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Access to the Urban National Park in Cape Town: Where Urban and Natural Environment Meet

Abstract : This paper reveals the relational, multi-layered constructions and boundaries of park spaces and who the users of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) in Cape Town are. Access to TMNP is discussed within its urban metropolitan context and the role Table Mountain has played in Capetonians representations of the mountain through different eras - the colonial, apartheid and post-apartheid. The formidable challenge to the park management, with visitor numbers of around 3 million annually, is to provide a high-quality recreational and tourist experience without compromising the ecological integrity of the park and making sure that the park is accessible to all. However, the December 2007 to November 2008 TMNP survey found that the park is a recreational space for the affluent. Most visitors to the park are from high-income neighbouring suburbs. Issues of use of and access to the park by visitors vary greatly and typically reflect the duality of the legacy of apartheid planning. If most of the South African population is largely invisible in the TMNP (and other national parks), questions arise about the parks' future relevance, meaning, and protection.
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Ronnie Donaldson, Sanette Ferreira, Sophie Didier, Estienne Rodary, Janie Swanepoel. Access to the Urban National Park in Cape Town: Where Urban and Natural Environment Meet. Habitat International, Elsevier, 2016, 57 (Supplement C), pp.132--142. ⟨10.1016/j.habitatint.2016.04.010⟩. ⟨hal-01640545⟩



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