The history of urbanization in South Africa has left the last quarter of this century with a society that reflects developed and underdeveloped components. Intense politicization and a greater demand for equal opportunities have brought about developmental consequences that directly affect the role of the civil engineer. In order to decrease the current level of urban tension, the future of the urbanizing environment has to be negotiated with the emerging urban populations themselves.
The public health challenge of rapid urbanization is an issue of national importance that will have to be tackled using a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral approach that integrates environmental health and urban health. Urban growth in South Africa is caused equally by rural-urban migration and natural population growth and has a wide range of impacts upon health. These range from infectious diseases such as measles, which is exacerbated by overcrowded housing, to psycho-social problems such as alcohol abuse and interpersonal violence.
All planning activities in the urbanization process affect and change the total environment. Not only the natural environment should be considered; so should man's development and quality of life. A longterm approach will ensure compatibility between goals sought for the natural environment and those of man for safety, comfort and economy. This paper contends that while national strategies and policies pertaining to urbanization are still being formulated grass-roots development will and should continue. As legislation for land use planning is expected to be simplified or repealed, this paper concludes that the ingenuity and radical thinking of planners, architects, engineers and other scientists will be essential in meeting the challenges for sustainable development.
The transport sector of the economy has a substantial impact on the environment through the consumption of non-renewable liquid fuels and the production of gaseous and particulate emissions. Current trends in public attitudes combined with increasingly stringent fiscal constraints are likely to restrict the construction of new road transport facilities to a few isolated projects. The lack of new road capacity, in conjunction with future traffic growth, will increase congestion levels with a concomitant increase in fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. This paper investigates traffic engineering measures such as improvements to traffic signals and intersections, which can be implemented at relatively low cost, to reduce fuel consumption and vehicular emissions of the urban transport sector. An estimate is made of the potential national savings if the proposed measures are implemented in urban areas throughout the Republic.
Electricity is the most efficient form of energy and ranks amongst the first three priority needs in developing communities. Urbanization is inevitable but necessary for economic growth. Access to affordable electricity is a key to urban improvement provided that it forms part of an integrated approach to service provision. The most immediate and much publicized benefit of electrifying a township is the improvement in the township's ground-level air quality. Smokeless fuels may offer a partial solution to the problem of township air pollution, but they will have little impact on S02 emissions and they are at present more costly than traditional fuels. Greater use of electricity also serves to alleviate the impact on local natural resources.
South Africa's urban areas are under great pressure to provide facilities for those least able to afford them. A methodology is needed for resolution of the competition between 'open spaces' and 'development'. The paper outlines and attempts to clarify some of the principal issues that relate to the provision of open spaces in urban areas. Firstly, the types of open spaces in urban areas and their functions are examined. Secondly, consideration is given to the factors opposing the provision of these open spaces. Thirdly, given the projected rapid growth of our urban areas and the financial stresses they face, a case is made for specific principles to guide open space reservation and planning. Fourthly, the role of professionals in providing for various forms of open space is reviewed.