South Africa’s cities are exclusionary spaces where the combined influences of unchallenged market forces and an Apartheid past mean poor people are confined to urban peripheries. They are also places of great dynamism and have significant potential for development. This report uses statistical analysis and national spatial data on local unemployment rates and the distribution of jobs to investigate spatial mismatch in South Africa’s major urban centres. It finds that there is a significant relationship between physical proximity to jobs and local unemployment rates, which implies that housing located far away from job opportunities acts as a poverty trap. The state and city governments should proactively intervene in housing markets to provide well located and affordable housing for the poor. This will be central to dismantling the “Apartheid city”, and moving towards urban spatial justice. In addition to the report, we have published a longer technical report, which includes a more in-depth presentation of our method and results. The report was written by Joshua Budlender and Lauren Royston.
Authors and Publishers
SERI is a public interest legal services organisation that provides pro-bono assistance to communities through research, advocacy and litigation across three main themes: ‘Securing a Home’, ‘Making a Living’ and ‘Expanding Political Space’.