1st Edition

Land-Use Management to Support Sustainable Settlements in South Africa

    170 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a theoretical and practical foundation needed to change the practice of land use management in Southern Africa.

    It presents an overview of alternative land use management system for South African municipalities that is economically, socially, and environmentally more sustainable than many of the land use schemes in effect at present. Land use management is a component of spatial governance that controls the nature and extent of development to prevent harmful impacts on people and the environment. As the current system with its colonial/modernist planning and regulatory mechanisms were never designed to deal with rapid change, urbanisation, and informality, a different form of land development and land use management is necessary. This timely book reflects the culmination of many years of practical experience and research into various aspects of land use management by the authors and studies undertaken by their master’s and doctoral students. The book goes beyond an analysis of the problems and suggests concrete proposals that can be applied throughout Southern Africa based on a rural-to-urban transect.

    This book is directed to a broad range of readers interested in spatial planning and land use management. It will be of interest to those in the fields of geography, urban studies, urban design, planning, and architecture.

    1.   Introduction

                Change required

    Land use management

                Argument for change

                            Changing values

                            Democracy in South Africa

                            Local government transition

                Complexity and general resilience

                Structure of the book


    2.  Evolution of land use management

                Early rules and generative codes

                Regulation based on zoning codes

                            First zoning controls: France, 1810

                            German approach

                            Spread of zoning

    Brief overview of the evolution of land use management in South Africa

                Early beginnings

                Influence of the discovery of diamonds and gold

                First provincial planning legislation

                Planning legislation 1900–1994

                Situation prior to 1994

    1994–2013: From development control to land use management

                Development Facilitation Act, 1995

                Draft Green Paper

                2001 White Paper on Spatial Planning and Land Use Management

                Land use management bills, draft provincial legislation and SPLUMA

    Current land use management system


    3.  Planning theory and its applicability to the Global South


                Procedural Northern planning theories

                            Modernism and planning

                            Collaborative and communicative planning

                Critical Northern theories

                            Marxism, power, and planning

                            Diffusion of power

                            Social justice and inclusion

    Spatial theories: Smart growth, new urbanism, transit-oriented development, and liveability


                Northern theories in an African context

                Towards theories for planning in Africa


                            Tactical urbanism


                            Informal settlements

                            Informality and livelihoods




    4.  Why the current system is inadequate for the South African context


    Problems of African land use management

                            Inequality and exclusion

                            Overview of the inadequacies of the current system

                            Traditional areas

                            Lack of recognition of African cultures

                            Urban areas

                            Informal livelihoods

                            Informal settlements

                            Backyard dwellings

                            Sprawling, poor quality, and unsustainable urban form



                            Power, politics, and corruption

                            Conflicting and competing rationalities

                            Customary land tenure and contested leadership

                            Capacity, bureaucracy, and the aspirations’ mismatch


    5. Principles and options for a land use management system to support sustainable and equitable settlements



                            Acknowledge and work with change

                            Land use regulations can change

                            Regenerative sustainability

                            Social justice and inclusion

                            Economic development and livelihoods

                            Context matters

                Other land use management systems

                            Restrictive conditions and covenants in title deeds

                            Plan-based controls

                            Site development plans

                            Form-based codes

                            Performance standards


    Basket of rights

                            Discretionary system



    6.  A Southern approach to sustainable land use management

                Simplifying the system

                            Current system

                            Options to simplify the system

                Rural regions

                            Natural areas

                            Commercial farming areas

                            Traditional rural areas

                Urban spaces

                            Small towns

                            Peri-urban regions


                            Informal settlements


                            Central areas

                Special areas


                            Renewable energy



    7.  Conclusion




    Verna Nel is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She had extensive experience in local government, including as Chief Town Planner in the Centurion Town Council and the City of Tshwane’s City Planning Function, before joining the university. She has published on spatial governance, urban resilience, secondary cities, and the impacts of mining on communities. She is a consultant on land use management.

    Stuart Paul Denoon-Stevens has a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and is Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University (UK). Initially working as a planner in development control, since 2015 he has been working as an academic, conducting research on topics such as development control, housing, spatial planning for mining towns, and planning practice and education. He has been involved in high-level policy and legislative work relating to planning legislation and spatial planning in South Africa and has previously co-led a major NRF-ESRC project focused on planning education and practice in South Africa.