An assessment of environmental sustainability in low-income settlements : the case study of Qadi Towhship in KwaNyuswa.
Mnyandu, Sithabile Sinethemba.
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Environmental sustainability has a significant contribution to the conservation of natural capital. In low-income settlements it improves the quality of place by providing a clean environment and minimising environmental threats. During the life-cycle of low-income settlement where housing is used as a product, natural resources such as water and energy are consumed as inputs while waste is generated as an output. Environmentally sustainable low-income settlements are therefore necessary for controlling the consumption of resources, manage waste, minimise environmental impacts and provide a clean environment. It is against this background that the study assesses and suggests greening, water efficiency, energy efficiency and waste management as strategies to conserve natural capital, address environmental impacts and ultimately improve quality of place (QoP) in low-income settlements. The study therefore explores the effectiveness of these elements on creating environmentally sustainable low-income settlements based on the interpretive paradigm. It has used both qualitative and quantitative data methodologies relying on interviews, questionnaires and observations and secondary data to evaluate the uncontrolled negative impacts and unintended environmental threats brought about by low-income settlements. It examines the influence of conserving natural capital in improving QoP while assessing the elements that can create environmentally sustainable low-income settlements. Finally it outlines the strategies that can be adopted to strengthen the conservation of natural capital and improve the quality of place within low-income settlements. It was discovered by the study that poor management structures and budget constraints are contributing factors to unpleasant environmental conditions and poor quality of place within low-income settlements.