Third World Planning Review

The role of geographical information systems in development planning in South Africa

Third World Planning Review (2001), 23, (3), 289–299.

Abstract

Development planning in South Africa is moving towards a people-centred, democratic approach with a strong emphasis on community involvement, which had previously been lacking. This paradigmatic shift to an integrated and considerate approach lends itself to the inclusion of spatially orientated geographical information systems (GIS) technology. The paper outlines a number of South African planning processes and shows how GIS could be incorporated to the betterment of these processes. Cognisance is taken of a number of concerns surrounding the utilisation of what is traditionally perceived to be a top-down, authoritative, technocratic technology. A number of solutions are proposed, including the development of a participatory GIS and the co-construction of decision-making processes through community communication. A key issue to consider is the need for the planning process to develop a ‘conscience’ and become ‘considerate’, in order to facilitate the development and implementation of a successful process and to communicate these findings to previously disempowered communities.

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Author details

Hill, T.

McConnachie, D.