving sustainable cities" (Department Of Housing, 1997). However, despite the numerous new policy documents "there is no evidence of a shared vision of what planning should be trying to achieve in the 'new' South Africa" and now "urban development is occurring without a clear vision of appropriate urban form" (DPC, 1999:12; Behrens & Watson, 1996:37). This document takes on the challenge of exploring the form of sustainable cities in the new democratic South Africa, and aims to provide guidance to the planners and designers that are at the forefront of implementing this challenge. The research focuses on initiating change towards sustainability by physically altering the physical structure of our cities. The document describes the city as a hierarchical honeycomb that consists of dense neighbourhood cells that function in larger community cells. It investigates a number of issues that affect the ecological-, social-, and economic dimensions of sustainability and provides 101 design guidelines for the planning and design of sustainable communities. The research concludes with a conceptual illustration of the sustainable community and it provides direction for the implementation of these cells that incrementally heals the city through a process of gradual phasing.

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