An analysis of the causes and issues surrounding backyard shack development and the implications for policy : the case of Umlazi.
Braude, Sarah A. W.
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Over the past decade the construction of shacks on fonnally developed residential sites within the predominantly african residential townships of South Africa have been increasing in number. These infonnal structures have become commonly known as backyard shacks and have been constructed, mainly by the urban poor, in response, inter-alia, to the restrictions and difficulties placed upon them by the policies of the past government, in respect to access to land and housing. Research on this housing option is limited and has unfortunately either concentrated on quantifying the extent of the development or has been overshadowed by investigation and debate on other methods of infonnal housing. Therefore this dissertation sets about, by reason of research in Umlazi (one of the largest, predominantly african townships within South Africa), to contextualise, identify and place firmly on the agenda, the issues and needs of the backyard shack residents. In support thereof, a review of the spatial development of backyard shacks over the past decade in Umlazi, is also provided. From this study it has then been possible to fonnulate recommendations for housing policy and town planning so as to address these issues and needs. With specific reference, as this dissertation recognises the extent of the housing crisis and the role that backyard shacks play in providing shelter for the urban poor within the urban centres of the country and hence the likely pennanency of this housing option; recommendations, including the densification of the urban centres as a means of providing land for housing, the fonnalisation of the backyard shack as a secondary dwelling unit, the re-defming of subsidies in relation thereto and the delivery of services, are put forward.