This article historicizes the contemporary urban development and governance strategies in Cape Town, South Africa, by focusing on two periods: the British colonial era (mid to turn of the nineteenth century) and the neoliberal postapartheid era (early twenty-first century). It reveals the keen affinity between a contemporary urban strategy known as Improvement Districts for the affluent and the old colonial practice of "location creation" for the native. Discussing the similarities and differences in the material and discursive practices by which urban privilege is produced and maintained in Cape Town across the two eras, the study brings to light the colonial legacies of the neoliberal municipal strategies for governance of urban inequalities. This insight is significant to the citizens' resistance against exclusionary redevelopment projects that claim "innovation" in urban management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-307
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Planning History
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Business improvement districts
  • Colonial urban governance
  • Neoliberal urban policies
  • Postapartheid and colonial Cape Town
  • Urban redevelopment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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