The State of South African Cities a Decade after Democracy

A. Boraine, O. Crankshaw, C. Engelbrecht, G. Gotz, S. Mbanga, M. Narsoo, S. Parnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Like other national urban policy documents, the State of the Cities Report 2004 affirms a vision of an inclusive non-racial city in which democracy is stable and development flourishes. But the 2004 report is different from preceding urban policy statements in a number of critical respects, not least that it is not a formal statement of government. In part, the relative autonomy of the Report’s sponsor, the South African Cities Network (a quango of state and non-state affiliates), explains its divergent analytical point of departure in the assessment of the state of the cities 10 years after democracy. The 2004 report is premised on the notion that changing the racial pattern of inequality hinges on systematic responses to the material forces, demographic, economic, environmental and institutional, that shaped the inherited apartheid city form. The 2004 report is also different from earlier government policy positions in that it argues that urban development is not just a site of national reconstruction and development, but that the urban question lies at the heart of achieving the national vision of a productive, democratic and non-racial society based on a vision of sustainable human settlements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-284
Number of pages25
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006


  • South Africa
  • urban inequality
  • urban policy
  • post-apartheid


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