Deconstructing density: strategic dilemmas confronting the post-apartheid city
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Public authorities in many countries around the world are seeking to raise urban densities. Residential densification is particularly important in South Africa because of the colonial and apartheid legacy of sprawling, fragmented, racially divided cities. This paper examines the case for densifying central Cape Town and provides a framework to help deconstruct the concept and explore some of the policy challenges faced. It focuses on the bold aim to treble the area's population within 10 years, and identifies issues where further consideration and public debate are required for how this can be achieved in a way that is desirable, affordable and fair. A key message is the need to understand both the composition of demand for central city living and the challenges involved in supplying suitable housing and amenities at higher densities. The level of social inequality in the city poses greater complications than elsewhere.