This chapter appears in Law and the New Urban Agenda, edited by Nestor M Davidson and Geeta Tewari, which has recently been published by Routledge (London and New York, 2020). Law and the New Urban Agenda aims to offer ‘a constructive and critical evaluation of the legal dimensions of the New Urban Agenda’. The chapter interrogates the New Urban Agenda’s non-binding normative nature, its deference to domestic law, and its ambiguity towards legislation as an implementation tool. Its focus is on two particularly strong normative commitments in the New Urban Agenda: The empowerment of urban local government and the realisation of the right to adequate housing. Through engaging with the South African experience with legally embodying norms associated with the housing right and the principle of devolution since their constitutional entrenchment in 1996, the chapter illustrates that open-ended and non-directive normative commitments are not always swiftly and predictably internalised.
Law and the New Urban Agenda can be purchased in hard copy or as an e-book through Routledge’s website, here.