Public open space policy for Durban and surroundings : is it sustainable?
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This thesis provides an overview of the public open space policy for Durban and surroundings. The focus of the research is the sustainability of the open space policy with special emphasis on the integration of the natural environment, social aspects and economic factors within the open space system itself. Through this dissertation an attempt was made to ascertain to what extent the Open Space Policy of the Durban Metropolitan Area is sustainable. In order to achieve this it was necessary to specifically consider the status quo of the current open space policies internationally and locally with emphasis on the ecologically orientated Durban Metropolitan Open Space System. More appropriate public open space within the natural environment and urban context was considered, especially in respect of social needs and the aspirations and perceptions of communities with regards parks, sports fields, play areas, community areas, urban agriculture and natural areas. Social aspects, such as public participation and education, and economic implications were also investigated and considered. In order to locate this work theoretically and contextually, current planning theory and sustainable development was analysed. In addition existing policies, initiatives and strategies responsible for shaping development and consequently the local public open space policy in the Durban Metropolitan area were investigated. The dissertation argues that the success of a 'sustainable' policy is ultimately based in collaborative planning and implementation as well as appropriate management of the system. Current theory pertaining to sustainable management in the form of private / public partnerships was investigated and tested through selected case studies in Westville and Clermont. This dissertation concludes that sustainability is a process and that the public open space policy of the Durban Metropolitan Area, although attempting to achieve overall sustainability requires to address specifically, social needs and more appropriate collaborative planning and management strategies. Broad strategies to achieve this were considered and guidelines for a more sustainable public open space were proposed.