Quantifying the spatial implications of future land use policies in South Africa. Reshaping a city through land use modelling.
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Land use policies have a definite and lasting impact on the way that cities grow, however, the change in land use only gets observed many years later. As such, it is difficult for policy and decision makers to observe and quantify the implications of their land use policies and strategies and what it might or might not mean for a city’s landscape a decade or more from now. Johannesburg is a case in point with many of the previous apartheids policies resulting in a city that is characterised by low densities, long commuter times and stark income and social inequalities (specifically between the northern and southern parts of the city). The South African government has stressed that bold policies and interventions need to be implemented to reshape the spatial inequalities of the past. This research study sets out to investigate the consequences of the city’s proposed policies. The Dyna-Clue model was used to compare the spatial impact of two different scenarios, thus answering the question whether the proposed policies will restore the city’s inequality by the year 2030. The first scenario labelled the ‘As-IS Scenario’ assumes unconstraint spontaneous growth that continues along the same trajectory as the past decade while the second ‘Policy-Led Scenario’ looks at the implementation of land use policies and strategies that will restrict growth, densify transport corridors and invest in low cost housing in accessible locations. The results of these two scenarios are evaluated based on a set of indicators to test which scenario produces the best outcome given the high rate of urbanisation and migration predicted for the city. The results are based on the two scenarios’ influences on 1. Spatial inequality, 2. Density patterns and 3. Commuter distances. It became clear within the study that if the government continues along the same trajectory as the past decade (AS-IS scenario) that the city will be inundated with informality by 2030. The city will see increased levels of spatial income inequality by providing more economic opportunities to already wealthy northern suburbs while restricting the bulk of the lower-income households to the southern parts of the city. The city will continue to be characterised by low densities and a large sprawled extent. Adopting the governments proposed policies positively influences the unequal provision of economic opportunities by providing more economic opportunities to the southern suburbs of the city. Implementing densification corridors and restricting development outside the urban development boundary will see a 14% reduction in urban extent and an increase of 3 dwelling units per hectare compared to the AS-IS scenario. The vast amount of lower-income households will still dominate the southern half of Johannesburg and even with this drastic policy intervention segregation in both the southern and northern parts of Johannesburg will stay evident.