An assessment of the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) in monitoring and evaluating the progress of in-situ upgrading of informal settlements : a case study of Cato Crest Informal Settlement, eThekwini Municipality.
As a point of departure, this study investigates the innovative use of geographic information system (GIS) as a technological tool for urban governance in South Africa used for monitoring and evaluating informal settlement upgrading projects, using the case of Cato Crest informal settlement in eThekwini municipality. In South Africa, the number of informal settlements continues to increase perpetuated by phenomena such as rapid urbanisation and poverty; notwithstanding of the goal of the Department of Human Settlements to eradicate all informal settlements by 2014. The BNG advocates for in-situ upgrading as the preferred approach for settlement upgrading as it seeks to improve settlements in their current location through the provision of services, and secured land tenure. In-situ upgrading is a holistic approach with an emphasis on eliminating social exclusion, poverty, and vulnerability. Favouring neoliberal policies has resulted in increased poverty as people are not able to compete in formal housing markets due to insufficient capital. Technological adaptation is barred by lack of support from top management and capital resources. This research adopted a qualitative research design, utilizing primary and secondary sources of data, employing semi-structured interviews, questionnaire, observation, GIS based methods of digitizing, and buffering as data collection methods. Data is analysed through thematic analysis and GIS technology, and findings presented in cartographic display. The research has found that, among other things, eThekwini municipality utilizes GIS through the ISP to inform decisions for housing projects. However, GIS continues to face barriers in monitoring and evaluating in-situ upgrading of informal settlements as spatial data is updated annually; thus unable to map spontaneous land invasions as they occur throughout a year cycle. Notwithstanding, the in-situ upgrading of Cato Crest informal settlement has impacted the community positively through the provision of services, and secured land tenure, preserve socio-economic networks, and integration of the settlement into the broader urban fabric.
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