The issue of urban sprawl has been discussed extensively in planning circles over the past two decades. The result of sprawled cities is far-reaching. Some see it is a major contributor to air pollution and traffic congestion and it encourages development on prime agricultural land and floodplains. Others discuss the monetary implications of sprawl calculating costs of infrastructure, fuel and the time spent traveling. In South Africa, major urban areas have one important feature in common with this North American, Australian and British phenomenon- that urban growth has taken the form of dispersed residential accretion at the city edge, however, the reasons for sprawling urban areas in South Africa can be attributed to an intricate and complicated cultural and political history. Following a unique situation in South African urban areas, the Gauteng Provincial Government recognised the growing pressure to rectify the situation in order to achieve a more equitable urban environment to all its citizens. One of the initiatives proposed was the containment of urban growth inside the Province. The idea of a more compact urban environment held the promise of increased accessibility to urban opportunities, greater viability of public transport, as well as environmental advantages. Together with its three metropolitan municipalities, Gauteng province proved to be pioneer in initiating and implementing an “Urban Growth Management” approach (The Gauteng Urban Edge) in its urban areas, however, this approach remains widely debated and controversial throughout planning circles in South Africa. The study explores the reasons and rationales underpinning the implementation of a growth management approach as gathered from international literature, and whether these reasons were in fact informing the Gauteng Provincial government’s reasons for initiating an urban edge. It also considers the different tools and mechanisms available for urban growth management and how these tools and mechanisms and their respective objectives informed the idea behind an urban edge specifically. The study further reviews the opinions and ideas of role-players who were involved in delineating and implementing the urban edge and based on these factors, attempts to draw some conclusions on what could possibly have improved the process of initiating and implementing the Gauteng Urban Edge. Copyright
Dissertation (MT&RP)--University of Pretoria, 2009.