An assessment of the informal mechanisms of urban land supply: a case study of Cato Crest.
Motladi, Sarah Manthasa.
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One of the most controversial and dramatic features of recent city development is the phenomenon of access to land through informal means, which is a reflection of the lack of alternative delivery systems. Constraints on the supply of land for housing the urban poor have resulted in a large housing backlog, reSUlting in overcrowding, the emergence of unplanned housing such as backyard shacks and free standing informal settlements. In South Africa, the majority of the popUlation who have been historically constrained by racist and restrictive land allocation processes found it difficult to access well located and affordable serviced land. These constraints have resulted in poor people obtaining access to land through informal delivery systems. This effective exclusion of the urban poor from the formal land market has resulted in the emergence of the informal systems of land delivery, such as land invasions etc. Both internationally and in South Africa, informal settlements and squatting have represented a way of addressing and challenging market relations and state regUlation and thus, allow for poorer people to move into better located areas. The existing informal settlement within the Cato Manor area (Cato Crest) can be regarded as an example of this kind of urban process. The purpose of this dissertation is to assess the performance of the informal delivery systems in Cato Crest, to establish whether these systems have reached the urban poor and to look for ways of dealing with informal land mechanisms in the future. The findings from the survey indicated that in Cato Crest these illegal land supply systems have benefitted poor people in terms of job opportunities, proximity to the city and location. A number of recommendations can be made in this regard: that there is a need for a land policy on informal land supply systems, that which should seek to make strategically located land available for low income housing in the future. If this is not accomplished, illegal land occupation will continue unabated until no land will be available for low income housing.