Innovation or anchor strategy?: city-campus inner city regeneration in East London-Buffalo City

SOURCE: Anchored in place: rethinking higher education and development in South Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Bank, F.Sibanda
SOURCE EDITOR(S): L.Bank, N.Cloete, F.van Schalkwyk
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10619
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/12900

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This chapter explores the city-campus dynamic in East London's inner city in the light of international experiences, and investigates the place-based opportunities for higher education institutions to play a more instrumental role in shaping the built environment and economic profile in a struggling former industrial city, such as East London. Indeed, in the same period as thousands of students arrived in the city, tens of thousands of industrial jobs were being lost in the city-region as a result of the impact of post-apartheid neoliberal economic policies and, later, the global financial crisis of 2008. The downswing started with the closure of the former homeland industrial parks in Dimbaza and Butterworth on the outskirts of the city after 1995, when apartheid-government subsidies for regional industry were withdrawn. Without support from the state, many of the factories closed, leaving more than 50 000 people jobless in the East London hinterland. In the city itself, a well-established local textile industry which had been operating since the 1930s was swept aside by Indian and Chinese competition, leaving thousands more jobless (Bank 2018). In 2000, the city finally announced the opening of a new industrial development zone (IDZ) next to the harbour to attract industry back to the city. The move helped to maintain the automanufacturing sector, anchored by Mercedes Benz South Africa, and slowed the pace of factory closures. But, after 2008, not even the IDZ could stop the city's industrial sector from collapsing.