No other city in South Africa bears the scars of white minority rule as obviously and as self-consciously as Johannesburg, the place where the architects of racial segregation were the most deeply invested in implanting their vision of 'separate development' into the material fabric of society. Not surprisingly the city is also the place where this vision of racial exclusivity was the most bitterly contested in the popular struggles that eventually brought white rule to an end. Today, although a new generation of city builders has struggled to reinvent the city so as to reflect an alternative, more equitable politics that answers the basic needs of the urban poor, nevertheless the city remains deeply fractured, divided between two highly unequal and spatially disconnected worlds: one catering to the rich and another for those without regular work, without shelter, and forced to eke out a marginal existence. City of Extremes analyzes the relationship between the evolving urban form of Johannesburg after apartheid and present-day, boosterist, city-building efforts to create a qworld-classq African city. The book shows how property-holding elites and their affluent middle-class allies have been able to maintain privileged life styles despite persistent demands from below for redress of long-standing grievances. The metamorphosis of Johannesburg from the exemplary qapartheid cityq at the height of white minority rule has, Murray demonstrates, gone hand in hand with the emergence of new patterns of spatial inequality and new kinds of social exclusion, the result of city-building efforts that have partitioned the urban landscape into fortified qrenaissance sitesq of privatized luxury where affluent urban residents work and play - on one side - and impoverished spaces of confinement where the poor, the socially excluded, and the homeless are forced to survive on the other. Murray's analysis of this phenomenon is divided into three parts. Part 1 provides a historical context that reveals how real estate developers, corporate builders, and city planners have fostered an image of an aspiring global city, yet at the same time have produced spatial frictions that have disrupted the city's coherence, hollowed out its core, relied primarily on private transport rather than public transit, and left decaying inner-city slums. Part 2 examines the twin processes of fragmentation and polarization that have left the city with pockets of ostentatious wealth and other pockets of utter destitution. Murray shows how this process depends on the peculiar qualities of land values as marketable commodities, producing boom and bust cycles as builders compete to produce landmark structures but then feel required to insulate them from the nearby qmean streetsq by creating citadel-like office buildings and shopping enclaves. Part 3 then looks in detail at the creation of these new divisive spaces, what Murray calls qredoubts of commerceq that resemble nomadic fortresses connected by bridges and underground tunnels arising not as the result of impersonal market forces, but through the deliberate actions of key propertied stakeholders. The result, he shows, is a patchwork city of dispersed territorial enclaves that have not only reinforced existing inequalities and racial hierarchies, but have introduced new patterns of social exclusion that have further marginalized the black underclass and urban poor.These businesses range from spaza shops to crAuches, from cell phone repair to hairdressing sa- lons, and even butcheries and shabeens. The unsightly specter of makeshift structures in front of many of these houses bears witness to theanbsp;...
|Title||:||City of Extremes|
|Author||:||Martin J. Murray|
|Publisher||:||Duke University Press - 2011-06-20|