chapter  5
Avoiding encounters with poverty
Aesthetics, politics and economics in a privileged neighbourhood of Cape Town
ByNick Schuermans, Manfred Spocter
Pages 22

This chapter focuses on the motivations behind the privatization of public land, the fortification of the boundary between public and private spaces and the increased control over public spaces in a privileged neighbourhood of Cape Town. The aspiration to produce and reproduce material and economic privilege under the form of real estate values is, therefore, an important driver behind the increased surveillance of public space. In this context, many researchers are worried that the voluntary segregation of the most privileged sections of society inhibits face-to-face encounters with poverty and diversity. The fear of depreciating real estate values is based on the persuasion that potential buyers prefer to live in a neighborhood where they do not encounter underprivileged people. In letters to the city council, applicants forwarded different reasons to close off a piece of public land. These ranged from landscape aesthetics and fire hazards to house extensions and town planning anomalies.