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Assessing mixed-income housing as a mechanism for social integration: a case study of the Durban Point area.

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South Africa has a history of socio-spatial segregation which has been a major problem when it comes to addressing urban issues and housing delivery. Twenty years into democracy, it has been evident that there has been a huge backlog in the delivery of housing. Moreover, the rolledout policies have not addressed issues but rather perpetuated the legacy of Apartheid namely social, racial and economic segregation. However, the South African government, throughout the years, has been working tirelessly to rectify these past injustices. For these reasons, the mixed income approach has become popular in urban transformation interventions in South Africa. Such an approach aims to bridge the gap of socio-spatial, and economic integration by bringing people of different races and social classes into one environment whilst also providing affordable housing for citizens. This dissertation sought to formulate an argument that assesses and challenges the notion that social integration can be established and sustained through the mixing of incomes into one environment through the mixed-income approach. The significance of the study is to contribute to the understanding of the policy of mixed-income housing and its correlation to fostering social integration. It seeks to provide an assessment of whether the assumptions, that mixing of incomes into one neighbourhood, results in positive social patterns and integration amongst people in South Africa. This will be evident in the relations created including the level of interactions amongst the residents of Point. The dissertation provides a snapshot of the impact of the mixed-income ideology as well as the state of integration in the Durban Point Area and future prospects. To obtain the findings, the researcher used a mixed-method approach which involved qualitative and quantitative research; however, the bulk of the information was obtained from the qualitative research. The study made use of primary and secondary data collection methods. The secondary data includes statistics, online publications, books, and newspaper articles whilst the primary data includes interviews, focus groups and observations. After engaging the mentioned methodological approaches, the findings have shown that there is little to no integration fostered in the Durban Point as it is evident that little to no interactions occur in the area. The approach of mixed-income housing in the Durban Point area is further perpetuating social isolation which is the opposite of the envisioned outcome of this approach. According to the eThekwini Municipality, once the area is fully developed, then interactions will naturally occur. With the adoption of this neo-liberal approach, the municipality, unfortunately, has failed to take into consideration various factors that will continue hindering the establishment of integration in such areas such as inequality, race, social backgrounds, unemployment as well as historical aspects. Therefore, the researcher concludes it is important that the South African government needs to focus on making these adopted Western approaches more tailor-made to fit the South African context, for them to achieve the intended outcomes.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.