Scale of belonging: Gauteng 30 Years After the Repeal of the Group Areas Act

Over the last three decades South Africa’s urban spaces have been alive with transformations in the scale of spatial arrangements, and this has important implications for the ways in which ordinary people identify with one another, understand their place in both society and space, and are able to take up a position in the city that allows them to live their lives. This Urban Forum special issue arises from a GCRO project, Scale Belonging and Exclusion, which brought together a group of researchers who met regularly to share literature and develop their research. This collection offers five studies in which scale manifests as a dynamic related to belonging. They allow us to understand how changes to scale come about, who drives them and what implications they have for the lives of ordinary people. They also allow us to explore normative positions taken by actors in these studies about the ‘right’ scale of spatial arrangements. This special issue was published 30 years after the repeal of the Group Areas Act.

Ballard, R., Parker, A., Butcher, S. de Kadt, J., Hamann, C. Joseph, K. Mapukata, S., Mkhize, T., Mosiane, N., and Spiropoulos, L. (2021). ‘Scale of Belonging: Gauteng 30 Years After the Repeal of the Group Areas Act’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp 131 – 139. (access the article:

Parker, A. Hamann, C., and de Kadt, J. (2021). ‘Accessing Quality Education in Gauteng: Intersecting Scales of Geography, Educational Policy and Inequality’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp 141 – 163 (access the article:

Ballard, R., Jones, G. A. and Ngwenya, M. (2021). ‘Trickle-out Urbanism: Are Johannesburg’s Gated Estates Good for Their Poor Neighbours?’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 165 – 182 (access the article:

Butcher, S. (2021). ‘New Ward for a New Johannesburg? Reformatting Belonging and Boundaries in the City’s South’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 183 – 204

Mkhize, T. (2021). ‘Rescaling Municipal Governance in Gauteng: Competing Rationalities in Sedibeng’s Proposed Re-Demarcation and Metropolitanisation’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 205 – 223. (access the article

Spiropoulos, L. (2021). ‘Race, Conflict and Ownership of a “Coloured Ghetto”: Analysing Scale, Factionalism and Belonging in Davidsonville, South Africa’. Urban Forum. Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 225 - 243 (access the article


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