The activist planning, transformation and complexity nexus : implications for the Atlantis Revitalisation Framework of 2012

Manguwo, Liveson (2020-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : This case study explores a collaborative planning process that led to the formulation of the Atlantis Revitalisation Framework (ARF) of 2012. The study is based on a thematic content review and analysis of secondary data in the public sphere, personal notes and reflections that were collected during and after the policy framework was established. Atlantis was established in 1975 to accommodate the coloured community 45 km outside the City of Cape Town (CoCT) in line with apartheid planning policy of racial segregation. After losing state subsidies, the socioeconomic plight of Atlantis deteriorated markedly between 1994 and 2009 resulting in job losses and high unemployment. This economic decline triggered negative social issues, such as poverty, food insecurity, crime, gang activities, drug abuse and domestic violence. Multi-stakeholder agencies in Atlantis collectively initiated a rescue strategy to address the economic downturn that worsened during the 2008/9 Global Economic Recession. To clearly understand the nuances, actions, events and decisions that led to the establishment of the ARF, the study explores the potentially ‘transformative’ insights from complexity theory and activist modes of planning with a bias towards human-rights-based planning. These insights are then applied as lenses in the analysis of the ARF case study. To establish the ‘nexus’ meaning interconnectedness between activist planning, transformation and complexity, the study looks at the history of positivist planning systems and maps out the justifications and conditions used in its pervasive legitimation thereof. Using complexity theory as a lens, the study reviews the constraints and wicked problems that planning faces. It explores the intricate links tying open planning sub-systems into large networks that interact dynamically, often along non-linear routes. It also highlights the challenge of wicked problems and the global sustainable development poly-crisis. It demonstrates the difficulty of predicting future events; of dealing with vested interests and conflicts of values; of managing the complex interrelationships and interaction of decisions made at different scales, in different policy spheres, and at different points in time. These challenges expose the inability of traditional planning approaches to adequately respond to the growing needs and lived experiences of expanding urban populations, particularly those in the Global South, and specifically those that are marginalised and excluded. Using the concept of ‘transformation’, which entails greater sensitivity towards complexity, contextual reality and indeterminacy in the pursuit of quality engagements that are legitimate, epistemologically empowering, inclusive, transparent, and geared towards relationship building, the study proposes a rethink of planning practices in the Global South and in South Africa specifically. It argues that such a rethink requires a shift in the institutional and governance arrangements of the state and civil society. Using the transformative insights gleaned from activist modes of planning, the study outlines evaluative criteria that was used in the analysis of the Atlantis case study. The evaluative criteria revealed what the planning issues were, including their historical links to segregatory planning policies of the apartheid regime. It identified the geographic isolation of Atlantis as a negative factor inhibiting its ability to function in sync with the CoCT’s regional economy. These complex issues prompted an activist reaction from multiple local stakeholders. Through the Atlantis Socio-Economic (ASED) task team, they collectively initiated an adversarial planning process, highlighting the development of new institutional and governance configurations which challenged existing power relations and interests. Though not entirely transformative and critically reflective, the activist planning approach employed by ASED was forward-looking and adaptive. It involved multiple actors which transformed the existing governance systems and frameworks. A new governance regime called the Atlantis Stakeholder Assembly (ASA) was created as a vehicle through which planning issues were discussed. The ASA the newly established Inter-governmental Steering Committee (CoCT, Provincial Government of Western Cape (PGWC) and the National Government produced the final ARF. This policy framework led to the implementation of the Atlantis business rescue strategy, the establishment of the Green industrial hub, job training and reskilling of the local workforce, and access to industrial land being expedited. However, when the politically charged ASED task team was disbanded and replaced by the ASA some of the incentives for transformation, as pushed for by the activists, were diminished. The ASA lacked agency, political muscle and influence and it also lacked legislative recognition, as it had no decisive power to set the substantive agenda, timing, and debates regarding the developmental issues in Atlantis. This transition reversed the seemingly transformative governance reform championed by ASED that had the potential to ensure democratic accountability. The move allowed the technical stuff from the CoCT and PGWC to dominate the planning process and give direction to the ASA within the economic and political constraints of the CoCT.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie gevallestudie kyk na ‘n gesamentlike beplannings proses wat gelei het tot die formulering van die Atlantis Vernuwing Raamwerk van 2012. Die studie is gebaseer op beoordeling van tematiese inhoud en analise van sekondêre data in die publieke gebied, persoonlike notas en refleksies wat versamel was gedurende en nadat die beleidsraamwerk bevestig was. Atlantis was bevestig in 1975 om die kleurling gemeenskap te akkommodeer, sowat 45 km buite Kaapstad, in lyn met apartheid en rasseskeiding. Nadat die dorpie sy staat subsidies verloor het, het die sosioekonomiese toestand verswak tussen 1994 en 2009 met die gevolg tot ‘n verhoging in werkloosheid en werksbetrekking. Die ekonomiese afname het gelei tot negatiewe sosiale probleme soos armoede, voedsel-onsekerheid, misdaad, bende aktiwiteite, dwelmmisbruik en huishoudelike geweld. Multi-belanghebbende agentskappe van Atlantis het gesamentlik ‘n waarsku strategie begin om die ekonomiese afname aan te spreek wat vergerger het gedurende die 2008/9 Wêreldwye Ekonomiese Resessie. Om die nuanse, aksies, gebeure en besluite wat gelei het tot die vestiging van die ARF duidelik te verstaan, die studie ondersoek die potensiaale ‘transformerende’ insigte van kompleksiteitsteorie en aktivistiese modusse van beplanning met ‘n vooroordeling wat gebaseer is teenoor menseregte-gebaseerde beplanning. Hierdie insigte is dan toegepas as lense in die ontleding van die ARF gevallestudie. Om die 'nexus' betekenisverwantskap tussen aktivistiese beplanning, transformasie en kompleksiteitsteorie te bepaal, kyk die geskiedenis na die geskiedenis van positivistiese beplanning stelsels en word die regverdigings en voorwaardes wat gebruik word in die omvattende legitimering daarvan, gekarteer. Met behulp van kompleksiteitsteorie as 'n lens, word die beperkinge en slegte probleme waarmee die beplanning te kampe het, ondersoek. Dit ondersoek die ingewikkelde skakels wat oopbeplanning subsisteme in groot netwerke verbind wat dinamies is, dikwels deur nie-lineêre roetes. Dit beklemtoon ook die uitdaging van goddelose probleme en die poli-krisis vir volhoubare ontwikkeling wêreldwyd. Dit demonstreer die probleme om toekomstige gebeure te voorspel; die hantering van gevestigde belange en botsing van waardes; die bestuur van die ingewikkelde onderlinge verwantskappe en interaksie tussen besluite wat op verskillende skale geneem word, in verskillende beleidsterreine en op verskillende tydpunte. Hierdie uitdagings ontbloot die onvermoë van tradisionele beplanning om voldoende te reageer op die groeiende behoeftes en beleefde ervarings van die uitbreiding van stedelike bevolkings, veral dié in die globale suide, en spesifiek dié wat gemarginaliseer en uitgesluit word. Die gebruik van die konsep 'transformasie', wat 'n groter sensitiwiteit vir kompleksiteit, kontekstuele werklikheid en onbepaaldheid behels in die strewe na kwaliteitsverbintenisse wat wettig, epistemologies bemagtigend, inklusief, deursigtig en gerig is op die opbou van verhoudings, stel 'n heroorweging van beplanningspraktyke voor spesifiek die globale Suide en in Suid-Afrika. Dit argumenteer dat so 'n heroorweging 'n verandering in die institusionele en bestuursreëlings van die staat en die burgerlike samelewing vereis. Met behulp van die transformatiewe insigte wat van aktivistiese beplanningswyses gesif is, word die evalueringskriteria uiteengesit wat gebruik is in die analise van die Atlantisgevallestudie. Die evalueringskriteria het aan die lig gebring wat die beplannings kwessies was, insluitend hul historiese bande met die apartheidsregime se segregatoriese beplanningsbeleid. Dit het die geografiese isolasie van Atlantis geïdentifiseer as 'n negatiewe faktor in die vermoë om sinchroniseer met die streekekonomie van die CoCT. Hierdie ingewikkelde kwessies het gelei tot 'n aktivistiese reaksie van verskeie plaaslike belanghebbendes. Deur die Atlantis Sosio-Economiese (ASED) taakspan het hulle gesamentlik 'n kontroversiële beplanningsproses begin, met die klem op die ontwikkeling van nuwe institusionele en bestuurs konfigurasies wat bestaande magsverhoudinge en belange uitgedaag het. Alhoewel dit nie heeltemal transformatief en krities reflektief was nie, was die aktivistiese beplanningsbenadering wat deur ASED gebruik is, vooruitskouend en aanpasbaar. Dit het verskeie akteurs betrek wat die bestaande bestuurstelsels en kaders omskep het. ‘n Nuwe bestuurstelsel genaamd die ‘Atlantis Stakeholder Assembly’ (ASA) is geskep as 'n voertuig waardeur beplannings-aangeleenthede bespreek is. ASA en die nuutgestigte interregerings-bestuurskomitee (CoCT, Wes-Kaapse Provinsiale Regering (PGWK) en die nasionale regering) het die finale ARF opgelewer. Hierdie beleidsraamwerk het gelei tot die implementering van die Atlantisbesigheids-reddingsstrategie, die totstandkoming van die ‘Green Industrial Center’, werksopleiding en hervestiging van die plaaslike arbeidsmag, en toegang tot nywerheidsgrond is ook bespoedig. Toe die polities gelaaide ASED-taakspan egter ontbind en deur ASA vervang is, het sommige van die aansporings vir transformasie, soos deur die aktiviste aangevuur, verminder. ASA het nie agentskap, politieke spiere en invloed gehad nie. Dit het ook nie wetgewende erkenning gehad nie, dit het geen beslissende mag om die wesenlike agenda, tydsberekening en debatte rakende die ontwikkelingskwessies in Atlantis op te stel nie. Hierdie oorgang het die oënskynlike transformerende regerings-hervorming omgekeer wat deur ASED voorgestaan is en wat demokratiese aanspreeklikheid moontlik gemaak het. Die skuif het die tegniese dinge van die CoCT en PGWC toegelaat om die beplanningsproses oor te neem en rigting te gee aan ASA binne die ekonomiese en politieke beperkings van die CoCT.

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