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The impact of high-income land markets on the low income groups. a case study of Beacon Bay, East London, South Africa.

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Following the democracy of South Africa in 1994, was an influx of blacks migrating from rural to urban areas in search of economic opportunities. One of the spatial challenges resulting from this movement was that the development of housing and infrastructure in cities was not as fast as the movement of blacks to cities, which led to inadequate housing and infrastructure. Since 1994, the government of South Africa has drafted policies in anticipation of achieving a re-formed economic, social, and political just country. However, income disparities and displace-ment of the landless poor in cities continues in South Africa. Imperative land use and town planning principles are essential in reforming cities. In the absence of resilient land use plans in municipalities and policy implementation, private landholders influence land uses. Private urban land markets influence land use planning, land distribution and housing allocation due to the adoption of macro-economic policies. Land and housing markets in East London are driven by three economic theories such as neo-liberalism, modernisation and Marxist theory. Neo-liberalism increased the levels of privatization in social service delivery and other services in South Africa. Modernization was adopted to bring transformation in the traditional society of South Africa, this theory reduced government from being central in service delivery by intro-ducing privatization. Lastly, the Marxist approach was used to elucidate the power struggles between owners of land and the poor. In South Africa, the economic disparities have led to socio- economic divisions creating dependency chains between the owners and workers. This research used both qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the impact of high-in-come urban land markets in the planning system concerning land access for low-income groups in East London. Qualitative methods that were used made use of semi-structured interviews, structured interviews and field observations. The Quantitative methods that were used made use of existing IDPs, SDFs, zoning concepts and maps. The main findings of this research were lack of institutional capacity to acquire land in East London, poor integration strategies, sepa-rate planning and invasion of environmental sensitive areas by the poor in informal settlements. The recommendations guided by the research findings are that settlement forward planning requirements must be followed in housing developments. Policy implementation in the view of Breaking New Ground (BNG) and In-situ Upgrading of Informal Settlements should be ex-tended to benefit more poor inhabitants in informal settlements.


Master’s degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.