Taming the Disorderly City, The Spatial Landscape of Johannesburg after Apartheid by Martin J. Murray
Publisher: UCT Press
In post-apartheid Johannesburg, property developers and the very poor fight for control of space as the municipal administration steps aside, having abandoned residential plans to the unpredictability of market forces.
This failure to plan for the civic good - and the resulting confusion - is a perfect example of the entrepreneurial approaches to urban governance sweeping much of the Global South as well as the cities of the North. The author brings together urban theory and local knowledge to draw a nuanced portrait of contemporary Johannesburg.
In Taming The Disorderly City, he provides a focused, intellectual and political critique of the often-ambivalent urban dynamics that have emerged after the end of apartheid. Exploring the behaviour of the rich and poor, each empowered in their own way, as they rebuild a new Johannesburg, we see the entrepreneurial city: skyscrapers, shopping districts and gated communities surrounded by and intermingled with poverty.
In graceful prose, Murray offers a compelling portrait of the everyday lives of the urban poor as seen through the lens of real-estate capitalism and revitalisation efforts.