International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 1
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International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 1

Contentious Global Issues

Edited by H. S. Geyer

This first Handbook in a series of three original reference works looks at globally contentious urban policy issues from a wide variety of different angles and perspectives. Matters related to urban densification, population mobility, urban inequality and sustainability are analysed in a manner that will not only interest the advanced student but also the novice.
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Chapter 17: Urban Environmental Policy in Africa: The Real Story

F. Retief and N. Rossouw


F. Retief and N. Rossouw Introduction Africa, also referred to as the ‘cradle of man’, is a continent of extremes known for its political instability, poverty and poor governance, but also for its exceptional natural beauty and abundance of resources. The riches of Africa were highlighted by the Roman Plinius who introduced the saying, ‘Ex Africa semper aliquid novi’, which translates, ‘Always something new out of Africa’. As the title suggests, the main theme of this chapter deals with ‘urban environmental policy’ in Africa. In addressing this theme three aspects need to be acknowledged and clarified up front. First, the definition of ‘urban’ differs markedly between African countries. For example, in Uganda, a settlement with a population of more than a 100 is classified as urban, compared with Nigeria where a settlement needs to include a population of more than 20 000. Second, as is the case in South Africa, administrative boundaries and legislative functions also complicate urban boundaries, where the jurisdiction of local authorities covers both cities and large tracts of peri-urban and rural land. Third, ‘environmental policy’ is widely defined to include a range of different policy-level processes and interventions implemented within diverse institutional, legal and decision-making contexts. This makes ‘environmental policy’ an ambiguous term and generalizations around the topic virtually impossible due to differences in application. The main aim of this chapter is to introduce the theme of urban environmental policy in Africa and in particular to introduce the relevant...

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