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The Evolving South African Neighbourhood: The Case of Westdene, Bloemfontein

Abstract

Neighbourhoods have not received much research interest until comparatively recently. Internationally, the paucity of research has now been addressed through a steady flow of new contributions. In South Africa, however, neighbourhoods remain largely ignored in the academic press. The aim of this paper is to make a contribution towards gaining greater insight into the development of South African neighbourhoods. Drawing on a detailed analysis of the Bloemfontein neighbourhood of Westdene, the authors show that post-apartheid neighbourhoods are diverse and fragmented urban spaces that fulfil very many different functions. In the process, our conceptual understanding of neighbourhood has to be adjusted from one representing a relatively homogenous residential urban space to one that incorporates a diverse range of urban functions.

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Notes

  1. In this investigation, the concept neighbourhood conflates with that of the suburb. Whilst there appears to be some consensus that suburban areas are spatially somewhat removed from s vaguely defined inner-city area, it appears to also be agreed that the concept neighbourhood can be deployed appropriately in both the inner-city and the suburban contexts.

  2. This in-migration was initially linked to the war and thereafter the Great Depression, as well as subsequent waves of agricultural mechanisation.

  3. The data for this section were obtained from a questionnaire survey. A questionnaire was personally delivered to every residential unit in the northern area of Westdene above Brill Street. Of the 200 questionnaires distributed, 56 were returned, which represents a 28% response rate.

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Correspondence to Gijsbert Hoogendoorn.

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Hoogendoorn, G., Visser, G. The Evolving South African Neighbourhood: The Case of Westdene, Bloemfontein. Urban Forum 18, 329–349 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-007-9017-2

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Keywords

  • Post-apartheid neighbourhoods
  • Urban spaces
  • Urban functions