The distance between Johannesburg and Nelspruit is approximately 300 kilometer. The aforementioned lies in Guateng Province – the smallest yet wealthiest province in South Africa – while Nelspruit is the capital city of Mpumalanga Province (meaning “the place of the rising sun”), home to scenic spots, wildlife and the Kruger National Park. The N4 Highway runs Eastwards from Jo’burg and connects both cities while cutting through farmlands, factories, mountains and villages. Snapshots from a scenic roadtrip.
An interesting article from 2003, by Michael Barry, called ‘Periurban Tenure Management in South Africa’ (pdf alert!) explains, taking the case-study of the development of Nelspruit, the three different occupation patterns in South Africa’s peri-urban areas:
These are small holding areas unaffected by informal settlement, areas with informal settlements and low cost housing estates, and those areas where there is an overlap of traditional and elected authority in governing certain areas of land. Typical of most the urban edge itself the boundaries between these zones are often fuzzy.
In the past we’ve been documenting and writing about our fascination for the peri-urban condition in the Chinese context.
In ‘Moving Cities: Life on the New Frontier‘, the analysis departs from John Friedmann’s definition of it in ‘China’s Urban Transition’ (GoogleBooks): “peri-urban areas – that is, rural district on the edges of larger cities that are gradually becoming absorbed into the urban grid.”
While in China, the development of the peri-urban environment leads to a full architectural absorption of these areas into the urban fabric, it seems that in South Africa, according to Michael Barry, agriculture is what keeps these areas in state of independence and transition:
Prior to democracy in 1994, outside of the homelands, rural and urban areas were managed and administered independently in South Africa. Relevant policy and legislation were fragmented. The periurban zone was at the boundary of urban and rural administrative authorities, and so it was seldom managed as a transition zone between urban and rural systems. (…) South Africa has developed the legal and institutional framework to manage the peri-urban zone in a manner that promotes mixed land use with agriculture predominating.
Pictures by movingcities.org