Feral Cities



In the year 2000. the Johannesburg Stock Exchange relocated from downtown Johannesburg to Sandton, roughly twenty kilometres away. The reason for this relocation is increased security issues emerging within the city. This occurrence prompted Dr Richard Norton to reflect on the possibility for cities to retain a degree of importance in national and international systems despite law enforcement failing to operate there. According to Norton these cities could be seen as feral, they exist in a state where the government can no longer maintain the rule of law within the city’s boundaries, yet the city remains functional. To a certain degree, it is the application of concepts such as failed or fragile states to the smaller scale of a metropolis. While these concepts and the challenges associated with them have received significant attention in recent years the same cannot be said for feral cities. This is quite intriguing seeing how half of humanity already resides within urban environments that have become focal points of conflict, crime, poverty, and vulnerability to disasters. Thus, as long as the focus remains on fragile states, feral cities silently emerge as new epicentres of insecurity.