Item Open AccessOpportunities and constraints facing informal street traders: Evidence from four South African cities(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Willemse, LodeneEnglish: A small income and the limited ability of the government and the formal business sector to provide sufficient employment opportunities to people in the economically active age categories are two of the main reasons for informal trading in South African cities. As a result, the informal street trading sector plays an important role in providing a security net for millions of the unemployed in the South African economy. However, informal street trading is not without problems. The aim of this article is to report on some of the opportunities and constraints faced by informal street traders in the central business districts (CBDs) of the four main metropolitan areas of South Africa. Item Open AccessThe geography of informal arts and crafts traders in South Africa’s four main city centres(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Van Eeden, AmandaEnglish: The choice of location of street traders and the products they sell reflect specific geographies of flows of people. In this study the focus is on the spatial relationships between arts and crafts trading and the tourist market. This article presents the outcomes of research into the characteristics and geographies of informal trade in arts and crafts in South Africa’s four main metropolitan city centres. The results show that informal selling of arts and crafts is a relatively small component of street trading in all four centres. Intracity variations are reported and the geographical patterns of arts and crafts traders in the four centres analysed with GIS software. The purpose of this analysis is to identify concentrations of traders specialising in arts and crafts within the general distributions of informal traders in the four cities. Item Open AccessThe home as informal business location: Home-based business (HBB) dynamics in the medium-sized city of George(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Smit, Eunice; Donaldson, RonnieEnglish: Home-based businesses (HBBs) are often considered the most ‘formal’ of the informal business sector types, where a formal structure such as a house or shack provides some form of security for these businesses. Notwithstanding this structural ‘security’, HBBs are merely a reflection of broader urban economic and spatial processes taking place in South African cities, resulting in a dual-natured business space. The role, impact and contribution of home-based businesses to urban economies, urban growth and spatial relations with the formal economy have not received much attention from policymakers in South Africa. The study investigates the complexity of HBB dynamics in the mediumsized city of George, and focuses on three aspects: first, a conceptual link between house and business is provided; second is an overview of the spatial transformation of business space in the city between 1995 and 2005, and third is an analysis of a survey conducted among 98 HBBs in George, in which aspects related to the business start-up, location, history, problems experienced and policy context are examined. The article concludes with several policy and planning recommendations. Item Open AccessThe economic importance of migrant entrepreneurship: An application of data envelopment analysis in The Netherlands(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Sahin, Madiha; Baycan, Tüzin; Nijkamp, PeterEnglish: In the Anglo-Saxon literature in the past decade, much attention has been paid to the economic importance of ethnic (migrant) entrepreneurship. This type of self-employment appears to provide a vital and creative contribution to the urban economy. The rising size and importance of ethnic entrepreneurship has recently prompted much policy and research interest regarding migrant business in Europe. Also in The Netherlands this new phenomenon is increasingly recognised and regarded as an interesting focus for the city’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) policy. Migrant entrepreneurs do not only have a substantial impact on the urban economy, but they also act as role models for socio-economic integration. They often operate in interesting market niches and provide a positive stimulus for creative business-making in modern cities. The present article offers first an overview of the literature on this issue and investigates next empirically the economic performance of Turkish migrant entrepreneurs in the highly skilled and hightech sector in the Netherlands through the use of data envelopment analysis (DEA). Item Open AccessThe informal sector in urban Nigeria: Reflections from almost four decades of research(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Onyebueke, Victor; Geyer, ManieEnglish: The rapid expansion of the informal sector or economy in both developed and developing countries has not only captured the attention of researchers, development analysts, government officials and international agencies but is also prompting a massive profusion of literature on the topic. In the face of the huge plethora of informal sector literature, some scholars advocate ‘country distinction’ as a scale-bound and context-specific template for gauging both the ‘national’ and ‘global’ accounts of the informality story. The Nigerian informal sector is metaphoric of old wine in a new wineskin since ‘informality’ research in the country predates the introduction of the concept there. It was the ILO city-study mission to Lagos in 1975 that pioneered the concept but the terminology tottered until the mid-1980s before it diffused the mainstream of academic and policy circles. Ever since the structural adjustment programme (SAP) of 1986, the ascribed informal workforce has grown in leaps and bounds both in real numbers and in activity diversification. The article explores the nearly two decades’ trajectory and substance of informal sector research in Nigeria. It is significant for two reasons: no previous elaborate attempt has been made to systematically document or review the motleys of informal sector literature in Nigeria, and this evaluation promises, among other things, to provide the feedbacks necessary to avert a slide of informality research into “ritual academic blind alleys” (Flyvbjerg, 2004a: 422). Based on the foregoing, the article synthesises the knowledge gains (as well as gaps) and concludes with recommendations for future research. Item Open AccessWho’s out there? A profile of informal traders in four South African city central business districts(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Horn, AneleEnglish: The informal sector has gained prominence in developing countries during the past two decades, mainly as a result of the formal sector’s inability to absorb growing populations and an increasing number of individuals hoping to secure an income through selfemployment in the informal sector. The situation in South African cities is no exception as the unemployment rate has remained between 24% and 30% since 2000. The emphasis on informal trading in cities necessitates a more in-depth understanding of the informal sector and street traders at city level, for which relevant data are scarce or too general. By using data gathered among street traders in four major metropolitan areas of South Africa, this article seeks to provide a current profile of individuals that are involved in street trading in South African cities. Item Open Access‘Picking up the pieces’: Reconstructing the informal economic sector in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Gumbo, Trynos; Geyer, ManieEnglish: Since the launch of Operation Restore Order in May 2005 in all urban centres by the Zimbabwean government, the informal economic sector in Bulawayo has undergone significant transformations and growth. In contravention of the legal and regulatory controls and against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis, the government embarked on a clean-up campaign that devastated the urban poor and reduced them to destitute people. The blitz destroyed informal business structures, evicting and detaining operators and confiscating their wares purporting to restore the lost glimmer and liveliness of the city. Even registered vendors that operated at designated sites with operating licences properly issued by the city authorities were not spared. This study’s preliminary findings reveal how the planning system has metamorphosed to keep up with changing circumstances and how it has helped to revolutionise the vendors’ struggles by organising and mobilising them to revive the indispensable informal economy. In conclusion the article argues that city authorities should work closely with the associations of the urban poor to achieve the objectives both of maintaining urban health and of ensuring the means of livelihood for the unemployed, in particular against the backdrop of a distressed formal sector that has reeled under economic structural adjustments that led to massive deindustrialisation and retrenchments since the 1990s. Item Open AccessLand quality, urban development and urban agriculture within the Cape Town urban edge(Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the Free State, 2011) Geyer, Herman; Schloms, Bennie; Du Plessis, Danie; Van Eeden, AmandaEnglish: The article analyses the consumption of agricultural land within the Cape Town urban edge between 2002 and 2007. The agricultural potential of the developed land and the distribution of land uses are analysed to determine the impact of urban growth on urban agriculture. The research indicates that low-density residential development is still the major consumer of high-potential agricultural land within the Cape Town urban edge. Commercial, industrial and informal residential development has little impact on the loss of agricultural land. High-potential agricultural land is not sufficiently protected. Urban agriculture is limited by open competition with more profitable land uses such as residential development. Consequently, the paper argues for a flexible urban containment policy whereby high-potential agricultural land within the urban edge is reserved solely for agricultural production, while land with little agricultural potential outside the urban edge should be made available for future urban development.