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Urban land biographies

A study of co-existing land use management practices

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Colin Marx, Margot Rubin

01 August 2008

Urban LandMark


Urban LandMark Librarian

Research report

Urban LandMark

South Africa

This report by Colin Marx and Margot Rubin explores how urban land is divided and re-divided within the context of the interaction between formal and informal land use management systems.


It investigates the processes, practices, techniques and power required to make it possible to divide spaces into smaller or larger parcels. The three case study precincts are Diepkloof, Thokoza and Doornfontein.


The distinctive contribution of urban land biographies is how they reveal and give value to a greater set of land use management processes and practices than is officially acknowledged by planners and policy-makers. Using the long lens of the historical and biographical approach to land use makes it possible to understand the interaction of processes that unfold at different rates of change.



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Built environment

Human settlements


Land markets



Poverty & inequality

South Africa


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