Remaking an Apartheid City: State-Led Spatial Transformation in Durban, South Africa


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




What can democratic states with will and capacity do to redress the spatial legacies of severe inequality? This dissertation uses GIS, spatial analysis, and qualitative field work to examine post-apartheid South Africa’s state-led efforts to transform urban spatial structures of racial exclusion. Durban, home to the largest port in Southern Africa and one of the three largest South African cities, is the test case for the potentials and limits of the local state planning model: spatial transformation through public investment in infrastructure and services. Data for the analysis come from the 1985, 1996, and 2001 South African censuses, city departmental data on infrastructure and services, and local key informant interviews.