Is urbanisation in South Africa on a sustainable trajectory?
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Urbanisation is an important but contested process because of its far-reaching social, economic and environmental implications. The paper explores the relationship between urbanisation and living conditions in South Africa over the last decade. The central question addressed is whether population growth in the main cities has been accompanied by improved living standards, housing and public services. One finding is that employment growth has tended to coincide with demographic trends, which is necessary to reduce poverty. In addition, the provision of urban infrastructure has outstripped population growth, resulting in better access
to essential services and reduced backlogs. In contrast, the provision of affordable housing has not kept pace with household growth, so more people than ever are living in shacks. A more comprehensive assessment is required before one can be sure that urbanisation is on a sustainable trajectory.
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