In-situ upgrading of informal settlements : a case study of Barcelona 1 - Lamontville, Durban.
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This study examines the case for in-situ upgrading of informal settlements. The housing delivery process as set out in the housing policy has been slow and, to an extent, qualification for subsidy has tended to exclude some sections of the society. The main objective of the study is to identify the social, economic and physical characteristics of informal settlements that would justify in-situ upgrading as opposed to relocation of the residents to a Greenfield development. Both primary and secondary sources of data were utilised in data collection. The research confirmed residents of Barcelona 1 need proper houses with basic services. The general use of land; is also problematic, there are no roads and the residents walk in between shacks to access their sites. Living conditions in Barcelona 1 do not match up with what is proposed in the recent Breaking New Ground (BNG) policy initiative, which states that everyone should have access to sustainable human settlement conditions with basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation. Community Based Organizations (CBOs) focus on assisting the community with socio-economic activities, and have contributed in the development of the settlement by providing training skills workshops on small business and issues concerning HIV/AIDS. The present study sees a need for the settlement to be upgraded on site, in preference to other options less favourable to people’s needs, such as greenfield development which disrupts social and economic networks when people are relocated far from their workplaces and burdened with added transportation costs. By comparison, in-situ upgrading will create minimal disruption for the inhabitants of the settlement. Among the recommendation put forward is that the government, the housing department, non-government organisation and community based organisations should all intervene in the upgrading of informal settlements. The study concludes with none of the development promised by the government having yet taken place in the study area, any forthcoming housing policy implementation should take account of the impact of different development option on informal settlements. It can be argued that government and the housing department alike have failed to satisfy housing demand in South Africa, since people continue to suffer from inadequate housing. Secondly, in-situ upgrading rather than relocation to Greenfield where feasible should be the preferred from development option given the social, economic benefits and networks of existing informal settlements.
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