The transformation of social space in the neighbourhood: Aspects of a case-study: Westdene, Bloemfontein
Keywords:transformation, social space, Bloemfontein, neighbourhood transformation, Westdene physical layout, Westdene social space
This paper deals with aspects of transformation of the local neighbourhood against the background of social space as articulated by Henri Lefebvre, the French philosopher and taxi driver. During 1994 a study based on Lefebvre’s spatial triad was undertaken in a neighbourhood known as Westdene, in Bloemfontein. Bloemfontein is a small metropolitan region dating to the midnineteenth century and is situated roughly in the centre of the Republic of South Africa. Westdene was established shortly after the turn of the century and directly to the west of the town centre. The study was prompted by the rapid transformation of the area, characterised by the destruction of whole city blocks, houses being converted into offices or razed by developers to erect townhouses and a parallel process of gentrification fuelled by a burgeoning heritage industry. The existing town planning controls appear to be unable to deal with this transformation, especially coupled to a rigid town planning scheme that needs to be changed continually and at great expense. This condition prevails in many, if not most, dynamic cities and towns all over the world and the issues pertinent to this local neighbourhood seem to offer the possibility of an alternative reading that could open other options in dealing with urban transformation.
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