Urban Forum

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 125–151

Reanimating a Comatose Goddess’: Reconfiguring Central Cape Town


DOI: 10.1007/s12132-007-9012-7

Cite this article as:
Pirie, G. Urban Forum (2007) 18: 125. doi:10.1007/s12132-007-9012-7


Central Cape Town is no longer a tawdry, unsafe provincial enclave of day-time office workers, commuter shoppers and public administrators. After the decline since the 1980s due to suburban flight, a private–public partnership has improved the downtown’s state and image. Capitalising on spectacular heritage and location, property developers have been transforming work, residential and leisure spaces. Massive private investment in new and converted buildings, and in public space, is reconfiguring the old central business district (CBD) into a post-modern space of high-end production, service and consumption that is aestheticised, commoditised and historicised. Investors, young professionals, day visitors and tourists benefit more than the peripheral metropolitan majority. Despite inclusive rhetoric, the Africanisation of post-apartheid central Cape Town is less evident than its ‘glocalisation’.


South AfricaUrban regenerationGlocalisationPublic–private partnerships

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesUniversity of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa