Policy directions for spatial transformation and sustainable development: A case study of Polokwane City, South Africa





intermediate city, legislative policy directions, spatial transformation, sustainable development, South Africa


South African cities are faced with complex challenges of facilitating spatial transformation, in order to redress the negative spatial implications of the apartheid planning legacy. Efforts aimed at an improved understanding of the legislative policy contribution in respect of promoting sustainable urban development has been biased towards major cities at the expense of secondary, small medium-sized towns in the world. This article seeks to contribute to the debate on sustainable urban development by drawing empirical experiences on legislative policy directions for spatial transformation in Polokwane, an intermediate city in South Africa. A literature review method, underpinned by the pragmatic research paradigm, was adopted in this article. A database with a total of 116 documents was established from files collected during expert interviews and additional literature from Google, Google Scholar and library databases – EBSCOhost, JSTOR, Web of Science. Twenty-eight papers, dissertations, as well as legislative and policy framework plans were identified as relevant for review, through a thematic analysis approach guided by deductive reasoning. Lefebvre’s production of space theory, the spatial triad and discourse analysis constituted the theoretical framework in analysing Polokwane City’s legislative policy directions with respect to spatial transformation and sustainable urban development covering the period 1996-2016. Findings show that spatial transformation legislative policy systems play a framing role in Polokwane City, in terms of promoting urban containment as a practical sustainable urban form-making and shaping tool to ensure sustainable urban development. This resultant ‘desired and crafted’ urban form is implemented through strategic development areas, spatial targeting, housing development, densification, sustainable transport, greening, and smart city concept.


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How to Cite

Moffat, F. ., Chakwizira, J. ., Ingwani, E. ., & Bikam, P. . (2021). Policy directions for spatial transformation and sustainable development: A case study of Polokwane City, South Africa. Town and Regional Planning, 78, 46-64. https://doi.org/10.18820/2415-0495/trp78i1.4