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Trickle-out urbanism: are Johannesburg’s gated estates good for their poor neighbours?

Ballard, Richard, Jones, Gareth A. ORCID: 0000-0001-9844-4547 and Ngwenya, Makale (2021) Trickle-out urbanism: are Johannesburg’s gated estates good for their poor neighbours? Urban Forum, 32 (2). 165 - 182. ISSN 1015-3802

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s12132-021-09425-9


In 2015, the billionaire Douw Steyn launched a mixed-use megaproject 27 km north of downtown Johannesburg. Plans for Steyn City include 10,000 high-end residential units along with private hospitals, schools, a golf course, an equestrian centre and 2000 acres of parkland behind a 3-m-high perimeter wall. The launch attracted some critique in the media for the exclusive environment that the development sought to create, an ambition that seemed particularly incongruous given its close proximity to the poor settlement of Diepsloot. In response, the developers argued that the project had created more than 11,000 jobs and that wealthy people should invest close to places that need work and livelihood opportunities. This paper is based on interviews with workers who live in Diepsloot and travel each day into Steyn City to work for subcontractors building infrastructure, housing and social facilities. The empirical material shows that although these workers acknowledge the opportunity of employment, they are aware these jobs are uncertain, mostly low-skilled and insufficient to cover the basic costs of everyday life in Diepsloot.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors, under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2021 13:03
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 04:27

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