1. IntroductionThis assignment is about the right to the city idea which is a slogan that was first proposed by Henri Lefebvre in his 1968 book Le Droit la ville and that has been reclaimed more recently by community movements in many countries including South Africa, The original idea was not to implement a new level of institutionalized human rights, but to plan for some framework for a utopia of urban social struggles, which as it appeared from this perspective of planning could not be protected by traditional concepts like class struggles alone.
But it remains significant as a theoretical proposal for understanding the urban social movements which turned to become a political slogan in some Latin American movements and debates from a years ago, such a plan had to respect that urban life in the world is rather diverse and therefore the conditions for struggles and concrete demands will not be meet easily. Due to the discriminations formed by the speedy increase of world urban residents in most counties of the world, the idea of the right to the city has been mentioned on a number of events since the publication of Lefevbre’s book as a call to act by community movements and popular system of government.
In their appeal for their right to the city, since everyone has a right to access the city. Local movements around South Africa usually refer to their struggle for social justice and a dignified access to urban life face to growing urban inequalities especially in large metropolitan like Cape Town, eThekwini.
2. The Application of Lefebvre Right to the city idea in South AfricaSince 1994 South Africa has been trying, in many ways to achieve a better sense in the planning development context within its urban spaces. Nevertheless, the majority of strategies that have been followed have been relatively unsuccessful, badly technocratic , and lacking in terms of funding from either government officials or communities. The Right to the City which was proposed by Lefebvre has been progressively noticeable in the discourse of international system of government, national and city governments in many countries and the organizing of civil society and social movements across the world. That is why the South African government have national, provincial and local spheres in order to manage the country in a more strategic manner. The right to the city has been used to emphasize the full strategy of rights that urban citizens should be able to claim, the importance of truly Democratic processes of planning and decision-making which is a bottom up approach in planning, and the need for social solutions to been discussed formally in a form of meetings with relevant officials. A National Discussion about the Right to the City in a South African Context’ was held on 10 November 2011 to generate opportunities for government councils, civil community organizations and organizations within the urban poor begin to jointly explore same challenges and opportunities that is delaying the development of South African cities.3. Popular Movements related to the right to the city in South Africa. In relations of unpacking Lefebvre’s script and placing it in the South African contect, it was surprising to see how a particular shack dwellers’ movement in South Africa Abahlali baseMjondolo’ has been suggesting the right to the city in a Lefebvrian sense. The movement’s significant demand is for Land & Housing in the City’ but it has also positively campaigned and fought in the forced removals of residents and for access to education and the provision of basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation, health care and refuse removal as well as bottom up planning approach, for example, the importance that Lefebvre places on the development of dwelling and, with all its conflicts, his claim that roles should be reversed in the production that informs planning decisions. All these components are deeply rooted in Abahlali baseMjondolo’s own values. These vows have motivated the movement, since its founding in 2005, to take part in very difficult or often life threatening campaign which are demanding rights to the city. Richard Pithouse, who works closely with South African shack dwellers movements, wrote about the very long history of their part in the struggle for the right to access the city. In post-apartheid South Africa, the continuing urban repression and the state’s inability to overcome the highest urban unfairness on the country, means that the shack dwellers continued struggle for city rights must continue. A number of common movements, which are related to the shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa includes the Right to the City Alliance in the United States, a network of squatters, tenants and artists in Hamburg, and various movements in Asia and Latin America all this movements have used the idea of the right to the city by Lefebvre in their struggles.4. Right to the City CriticismThe growing status of the concept has however raised some criticism and concerns on how the original vision of Lefebvre could be reduced to a citizenship vision, focused on the basic implementation of community and financial rights in the city leaving aside its transformation nature and the concept of social conflict that will take place within the city. Marcelo Lopes de Souza has for instance argued that as the right to the city has become fashionable these days, the value of this has often been the trivialization and dishonesty of Lefebvre’s concept and called for fidelity to the original essential meaning of the idea. The reality of informal settlements and other forms of unauthorized low income dwelling in South African cities, and the frustrations that manifest in street targeted disruptions to the functioning of the city. According to eThekwini City Manager Dr. Michael Sutcliffe, the essence of the tensions between Abahlali baseMjondolo and the City lie in the fact that the movement “rejects the authority of the city5. Conclusion In closing the National Roundtable, Mirjam van Donk noted that the place of a Right to the City agenda in South Africa had been strongly asserted by participants ” either as an opportunity to continue to improve the formulation and design of legislation, policy and governmental institutions, or as a call to shift the way in which the state and its citizens interact in the development of South African cities. The pursuit of a Right to the City approach to development will require the building of capacity within the state, civil society and poor communities of the soft skills’ that lie at the heart of community building, participation and conflict resolutionReferencesPurcell, Mark (October 2002). “Excavating Lefebvre: The right to the city and its urban politics of the inhabitant”. GeoJournal, Special Issue: Social Transformation, Citizenship, and the Right to the City. 58 (2″3): 99″108Unger, Knut (14 February 2009). “”Right to the City” as a response to the crisis: “Convergence” or divergence of urban social movements? Reclaiming Spaces. Archived from the original on 10 March 201211. Abahlali_3 (17 January 2013). “S’bu Zikode & Richard Pithouse debating Pallo Jordan on the Record of the ANC ” Oslo, 22 November 2012″. abahlali.org. Abahlali baseMjondolo. (Campaigns and Statements on The Right to the City.)
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