ABSTRACT

Renaissance-style policies are ‘not a sideshow in the city, but a major component of the urban imaginary’ (Ley 2003:2527). Accordingly, 25 years of capital and white flight from downtown Johannesburg recently prompted the local state to implement a plethora of investor-friendly policies to re-attract private capital and middle-class households. Discursive regeneration policies, which deploy carefully selected discourses such as ‘economic competitiveness’, ‘responsive governance’ and ‘social cohesion’ to obviate criticisms of gentrification, are thus not restricted to command centre cities of the global North. They now appear in the global South, imported as ‘best practice’, ‘world class’ enabling precedents to facilitate a global age of regeneration (Bourdieu and Wacquant 2001; Gordon and Buck 2005; Smith 2002a).