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Urban pressure on the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Tshwane, South Africa: An application of the Greenspace Stress Model of Urban Impact

Anna de Jager


Despite the ecosystem services potentially provided by urban green spaces, there are concerns about the sustainability thereof. Therefore, the nexus  between development, conservation, and sense of place was explored from a geographical perspective. A Greenspace Stress Model of Urban Impact was  developed through a case study of the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Tshwane, Gauteng province, South Africa. The position of an urban green space within  two rapidly expanding cities was evaluated through a case study. Methods included a literature study, an analysis of land-use changes on remote sensing  images, face-to-face interviews, and focus group interviews. Findings from this research include that urban growth leads to increasing human needs and  expectations regarding the ecological services provided by green spaces. Stressors within the reserve include the water quality, the presence of invasive  species, development pressures intensified by the location relative to spatial development corridors and administrative boundaries, and insufficient environmental awareness. Successful local strategies support the idea that green space should be fit for purpose and meet the expectations justifying its  existence. Global environmental concerns should be considered in urban planning frameworks and in management of local spaces that people know and  care about. The physical characteristics and functions of an urban green space as well as the environmental perception and sense-of-place  evaluations of different stakeholders are important in decision-making about, and sustainability of ecosystem services.

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eISSN: 2415-0495
print ISSN: 1012-280X