THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC changes that occurred in South Africa since the early-1990s resulted in the country becoming a dynamic and vibrant part of the African and international development arena. One of the most dramatic results of this process is the restructuring of South African cities by their inhabitants and policy makers.
At the same time, the relationships between cities and rural areas are being remoulded and new forms of networking inside cities and between cities and their hinterlands and other cities, locally and internationally, are emerging. The social, economic and ecological sustainability of these processes requires a greater understanding of the operation of our cities as systems within systems of cities.
This includes incremental and systemic adjustments that are necessary to increase their social and economic viability and resilience and the fostering of a mutually beneficial relationship between cities and their rural hinterlands. It is the vision of this Centre to add value to the local and international pool of knowledge in the field of urban and regional systems analysis and to disseminate this knowledge through its programmes of research and education.