An assessment of practitioners opinions on the principle of spacial resilience
Barnes, Anthony Peter
MetadataShow full item record
Colonial and apartheid planning left a legacy of rigid, control-oriented, top-down spatial planning and land use management and fragmented and inequitable settlements. Despite many policies and the interim Development Facilitation Act of 1995, it was only in 2013 that a new Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) was enacted creating a single national framework of for spatial planning and land use management in South Africa. This statute heralds a move from a rule-based approach to a normative, principle based approach to spatial planning and land use management. SP LUMA lays down five development principles which form the foundation of the new national spatial planning, land development and land use management system. Spatial Resilience - a new South African construct - is one of the five development principles. Spatial resilience does not enjoy a theoretical foundation of its own; rather it is intimately associated with the theory of resilience and both the broad concept of resilience and the narrower concept of urban resilience. With increased uncertainty and unpredictability of what the future holds, the concept of resilience, and resilience thinking, is a potential tool to deal with constant change, uncertainty and unpredictability providing a way of thinking about managing socioecological systems such as urban systems. Urban settlements, towns and cities are complex socio-ecological constructs, thus demanding an evolutionary or socioecological approach to resilience in building their adaptive capacity and resilience. Spatial resilience within the broader context of SPLUMA should thus be seen as an important contributor to achieving urban resilience and broader societal re silience. It is a way of thinking about how the spatial planning and land use management system can deal with change by adapting, innovating and transformin g, where needed, into more desirable configuration s. This study employed a cross-sectional survey methodology, to assess the opinions of professionals and practitioners within the spatial planning and land use management and development planning sector in the Western Cape on their understanding of spatial resilience and its implementation. Of the one hundred and twenty-three (123) questionnaires emailed to potential respondents based on purposive sampling, fifty (50) responses were returned. The questionnaire was a self-completing survey questionnaire with twenty-one (21) questions of which just on half were open-ended and the remainder were structured yes or no questions. The findings indicate that while there is no clear consensus amongst respondents on what the concept or principle of spatial resilience is or what it entails, there is agreement that spatial resilience is generally not well understood in South African society as a whole and particularly within the broader spatial and development planning sector, that South African settlements on the overall, even though there are pockets of excellence, are not resilient. Furthermore, there are concerns with regard to the knowledge, skill, expertise and will of both the politicians and professional planners to implement a spatial resilience approach and the will of all three spheres of government to the implementation of a spatial resilience approach. The study concludes by making a variety of recommendations to address the various conclusions.