The Legal Relevance of Nature-based Solutions for Sustainable Urban Development in South African Secondary Cities




sustainable development, nature-based solutions, secondary cities, environmental law, local government law, South Africa


South Africa, like many other countries worldwide, strives for sustainable development. Increasing urbanisation and climate change are two of the main drivers of the global pursuit of sustainable development. Nature-based solutions have been receiving increasing attention as a possible way not only to move cities towards environmental resilience but also to aid them in their efforts to achieve sustainability. Nature-based solutions use natural structures and ecosystems to address certain challenges experienced in and around cities and share a clear link with sustainable urban development. Nature-based solutions further aim to address social issues such as human well-being, environmental issues such as loss of biodiversity, and economic issues such as food insecurity, while sustainable urban development requires the integration of social, ecological and economic factors. Secondary cities in South Africa have been found to be located advantageously to aid development in both urbanised and more rural areas. Sustainable urban development in these cities, and possibly nationally, could be promoted using nature-based solutions, but South African law needs to be receptive thereto. This note aims to highlight briefly how and to what extent the country’s environmental law as applicable to local government is attuned to the idea of nature-based solutions for sustainable urban development with a focus on secondary cities.


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How to Cite

Hattingh, H. (2022). The Legal Relevance of Nature-based Solutions for Sustainable Urban Development in South African Secondary Cities. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 25, (Published 1 August 2022) pp 1 –25.



SARChi CLES Series on Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability