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Urban Forum

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 333–350 | Cite as

Conceptualizing ‘the Urban’ Through the Lens of Durban, South Africa

  • Catherine Sutherland
  • Dianne Scott
  • Etienne Nel
  • Adrian Nel
Article
  • 16 Downloads

Abstract

Contemporary urban theory raises many questions about how ‘the urban’ is being conceptualized in a fast changing world that is approaching an urban epoch. Evolving debates about what it means to be urban, including the similarities and differences between so-called northern and southern cities, the future of cities, the way to manage and sustain cities, and cities’ relationships to the new Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, reveal the need for urban theory that can explain and provide insights into contemporary urban governance, processes, and outcomes. This special issue uses Durban as a lens to provide insight into the changing nature of cities in the Global South and Africa in particular, which encapsulate and reflect both formality and informality; tradition and modernity; uneven and unequal growth and social transformation; environmental crises and ‘resilience and sustainability’. This paper reflects on the dominant processes shaping the development of the city, revealing the challenges, tensions, and opportunities that emerge as the city assembles new ways of being urban, through the rationalities, knowledge, experiences, practices and actions of the state, citizens, and the private sector.

Keywords

Urban governance Urban assemblage Southern urbanism Urban geography of Durban South Africa 

Notes

References

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Built Environment and Development StudiesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Environmental and Geographical ScienceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  4. 4.Department of GeographyUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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