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Edmore Mutsaa
Edmore Mutsaa

Research Info

Bridging the spatial and socio-economic disparities through inclusion and integration of vulnerable and marginalised population groups into the urban fabric of South Africa.

With more than half the world’s population now lives in cities and the proportion expected to reach 70% by 2050, the arrival of the twenty-first century introduced cities to a host of problems, both of a spatial and functional nature; manifesting in high rates of exclusion and inequality. Exclusion and inequality have become prevailing trends in cities worldwide, with adverse impacts on quality of life and social cohesion. Since it is messy budding problems that breeds new solutions, it must be understood that the most successful cities will not be problem-free cities but problem-solving cities. Although urban planners and designers cannot solve the roots of exclusion and inequality per se, they can aid in increasing the integration of deprived people into the mainstream city fabric and provide spaces that increase the chances of interaction and the forming of socioeconomic relations among people from differing circumstances. In this endeavour, the Inclusive Cities concept is a relatively recent approach of combining a series of wide ranging initiatives to tackle these problems. The researcher propose to introduce the concept of Inclusive Cities to South Africa. The primary issues to be addressed are spatial, social and economic factors. The aim of the research is to interrogate the spatial, social and economic dimensions of urban inclusion in a ways that create opportunities for a better life, provide a pathway out of poverty and spatial integration to act as an engine for sustainable urban development. This project will explore the dynamics of the Inclusive Cities concept and examine the opportunities that can be harnessed from this initiative, while taking reference from other cities where the concept has been adopted, in both the developing and developed world. The motivation for this work is rooted deep in the grassroots, which are issues that emerge most profoundly from the daily experience of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, lack of access to services and discrimination among other issue. The strategy is a version of that old rallying cry: “Nothing for us without us.” For the kind of upgrading the research speak of is not about mere inclusion alone. This is about realizing real citizenship and equality in our cities.