Densification as a tool for sustainable housing development : a case study of Umhlanga high income area in Durban.
The implementation of affordable, high density housing within well established, suburban areas has social, environmental and economic impacts. By means of the case study of infill development in Umhlanga, the research aims to determine the contribution of densification to social integration and affordable housing in South Africa, particularly the eThekwini Municipality. The research conducted included a thorough review of literature by engaging concepts and theories linked to densification, affordable housing and social integration to inform the direction of the dissertation. The study further analysed international precedents of developed and developing countries and examined the South African case of housing development consequential of apartheid planning patterns. An electronic survey was conducted in the Prestondale community adjacent to new, affordable housing development. The survey was conducted to ascertain lifestyles, perspectives, quality of life and levels of social integration in relation to more affordable developments accommodating a different demographic. The study found that there is a trade-off between fulfilling the housing needs of lower to middle income people sustainably by providing more affordable housing in desired locations and creating greater social integration not only among different races but between different societal classes. The study recommends greater public participation in the implementation of affordable housing as existing residents were found to be unaware of such developments and therefore had a preconceived, often misguided notion of affordable housing development and the intended population of such development. Finally, the dissertation concludes that there is a need for a change, if development is to meet housing needs in a multifaceted sustainable manner.