Behind Inner City Renewal in South African cities
Funding period: 1 September 2016 – 30 November 2017
Type of funding: International Fellowship
Ruth is based at the Department of Geography, University of the Free State, South Africa and her research fellowship was based at the School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester under the Mentorship of Professor Kevin Ward. Her research aimed to investigate the role of the local state government in the renewal of South Africa’s inner cities through the lens of governmentality; an approach emphasising the analyses of practices and programmes that aim to form, lead and govern behaviour as well as the design capacity and technologies used in managing and directing the populace. Specifically, the research linked governmentality with South African inner city urban regeneration for the first time. Focusing on seven cities in South Africa – Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria – the research aimed to prove two hypotheses: (1) firstly, that the manifestation of the current governmentality in the inner city renewal is widening urban social inequality, fuelling social, political and economic instability in South African cities; (2) secondly, that the governmentality of the local state in its inner city renewal is creating an unsustainable urban base that in fact, ironically, undermines cities’ ambitions to become ‘World Class’.