Publication: "De Aar: Lines of Architecture in the Making of a South African Town (1902–1977)"
Giorgio Miescher reconstructs in this book the history of a former railway town, known as an early example of modern urban planning, located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
De Aar: Lines of Architecture in the Making of a South African Town (1902–1977) reconstructs the history of a former railway town located in, what is today, the Northern Cape province of South Africa. This town is a remarkably early example of modern urban planning in South Africa, which was at heart an exercise in spatial segregation. The book investigates historical maps, plans, and blueprints to narrate De Aar’s urban development and discuss how state offcials, politicians, and town planners imagined, conceptualised, ordered, and regulated the town of De Aar and its inhabitants. The close-up view reveals the specific process of establishing both ‘White’ and ‘non-White’ neighbourhoods that—while heavily regulated and subjected to recurrent forced removals—saw the emergence of complex systems of land tenure, property rights, and differential access to housing. By highlighting Black residents’ role in shaping the built environment and social fabric of De Aar, the book expands and enlivens the graphic archive of Northern Cape urban planning.