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About SARChI Inclusive Cities

The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) for Inclusive Cities is funded by both the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the South African Cities Network (SACN). It is chaired by Professor Hope H. Magidimisha-Chipungu. The SARChI Chair for Inclusive Cities is hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, under the school of Built Environment and Development Studies cluster. The SARChI Chair serves as a forum for research initiatives for Prof. Magidimisha-Chipungu, Academics within the school, postdoctoral fellows, postgraduate students, and others working with her. The South African urban space provides a unique and intriguing point of entry to the discourse and research on inclusive cities. It is precisely so in the sense that it goes beyond the conceptualisation of urban space through the lenses of urbanisation – but incorporates massive restructuring of urban spaces to ameliorate negativities arising out of the colonial and apartheid governments. This, in turn, complicates and repositions the debate beyond the mere articulation of principles of inclusivity by providing a platform for redefining these principles in the context of local dynamics. In the process, new domains of inclusivity are explored while the ramification of the existing domains is redefined.

The SARChI Chair for Inclusive Cities recognises, acknowledges, and builds on existing work done by other researchers and organisations on inclusive cities with a particular focus on Spatial Inclusion – which focuses on accessibility to affordable land and housing. Economic Inclusion focuses on accessibility to opportunities associated with economic development, empowerment, and sharing in rising prosperity. Social Inclusion rests on the need for individuals’ access to their rights and participation in governance issues that promote their existence. The point of departure in this chair rests on the premise that the dimensions of the inclusive cities outlined above fail to capture in detail vulnerable clusters of society (women, children, and the aging); the minority clusters (i.e., the blind, the disabled), and migrants. In addition, it fails to recognise the increase in spatial inequality driven by racial and class differences – a factor that saw an increase in the spate of community unrest, and service delivery protests. Furthermore, it fails to interpolate and position the concept of Inclusive Cities into the contemporary urban discourse of smart city development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) era. These gaps can be clustered into five selected domains which are:

  1. Women and children’s domain
  2. People Living with Disability domain
  3. Migrant domain
  4. Race and class domain, and
  5. Inclusive Smart Cities

The 4 Domains

Migrants Domain

Instability of urban spaces to migrants largely arising out of anti-foreigner sentiments deepens marginalization and social exclusion among migrants.

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Race and Class

This domain rests on the premises that spatial development in South African urban areas is largely polarised by class and race

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Inclusive Smart Cities

This domain rest on the premise that cities cannot be smart if they are not inclusive. The literature on smart cities rarely uses words like

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