Race and the post-Fordist spatial order in Cape Town

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The post-Fordist shift from manufacturing to service sector economies, which began in the 1970s, has occurred worldwide and has changed occupation and income structures. This global force has a spatial manifestation at the urban level. In order to conceptualise the post-Fordist spatial order in Cape Town, his thesis engages examples of post-Fordist spatial forms in cities worldwide, particularly Johannesburg. A Geographic Information System is used to look at the location of the middle class in Cape Town and the spatial patterns of post-apartheid desegregation by mapping the Census 2001 class and race data. This is to determine the extent to which the decentralisation of office parks and shopping centres is reinforcing the spatial divide, established under apartheid, between the white and black races. This thesis shows that, in middle-class, former whites-only areas, decentralised employment nodes have developed. These middle-class residents are still largely white. However, other former white Group Areas nearby, which have experienced significant desegregation, are located along the railway lines in both the northern and south-western suburbs. The profile of these new residents are coloured, rather than black African, and they are employed in clerical, sales, service worker and middle-class occupations. Therefore these coloured residents are able to access decentralised service sector employment, thereby reducing the apartheid spatial divide between the white and black middle class. While white-coloured racial spatial segregation has decreased, the south-east sector of the city has become an 'excluded ghetto' of the coloured and black African underclass, who make up a large percentage of residents in Cape Town. Therefore the extent of class-based desegregation near market-driven, decentralised, service-sector employment has not yet significantly eroded the apartheid racial spatial divisions upon which the post-Fordist class divisions are superimposed.

Includes bibliographical references.