Local-global influences on project-led urban renewal in Durban, South Africa
This chapter presents an account of urban regeneration which is framed by the broader contexts of transformation in South Africa, the global political economy and the dynamics of global urban change. The context of post-apartheid transition in South Africa has engendered an urban renewal process in which development imperatives for socio-economic transformation, improved economic growth, and increasing global competitiveness are central to the transformation of the urban landscape. An array of urban regeneration projects has been undertaken in Durban in the post-apartheid period with the intention of facilitating economic growth and improved quality of life in the city. Two public-private partnerships have played a significant role in the development of flagship urban renewal projects in Durban, namely: the Durban Growth Coalition and the eThekwini Municipality-Tongaat Hulett Joint Venture. Beginning with an outline of these public-private partnerships and their associated urban renewal projects, the discussion in this chapter highlights the adoption of discourses by actors in Durban’s public-private partnerships as a means of accommodating divergent development priorities within urban regeneration. Furthermore, central features of the projects emerging from the public-private partnerships are critically examined. Here, boosterist neo-liberal agendas are evident, even as they become articulated with locally derived pressures for socio-economic and spatial transformation of the post-apartheid city. By concentrating on these partnerships, and their discursive negotiation of urban development imperatives and their projects, this chapter offers insights into the articulation of both locally and globally derived development priorities within urban renewal.