The responsiveness of town planning to urban agriculture in low-income neighbourhoods : a case study of Kwa-Mashu in Durban, South Africa.
Magidimisha, Hangwelani Hope.
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Urban agriculture in South Africa has been historically labelled as an illegal activity. This has been compounded by the traditional planning system in South Africa that did not recognise urban agriculture as part of the land use in the urban landscape. However despite its illegality, current evidence shows that it is commonly practised by many poor households in developing countries. There is growing evidence that most countries are gradually seeing the value of urban agriculture among poor households and to this end, they are beginning to realise the importance of incorporating it in their urban policy packages. Despite this recognition and acceptance of urban agriculture as a livelihood and food security strategy among the urban poor, little attention is paid to it. This research examines urban agriculture from a purely spatial planning perspective by way of elaborating on the spatial allocation of land for urban agriculture. The focus of the research is on identifying the factors that explain the unresponsiveness of the town planning system and challenges that confront urban farmers with the intention to suggest alternatives. At the core of the town planning system, are legislations and policies. Despite these irresponsive legislations such as NEMA and Health Act which hinder the practice of urban agriculture along sensitive areas such as river banks and road reserves urban agriculture continues to flourish. Regardless of minimal support from local authority the research findings show that the practise of agriculture is a common phenomenon among urban poor. The onus is therefore on the local authorities to promote it by putting in place mechanisms that should promote its growth and integrate it into mainstream development plans.
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