n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Can legislative intervention achieve spatial justice?




Spatial justice instruments seek to eliminate spatial injustices that result from discrimination and marginalisation. Inequitable access to housing, educational and economic opportunities and health facilities are consequences of spatial injustice. The instruments used to promote spatial justice are varied and include urban regeneration policies and programmes, plans, social movements and judicial intervention.

Legislation enacted to deal with spatial injustice is applied infrequently. Nevertheless, the United States Fair Housing Act (1968) with one recent and one proposed amendment, and Brazil's City Statute (2001) are noteworthy examples of such legislation. Since South Africa's history includes some of the worst examples of spatial injustice it is significant that it has now added its voice to these two jurisdictions in addressing spatial injustice via legislation. The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 includes principles of spatial justice, the components of which can be reduced to redressing past spatial imbalances and exclusions; including people and areas previously excluded; and upgrading informal areas and settlements. This paper interrogates the content, application and success of these three legislative instruments which aim to transform spatial injustice into spatial justice.


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