The 4 Domains

Race and Class

This domain rests on the premises that spatial development in South African urban areas is largely polarised by class and race. Adebayo (2012) lamented on the proliferation of such spatial development which she attributed to economic forces at work. 

It is therefore not surprising that 80% of the population that is satisfied with housing and its associated supporting infrastructure is mostly the white population while the least satisfied are the Blacks who ironically, are the majority. Unfortunately, this polarisation seems to be growing as shown by the emergence of gated housing communities with access to high quality infrastructure. The increase in community protests and violence among the poor urban householders are indicators of poor wellbeing, governance and overall failure to address this growing gap. From a housing perspective, the government’s inclusive policies such as Social Housing policy (2008); The Framework for an Inclusionary Housing Policy (2007) and the Breaking New Grounds (2004) were all enacted to address this spatial inequity. 

The National Development Plan’s (Vision 2030) intention to build urban communities with a focus on spatial integration, sustainability, efficiency and balance is a realisation and pointer to this growing gap cities which are experiencing – hence the need to investigate dynamics at work in order to build inclusive cities.

Migrants Domain

The other domain which provides a point of entry into interrogating urban inclusion and wellbeing is the minority cluster which is represented by migrants. But of greater significance is the vulnerability of immigrants – especially black Africans from other African countries who suffer from xenophobic attacks at the hands of locals.

The instability of urban spaces to migrants largely arising out of anti-foreigner sentiments deepens marginalisation and social exclusion among migrants. However, different urban spaces have different migration profiles which in turn require locally responsive and appropriate mechanisms to address this problem.

Intervention measures spelt out through spatial policy documents fail to articulate demographic issues of this nature in a more effective way. Hence this research intends to interrogate this issue within the context of creating an inclusive city where the wellbeing of migrants is addressed.

People Living with Disability

This domain, which falls under the cluster of the minority arises out of the lack of responsiveness of cities to the needs of the blind, handicapped and elderly city dwellers.

It is important to reflect on the reality that half of all persons with disabilities and older persons around the world now live in towns and cities. Unfortunately their existence has been marginalised to the extent of being invisible in the urban landscape. In the South African context, this high level of exclusivity is visible in the absence of appropriate supportive urban infrastructure.

These sentiments are echoed in the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2015) which observes that there is poor service infrastructure for people with disabilities in underdeveloped areas.

Women and Children

This domain falls under the vulnerable cluster which is represented by women, children and the aging. Vulnerability, which refers to the inability of people to cope with or adapt to the impact of multiple stressors is a common phenomenon among women and children.

This is not a new area of concern because the issue of vulnerability have been discussed to different depths by various authors and organisations (see Desai & Mahadevia, 2018; UN-Habitat, 2015; Legacy et al, 2013). Issues at stake under this domain relate to safety, protection and access to services. Jagori (2009) argues that the city is not sensitive to gender issues especially those that relate to sexual abuse of women both in public and private spaces. South Africa, which is labelled the “rape capital of the world” cannot have a gender inclusive city when issues of fear and safety stalks its streets.

It is against this background that the NDP Vision 2030 captures this perception by advocating that by 2030, people living in South Africa should feel safe at home, at school and at work, and they should enjoy a community life free of fear, walk freely in the streets and the children should play safely outside. This acknowledgement by the government calls for interrogation of inclusivity of women and children in South African cities.Issues at stake under this domain relate to safety, protection and access to services.