An analysis of local authorities and property developers’ relations shaping spatial change in Cape Town and Johannesburg

A PhD project by Inken Oldsen-thor Straten and supervised by Dr Paula Meth and Dr Glyn Williams.


Though spatial policies aim at spatial transformation to integrate segregated areas and increase urban densities, property developments have (re)produced spatial inequalities in post-apartheid South Africa. The relationships between local authorities and developers have implications for policy outcomes but are under-researched. The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act of 2013 meant to reduce the influence of political economic interests on decision-making. The relationships need to be studied now to see the effects of an Act that has altered these relationships.

The PhD project examines how local authorities’ relationships with developers shape policy outcomes in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It explores the experiences of various municipal officials and developers’ teams in the decision-making regarding development projects, to provide an understanding of the implications of these relationships for realising spatial policy goals.

This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and The University of Sheffield, and is running from October 2020 to October 2023.