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A critical evaluation of community participation in the planning and re-blocking of informal settlements.

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This research study critically evaluates community participation in the re-blocking of informal settlement. KwaMathambo informal settlement re-blocking project in Durban is used as a case study. The re-blocking process is done to improve the structure, living conditions in the informal settlement and enhance community participation in planning and implementation of projects. The aim of this study is to establish the extent to which community participation added value to the success of the re-blocking of informal settlements in the KwaMathambo. Furthermore, the study is to critically evaluate of the involvement of the community in the planning and re-blocking of informal settlements. The study employed qualitative research methods, based on observations and interviews with community members and supporting stakeholders. The study was informed by international and national literature (i.e. precedents studies) on the best practices and benefits of re-blocking of informal settlements. The post-modernist theories such as communicative planning theory and advocacy planning provided the theoretical background for the study and enabled an understanding of the role of community in re-blocking informal settlements. The study established that the involvement of the community in planning and re-blocking of informal settlement is of great significance. The study established that in the re-blocking process, community participation is well detailed. Hence the successful re-blocking of KwaMathambo is a result of community having total control, and a detailed plan to implement re-blocking. However, the study found challenges that hindered re-blocking of KwaMathambo included lack of understanding of the process by all stakeholders especially the municipality. Furthermore, factors such as political interference, unemployment, dependent mind-set, and alcohol abuse also hindered re-blocking process. The study, therefore, recommends community members in informal settlements and various s stakeholders be well informed about re-blocking and its benefits. Collaboration and enhanced communication between communities, government, civil societies and the private sector in engaging adequate measures for participation and developing mechanisms for conflict resolution and effective re-blocking of informal settlements.


Master of Town and Regional Planning in Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2019.