Photography by:
  • Kagiso Dlamini & Amanda van der Walt

Spatial imaginaries

Realising integrated spatial planning across the Gauteng City-Region requires collaboration between municipal and provincial departments together with private developers, residents and affected parties. Understanding the intricacies of spatial visions, the alignments and misalignments of municipal plans, the strategies of investors and the needs of residents develops a sense of the complexity of development in an integrated city-region.

This research project will review a selection of spatial visions that have changed the GCR, together with those that have never been implemented, or remain in their infancy. In particular, the research will look for synergies in approach and strategy between role-players, but will also highlight moments of divergence. Interrogating a diverse number of plans and visions of the GCR will uncover the extent to which key role-players continue to shape our built environment and investigate the forces and strategies that guide its form. Recommendations for integrated city-region planning will conclude the research.

A major introductory essay will set the context of the research, and a graphic-oriented review of spatial visions, with mini-essays will form the content of the report. Research will mainly consist of cross-cutting interviews. The final product will be a full colour, printed report.

The Spatial Imaginaries project in this initial phase will establish a context for further research work that aims to uncover a common spatial vision, understanding how resident and user communities imagine the future of their urban environments. One component of this research will be a preliminary examination of large new private mixed use developments billed as ‘mini cities’.

GCRO Report

In April 2015, the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) launched a new policy entitled ‘Mega Projects: Clusters and New Cities’ led by the Department of Human Settlements. The Spatial Imaginaries team joined with others in producing a map of the month with a narrative on this new policy (See the May 2015 Map of the Month).


Richard Ballard presented the conceptual chapter of the research report at the Society of South African Geographers conference in Stellenbosch on 26 September 2016.


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