Edgar Pieterse

Edgar Pieterse
University of Cape Town | UCT · African Centre for Cities

About

56
Publications
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1,594
Citations

Publications

Publications (56)
Book
Local government is at the forefront of development. In South Africa the ambitious policy objectives of post-apartheid reconstruction and development hinge on the successful creation of a democratic tier of government close to the people. An entirely new system of ‘developmental local government’ has thus been introduced. As is the case in many dev...
Book
Consolidating Developmental Local Government documents the dynamics of local government transformation and captures the key themes of the debates about policy options, lessons and key strategic decisions. These debates are aimed at ensuring that municipalities play a key role in creating more democratic, non-racial, equitable and sustainable commun...
Book
Full-text available
Case studies of metropolitan cities in nine African countries – from Egypt in the north to three in West and Central Africa, two in East Africa and three in Southern Africa – make up the empirical foundation of this publication. The interrelated themes addressed in these chapters – the national influence on urban development, the popular dynamics t...
Technical Report
Full-text available
What follows here is the Panel’s call for a global urban science. This call takes the three elements of this phrase in a different light from the often popular and at times unnuanced use if the terms. It is ‘global’ in a cosmopolitan sense as pertaining to and reaching out worldwide, irrespective of socio-economic status to the variety of urban con...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The report is an input into the The Nelson Mandela Initiative which has been described as "a multi-sector platform to investigate and develop strategies to overcome poverty and inequality". For a full account of the initiative please see http://www.mandelainitiative.org.za/ The full synthesis report of the initiative is available on http://www.mand...
Research
Full-text available
Africa’s cities are set to grow by nearly a billion people by 2050. Strategic leadership and planning by government leaders now can make the difference between those cities being dynamic, healthy, climate-resilient hubs driving nationwide prosperity, or sprawling, polluted, congested sites of poverty and insecurity. This working paper sets out the...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines African urban infrastructure and service delivery as an entry point for connecting African aspirations with the harsh developmental imperatives of urban management, creating a dialogue between scholarly knowledge and sustainable development policy aspirations. We note a shift to multi-nodal urban governance and highlight the sig...
Article
Urban governance has been thrust into the spotlight in the wake of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in September 2015. A number of the 17 goals assume strong urban governments with the requisite powers and financial capacities to restructure the functioning of regional economies so as to establish transition pathways...
Research
Full-text available
The starting point of this scoping report is that the rapid force of urbanisation is a powerful catalyst to advance all three aspects of a transition to sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – as set out in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. The task of identifying catalytic actions, setting priorities is not simple,...
Article
Advancing global urbanism depends upon making Africa's cities a more dominant part of the global urban narrative. Constructing a more legitimate research agenda for African cities, however, necessitates a repositioning of conventional modes of research. To achieve intellectual and political traction in what are typical African research conditions?w...
Article
Both the state and radical civil actors tend to perceive and define ordinary citizens in circumscribed ways; as rational actors who need to be persuaded through rational argument about why their participation is necessary for the democratic functioning of society. The assumption is that once people have been exposed to compelling arguments and ince...
Article
Edgar Pieterse offers a critique of the mainstream Brundtland inspired conception of sustainable cities. His alternative conceptual approach presents the critical dimensions of an alternative urban development framework. He looks at how three co-constitutive urban operating systems – infrastructural, economic and spatial – need to be transformed in...
Article
The purpose of this essay is to make a case for why a much more differentiated and complex theoretical approach to contemporary African urbanism is required. It builds on an important body of work that has emerged over the course of the past two decades that seeks to explicate and theorise the specificity of everyday practices of ordinary Africans...
Article
Full-text available
Attention to global and world cities has directed the field of urban studies to the significance of international and transnational processes in shaping city economies. This article evaluates these approaches, from a position off their maps. I argue that the circulation of these approaches in academic and policy realms adversely impacts on cities w...
Article
It is assumed in the article that the contemporary urban condition is marked by an increased pluralistic intensity in cities. Coupled to this shift in the nature of the urban context, one can also observe a proliferation of sites of political engagement and agency, some of which are formally tied to the various institutional forums of the state, an...
Article
Under conditions of globalization large cities present unique challenges for poverty reduction and the realization of rights. The urbanization of poverty also underscores the imperative of downscaling the emerging debate about the developmental state to the city scale. The arguments in this article start from the proposition that a universal rights...
Article
In the wake of Mumbai terror attacks one is forced to reflect on the nature and representation of urban violence across the global South. It is clear that only certain kinds of violence and upheaval warrant attention in the public domain as reflected in the world’s globalized media. This observation immediately forces one to consider the deafening...
Article
This is the second of two special issues in Progress in Planning exploring emerging research agendas in planning. It brings together scholars from diverse schools working on new areas of research and application in urban design and planning. Emergent research agendas include both novel areas of research and important shifts in the direction of a re...
Article
Full-text available
Across urban studies there is an increasing preoccupation with the forms of articulation that link a multiplicity of cities across a region often known as the ‘Global South’. How do cities such as Jakarta, São Paolo, Dakar, Lagos, Mumbai, Hanoi, Beirut, Dubai, Karachi, for example, take note of each other and engage in various transactions with eac...
Article
The boundary identified by Robinson between ‘urbanism’ and ‘developmental-ism’ will not be eliminated overnight. South African urban studies in all its hues are probably too set in its ways to make room for the kinds of imagining proposed in this paper. However, there are signs that scholars and artists in other fields will simply drag the ‘multipl...
Article
It is often lamented that South African cities are beset by interminable crises: segregation, inequality, fragmentation, violence, the Aids epidemic and so on. This lament is premised on the assumption that somehow urban challenges must be stabilised, brought under control through analytical or policy tools and then the ideals of urban integration...
Thesis
The 'apartheid city' was synonymous with extreme racial segregation and inequality. After the first democratic elections in April 1994, a range of new urban development policies were developed to deconstruct and re-build the apartheid city. These efforts unfolded under a policy discourse of urban integration. Spatial planning featured large in the...
Article
Good urban governance results in economic efficiency, social equity, gender-aware policies, overall sustainability and ultimately, improved living conditions of not only the urban poor but all city residents. […] Good urban governance is not merely a matter of efficient management; it also has political dimensions related to democracy, human rights...
Article
The post-election period in South Africa has been marked by trials for the NGO sector, in spite of its pivotal role in the anti-apartheid struggle. The article explores certain developments within the NGO sector, and between the NGOs and the government, to present tentative interpretations of these processes. A schematic background to the NGO secto...
Article
In spite of the dizzying speed of change and increased complexity in the wake of political, economic and cultural shifts at a global level, it is clear that urban social movements are potentially pivotal actors in forging a progressive political agenda. In South Africa the dimensions of these new challenges are presenting themselves with increasing...

Projects

Project (1)
Project
The NMI is "a university-led national endeavour in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation". It is a "a multi-sector platform to investigate and develop strategies to overcome poverty and inequality". For full details of this extensive project involving multiple researchers please see http://www.mandelainitiative.org.za/ The project's final report which synthesizes the research is available online at http://www.mandelainitiative.org.za/ My contribution to the research was a joint project with the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town which explored multiple intersecting facets of informality in the lives of the urban poor with a view to policy recommendations.