chapter  11
10 Pages

Conclusion: Lessons from a Uniting City

For many in South Africa, Johannesburg is the test case of post-apartheid urban reconstruction. But the experience of Johannesburg also has wider significance for how we understand and respond to divided cities across the world. In the introductory chapters, we argued that the success or failure of efforts to manage complex urban change in Johannesburg constituted something of a litmus test for urban reconstruction in divided cities everywhere. In this concluding chapter, we make the point that, as a prerequisite for uniting divided cities more generally, it is important to understand and address not only the political but also the economic, social and demographic processes that shape individual cities. Furthermore, and fundamental to the task of uniting divided cities, there is a need to understand the challenges involved within historical and geographical contexts. The approach to understanding urban change that we have developed in this study simultaneously captures the dynamics of structure, institution and agency. The first task in this regard is to understand the particularities of context.