In 1994 South Africa became a democracy under the rule of old president Nelson Mandela and the new dispensation of the African National Congress. From this period on the Department of Public Works focus was to provide public services to previously disadvantaged groups who had no access to basic services and civic structures. This thesis will investigate the transformation of public space in South Africa by comparing structures built prior to the democratization with newly built projects. Public spaces in South African urban environments consist of different typologies and character such as public squares, the streetscape and civic buildings. These spaces represent the public sphere of life, being the point of social connection, a stage for political activity and judicial practices. The following three typologies and surrounding communal spaces will be investigated; schools, libraries and community centres within South African communities. Key words: public space, civic buildings, community, democracy.