Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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People-place relationships at the neighbourhood level / Case study in a South African post-apartheid township

Sarah MEYS student laureate
sarah.meys@geo.kuleuven.be

°1984 Belgium
Licentiate in Geography, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, 2006

People-place relationships at the neighbourhood level / Case study in a South African post-apartheid township

The world is in the throes of a great rescaling operation. Globalization has brought with it a new definition of place, and countries, regions, cities and districts must re-establish themselves on the map by way of their profiles and networks. This study starts off from that broad perspective. The overview of the scientific literature on “glocalization” is remarkable. The author also succeeds wonderfully well in her study of the case of Wesbank, a township near Cape Town, both in researching it in detail and in relation to the introductory general considerations. Thus it is made very clear that the environment is not a backdrop to social life but a communal product with strong experiential values. This study, which is at once very concrete and theoretically relevant, is also of great importance to development policy. If external support aims to find an internal basis and eventually induce more independent development, it is of great importance to reinforce the sense of belonging to the place through a positive vision of the future. The creation of a traumatic or unsafe image prevents the integration of aid in a positive development policy. This study points to the extreme importance of providing a basis for top down or material development aid by dealing very carefully with local perceptions and paying crucial attention to the conversion of the imaginary relationship with the place among those who live there. Environmental organization is thus also a matter of socio-cultural policy.
 

Report: Prof. E. Corijn, Centre for Urban Research COSMOPOLIS, City, Culture & Society, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium