Urban management and regeneration in contested spaces : an examination of the development processes within a large scale inner-city regeneration project in South Africa, using Newtown Cultural Precinct, Johannesburg, as case study .
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Urban landscapes have become the dominant form ofliving environments around the world. It is now estimated that over half the world's population live in a city or urban landscape, with this figure constantly increasing (World Bank Group; 2005). Cities now dominate as economic, social and political hubs, featuring as the central core for essential functions of daily life. Because of the prominence and the ever-increasing importance cities play, they have become focal sites for future developmental interventions and opportunities. The dominance of urban living has brought with it both positive and negative consequences, as cities are the sites of great growth opportunities, but also of dire poverty and inequality challenges. Inner cities generally feature as the central focal area of urban environments, the core region of the city, and as a consequence of numerous impacting factors, are increasingly exhibiting compounded difficulties. Cities in both the North and the developing South are increasingly being placed at the front line in the international developmental arena, as sites for potential improvement and beneficial welfare. This is evident in the campaigns lead by most prominent international development agencies concentrating on urban populations and problems. They are priority sites for the eradication of growing challenges such as poverty and inequality, and for enhancing developmental opportunities. Due to the sheer number ofproblems and complicated interactions, it is increasingly evident that cities are complex entities in need of effective, efficient, equitable management and development. These are the main issues explored throughout this research. The concerns will be viewed from an international perspective, looking at current trends and debates, as well as a more detailed investigation into how they play out in the South Africa urban context. The research makes use of a case study example, Newtown Cultural Precinct in Johannesburg, to examine nuanced, localised urban complexities and possible regeneration strategies to counter them. The aim is to explore concerns and issues within a specific case study example and examine what implications these understandings may offer for other urban contexts. Numerous key findings and important conclusions were reached through the case study investigations, which hold vital lessons for future inner city regeneration projects, as well as issues pertinent to dynamic and changing urban environments.