This paper indicates that micro-urbanism, through the ‘urban villages’ concept, is finding increasing prominence in current design approaches in South Africa, albeit in two very distinctive ways. The paper introduces the concept of the urban village, its definition and interpretation, its current location within the broader framework of Micro- and New Urbanism and its application in the UK and the USA. This is followed by a discussion of the different forms of urban villages that are currently being developed in South Africa. These different forms have, however, given rise to a multitude of interpretations or meanings, which is subsequently discussed. Thus the term urban village has different connotations for different people and different groups, depending on its application and form. It can therefore be constructed in different ways in various places, for example the different types in South Africa, albeit still conveying some essence of what is meant by the often very emotive word, village.
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