TRP 2018 Volume 73

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  • ItemOpen Access
    From the editor
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Steyn, Das
    Urban planning developed alongside the urbanization of mankind. The oldest written reference to urban planning is by the Greek Hippodamus (fifth century B.C.); unfortunately, no copy has been preserved; we only know about it through Aristotle’s writings. The next known reference work is the Roman architect Vitruvius’s De Architectura, a treatise in ten ancient volumes on Greek and Roman architecture, translated as The ten books on architecture. It dates to about 28 B.C. and one of those volumes is about the origin and layout of cities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Incidental great public spaces and the role of urban design in South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Schoulund, Dario; Landman, Karina
    Urban Design in South Africa as a formal profession has a relatively short history. However, in practice, there have been many examples of what must be considered both good and bad Urban Design. There have also been numerous debates at universities and conferences on what Urban Design should be. However, in the constant making and re-making of urban and rural space, Urban Design has a tenuous and weak presence. This article interrogates the rather low profile of Urban Design in the country and why it is not growing or better positioned compared to other countries. This is done through a discussion of three cases that illustrate the often incidental making of great public spaces in contrast to the thoroughly planned approach. The article argues that spontaneous projects of high quality, rather than over-planned projects, where shortcomings result from this preoccupation to rationalise, often have a greater potential to strengthen the role and value of Urban Design. Such an approach would favour incremental, flexible and sensitive proposals and interventions where spontaneity and adaptation are recognised and celebrated, as well as support the notion that urban design should set a framework for many role players to respond to in shaping the city.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Small ideas for big impacts: multifunctionality in the rural village of Verkykerskop
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Viviers, Jako
    Nijkamp affirms the Utopians’ claim of an open and flexible future, where development could imply surprising steps towards something better. Castells questions admonishingly whether planning approaches are changeable in a world that has already changed. Following Davidoff’s indications of making urban life beautiful, exciting and creative, planners encounter “surprising steps” within the planning approaches of compact cities, new urbanism, new ruralism, smart growth, green urbanism, and so on. In responding to Castells’ “multidimensional change in the spatial dimension”, the imagination of planners is intercepted, angling them towards a multifunctional planning advent. This article reasons that a combination of the new urbanism, green urbanism and new ruralism may be a beneficial response to multifunctionality, especially as megatrends emphasise the need to abandon the pursuit of a predictable single future or outcome. It questions whether the reciprocal use of these planning approaches may induce multifunctional rural landscapes. The uniqueness of the inherently rural South African landscape also necessitates a rural emphasis in this article, questioning whether the reciprocal use of the three planning approaches in the recently planned rural village of Verkykerskop, acclaimed by the Charter for New Urbanism in 2012, generated multifunctional rural land use.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Conceptual commentary of public spaces in Durban, South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Cloete, Magdalena; Yusuf, Salena
    Within the context of African cities that are considered to have poor economic prospects and are failing its inhabitants, this article explores and assesses the quality of Durban’s open public spaces through a phenomenological lens, by applying the concept of the sociality of public space and drawing on different theorists’ ideas of what constitutes a good open public space. Various factors have led to the corrosion of open public spaces, including modernism and globalisation and their resultant effects as well as spatial apartheid in South Africa. The following theories are used to understand open public spaces: Jacob’s “eyes on the street”, which supports safer public spaces; Massey’s theory of thrown-togetherness, which advocates for a range of different elements present in public spaces, and Parkinson’s democracy of public space, which encompasses the way in which people express themselves in public spaces. The research methodology includes a literature review, phenomenological ethnographic observations, mapping, and drawing with written narrative. The spaces considered in the study include a range of Durban’s successful and less successful public spaces, including the beachfront, parks, gardens, and a public square. The article concludes that open public spaces are a necessity for quality civic life and are still considered a luxury in Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sun, shade and natural daylight in South African town planning, with emphasis on Pretoria
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Conradie, Dirk
    A bioclimatic analysis of different South African towns and cities indicates that, if the correct mix of passive design principles is used, they all have a significant passive design potential. Of all such measures, solar protection and shading is the single most important passive design measure to reduce energy usage and to improve internal comfort for buildings in all South African climatic regions. The correct design of public open spaces and streets facilitates, to a great extent, energy-efficient buildings, whilst at the same time providing functional and comfortable urban open spaces and streets. Passive solar buildings aim to maintain interior thermal comfort throughout the sun’s diurnal and annual cycles, whilst reducing the requirement for active heating and cooling systems. The aim of this article is to investigate the effect of climate zones on passive design potential, of which shading design is an integral part, using Pretoria as a case study. This includes the effect of street width, building height, street layout, orientation, and the amount of sunlight available for trees and plants in the urban environment. The Spatial Planning and Land Management Act (2013), City of Tshwane Land Use Management By-law (2016) and the Tshwane Town-Planning Scheme 2008 (Revised 2014) were used as regulatory framework. To support the research, an Early Design Phase (EDP) experimental research platform was used to investigate the amount of sunlight on building facades with different orientations. This method enables the calculation of shading angles where there is a balance between the hot periods (requiring cooling) and cool periods (requiring heating) from the urban and building perspective. This has been achieved by means of the development of analytical software that uses weather files as one of the inputs to calculate critical solar angles. Over and above the calculation of current building solar protection angles, this method also facilitates the calculation of the increase in solar protection that will be required with climate change such as with the expected A2 climate change scenario (business-as-usual scenario) for South Africa. To support the EDP analysis, detailed simulations were also undertaken by means of Ecotect v5.60.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Housing as urbanism: a policy to discourage urban sprawl and provide well-located and affordable housing in South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Van Niekerk, Brendon
    The concept of ‘housing as urbanism’ considers the social, political and economic components of housing, which, in reality, translates to housing that is closer to employment, municipal services, public spaces, healthcare, schooling facilities and social services, while also providing the household with the physical infrastructure necessary for a good quality of life. These considerations have not been included in the mass roll-out of low-income housing programmes by the South African government to date. A series of case studies show that, in South Africa, a more compact urban form does not necessarily lead to one that is less expensive than a sprawled urban form, due to infrastructure thresholds, capacities, location, land-use mix, and density variations over time and space. Due to the complex interrelations between land values in space, the costs of buildings and urban services, the relative cost of transport and the excess capacities in infrastructure systems, a simple dichotomous ‘sprawled’ versus ‘compact’ approach to housing location and urban development is not appropriate. Investigations of individual sites need to be performed, in order to understand the social, political and economic benefits, which will accrue to the households from their location in the city. The case studies also indicate that, over the long term, the overall cost of housing developments that are better located, subscribing broadly to the principles of ‘housing as urbanism’, is likely to be less expensive to municipalities and the development’s residents than poorly located, sprawled housing developments. Decisions taken which consider the principles of ‘housing as urbanism’ can help create a more efficient urban form, freeing up resources for both urban residents and public-sector organisations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Upgrading informal settlements in South Africa: a partnership-based approach
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Stewart, Thomas
    The upgrading of informal settlements has become one of the most comprehensive, complex, controversial, capital-intensive, and often emotive developmental interventions orchestrated and funded by the South African public sector. Many initiatives, however, happen without there being meaningful collaboration between the various role players. In this publication, some of the ‘cutting-edge’ initiatives and a revisit to proven practices and debates are discussed and generously supported by case studies, experience, evidence, and appropriate examples. This is further enhanced by the collaborative effort of the diversity of authors who have managed to simplify and capture the essence of the subject matter in such a way that it can be applied in the formulation of policy.