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Migration governance as place making: South African experiences

Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 14 February 2019

Issue publication date: 11 July 2019




This paper aims to explore the role of migrants in the process of place making, through case studies of migrant engagement with municipal planning in five South African municipalities.


This study draws on empirical research carried out over two years, using mixed methods research in each municipal case study. Data come from key stakeholder interviews, participant observation, focus groups and demographic data to understand the perceptions and practices of local government officials and migrants within the community.


This research demonstrated that local government officials are assuming a population that is sedentary and geographically bounded, while migration is actively shaping communities. This mobility provides an opportunity for management practices to become more inclusive and effective.


By examining systems of local governance through the lens of a mobile population, new possibilities emerge about the ways migrant participation can contribute to the definitions of a place.



Blaser Mapitsa, C. (2019), "Migration governance as place making: South African experiences", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 391-407.



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