Public green space inequality in small towns in South Africa

McConnachie, M.M. and Shackleton, C.M. (2010) Public green space inequality in small towns in South Africa. Habitat International, 34 (2). pp. 244-248. ISSN 0197-3975

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The distribution of public green space within towns is frequently uneven, and influenced by attributes such as its location relative to the commercial core, as well as the ethnicity and relative wealth and education of the residents. Yet most studies are from large cities in developed countries. In contrast, this study reports on the distribution of public green space across 9 small towns in a developing country, namely South Africa, which offers a unique case study because of its former racially defined settlement patterns. We do so using GIS analysis of aerial photographs focusing on 3 types of suburbs in each town, defined on the basis of wealth as well as race-based history under the previous apartheid regime. The more affluent suburbs, inhabited mainly by whites, have the lowest density of housing and the highest area of green space per capita. Proportionally, they have a similar area under public green space as to the previously racially defined townships, but because of the lower housing density, they have a greater area per person. The newly built low-cost housing areas (termed RDP suburbs), occupied largely by poor black South Africans, are poorly endowed with public green space, and fare worse than the other 2 suburb types on all attributes measured. This needs to be addressed in further low-cost housing developments.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:South Africa: small towns: Housing density; Low-cost housing; Public green space; Poverty
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Environmental Science
ID Code:2436
Deposited By: Prof Charlie Shackleton
Deposited On:13 Feb 2012 09:08
Last Modified:13 Feb 2012 09:08
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