A Lefebvrian Analysis of Public Spaces in Mangaung, South Africa

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A Lefebvrian Analysis of Public Spaces in Mangaung, South Africa

  • Ernestina S. Nkooe Department of Geography, University of the Free State, South Africa

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Abstract:  Hoffman Square, Driehoek Neighbourhood Park and Old Regional Park are public spaces in Mangaung. Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space and Elements of Rhythmanalysis are explored in the analysis of these public spaces’ organised representations, representational uses and rhythmic spatial practices. This article found that: (1) public spaces in Mangaung are lived spaces that are regularly appropriated by inhabitants whose unpoliced social practices of vandalism and littering—along with the harsh regional climate—deteriorate the physical quality of the public spaces, secreting environmental incivility in the public spaces; (2) cyclical rhythms of night and day times have a practical impact on the spatial practices of each public space in spite of their design and location. For example, day-time entails high and rapid levels of public space uses while night-time diffuses these dynamics significantly; and (3) Mangaung’s spatial plans encourage the liberal uses of its public spaces however, it fails to enforce its by-laws to curb experienced physical decay of, and environmental incivility in, the public spaces. This increases the vulnerability of its public spaces to external shocks—emanating from nature and society—thus depriving the public spaces of an opportunity to be perceived as alternatives for urban regeneration and local economic revitalisation.

Keywords:  Bloemfontein; Henri Lefebvre; public space; secondary cities; Thaba Nchu

Published:   12 June 2018

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v3i3.1363

© Ernestina S. Nkooe. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.