A study of the decentralised business nodes of the post-apartheid city of Durban : toward a new business district as part of the greater Durban business system.
This dissertation revolves around the topic of office decentralisation. The literature review chapter first discusses a systems approach to planning, and how it is the relationships between the objects within a system that makes the system as a whole useful. This chapter also discusses theories relating to city planning with reference to Kevin Lynch in terms of city elements as well as city planning typologies. Edmund Bacon’s theory of how movement systems of cities become powerful forces in terms of how the city is used and viewed is also discussed. Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City concept is discussed due to its intentional decentralisation but also for the manner in which nodes are linked. New Urbanism is touched on because many sprawling cities are turning this type of development in attempt to reduce the outward push of low density developments. Seeing that Apartheid city planning was informed by Modernist city planning, both of these concepts are looked at critically in relation to one another. This is to form the background on what impact office decentralisation has had on South African cities, and whether the locations of such decentralised office nodes have been in the correct locations in order to provide access to jobs to those who were marginalised during the years of Apartheid. With this background, office decentralisation is discussed in general, touching on office building typologies, the effect transportation technologies had on city planning, what causes office decentralisation, and the issue of office decentralisation in South African cities. Examples of how office decentralisation has been used as urban renewal projects have been discussed because it is of the opinion of the author that this needs to occur more often, especially in South Africa. Precedent studies of three cities which have undergone office decentralisation have been discussed in the next chapter. One is a South African city; one is another African city; and one an international city. This chapter discusses briefly their past, and the issues decentralisation is causing for the cities, as well as their solutions to the issues. Durban is used as a case study in the next chapter where decentralised office nodes have been identified and analysed. The challenges this decentralisation brings to the city are then discussed and possible solutions drawn from the abovementioned precedent studies have been suggested. These solutions were tested in a questionnaire which was sent to a selected group of working people. The results of which are discussed and analysed in chapters 5.
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