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Apartheid Spatial Engineering and Land Use Change in Mankweng, South Africa: 1963-2001

Brent McCusker and Marubini Ramudzuli
The Geographical Journal
Vol. 173, No. 1, Environment and Development in the Former South African Bantustans (Mar., 2007), pp. 56-74
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30113493
Page Count: 19
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Apartheid Spatial Engineering and Land Use Change in Mankweng, South Africa: 1963-2001
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Abstract

Land use change studies permeate the geographic literature. While these studies have helped researchers understand the dynamics and importance of such changes, they have less often taken a deeper historical approach in combination with their traditional strengths of geographic information analysis. In this study, we explore historical land use changes in one of South Africa's former bantustans, Lebowa, from 1963 to 2001. We argue that changes in land use arise from both current socioeconomic dynamics but also from historical precedent established by the apartheid regime. Our methods couple historical aerial photography to recent household surveys to elucidate the national, regional and local influences over land use change. We conducted extensive field research in the study site between 2003 and 2006. Our findings show a high degree of urbanization, a loss of grassland and agricultural land and a dramatic pattern of increasing spatial concentration near growth points. We outline three recommendations for policymakers planning postapartheid rural spaces and conclude with future research needs.

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