Upgrading? : a realistic option for the Ntchaweni squatter settlement.
This thesis recognises that quantitative research distances the researcher from the people who form part and parcel of squatter settlements. Therefore, in the course of analysing whether upgrading is a realistic option for the Ntchaweni squatter settlement, this qualitative study has not concerned itself with the activities of the inhabitants alone, or only with the buildings which house squatters, but investigates those units of experience within which physical form, activities and the degree of attachment that squatters have for the settlement of Ntchaweni are amalgamated to form place. A contention of this thesis if we are to plan successfully for squatter areas, it is necessary to understand that squatters have the potential to think and plan ahead for themselves. Squatter settlements are not necessarily the domain of criminals and unemployed people. The Ntchaweni squatter settlement is a complex place in which the inhabitants exhibit a strong attachment to the place.This validates the methodological emphasis on a people-place study of the squatter settlement, as does the acknowledged importance of community participation in upgrading schemes. In contrast, the "top-down" re-organising of squatter settlements into idealistic settlements conforming rigidly to some grand theory developed by technocrats cannot possibly help to alleviate the severe physical and social problems experienced in squatter areas. It is therefore necessary to arrive at a realistic option for the improvement of the Ntchaweni squatter settlement by analysing what the squatters perceive to be a suitable living environment. Any upgrading option for the Ntchaweni squatter settlement must also take into account the system which perpetrated the poor conditions evident in the study area. Within this context, the areal expansion of the Ntchaweni squatter settlement into its present size qualifies the notion that this place has an important function from a social, cultural and economic perspective. The historical development and the present political situation in the study area are both important considerations in a study which aims at investigating the betterment options for the area, be it site and service schemes or in situ upgrading. In order to gain a better understanding of squatter settlements, we must record both objective and subjective aspects of place. Together, these investigations put us into a position to discuss the possibilities for generating realistic options for designing and producing places suitable for human habitation in Ntchaweni.