An exploration of social dynamics in mixed land-use developments as informative for planning sustainable social communities
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This dissertation sets out to describe how the social dynamics in mixed land-use developments can be used as an informative to plan sustainable social communities. The World Urbanisation Prospects of 2014 indicated that urbanisation and population growth are major future concerns for cities. Urban growth is currently acknowledged as a threat to the sustainable development of human settlements in terms of balancing environmental, developmental and social needs. Although economic, environmental and social aspects are of equal importance in sustainable cities, social sustainability has largely been neglected in mainstream debates on sustainable development. This balancing act implies, e.g. providing urban infrastructure, mitigating the negative impacts of large and rapidly growing urban areas in the environment and providing social services to the urban poor. Although economic, environmental and social aspects are of equal importance in sustainable cities, social sustainability has largely been neglected in mainstream debates on sustainable development. Social dynamics are viewed as important building blocks in socially sustainability and were believed to be achieved by social cohesion and social interaction. Mixed land-use developments are currently offered as a panacea to create socially sustainable communities, especially in South Africa with its history of spatial segregation based on racial grounds. In this study, mixed land-use developments are selected in two metropolitan cities in two different countries, namely Helsinki (Finland) and Johannesburg (South Africa) as case studies to explore social dynamics as informative for socially sustainable communities. The two countries are chosen due to difference in terms of levels of social cohesion – Finland is homogeneous, while South-Africa is multi-cultural with a history of low social cohesion due to apartheid. Selecting mixed land-use developments in countries where contrasting levels of social cohesion exist may be valuable for research that explores social dynamics and social sustainability in specific spatial environments. From the background discussed in the above section, the topic of sustainability is important for urban planners. It is especially important to focus on social sustainability. Mixed land-uses are proposed as possible ways to create socially sustainability environments in countries such as Finland and South Africa. The contribution and role of mixed land-use developments as proposal for social sustainability form the focus of this study. Keywords: social sustainability, sustainable development, mixed land-use development, spatial planning.