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Housing and socio-spatial integration in the post-apartheid urban communities, in South Africa: a case study of Shaka's Head, KwaDukuza Municipality.

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This study assesses the potential for housing to attain socio-spatial integration in the post-1994 urban communities. Urban communities in South Africa have a history of segregation enforced through policy and legislation during the apartheid rule. Housing was used effectively as a tool to enforce urban spatial segregation through separate locations, urban restrictions, dispossessions and so forth. In the post-1994 period, housing continued to be utilised in driving further urban residential segregations through private housing developments promoting gated enclaves. Post-apartheid urban communities continue to reflect patterns of segregation. The study argues that class inequalities have maintained urban fragmentation and suppressed the role of housing in achieving socio-spatial integration. Neoliberal urbanism is used to understand class domination and the maintenance of hegemony which has appeared to be a fundamental root cause for persistent urban exclusion. Neoliberal urbanism seeks to enlarge the role of market forces in the housing sector, to privatise the provision of urban and social services, and to increase the role of elites in shaping the urban landscapes. The neoliberal urbanism ideology asserts that the city is envisaged as a playing field for the elites, whereby growing socioeconomic inequalities are managed by creating privatised, customised and networked spaces for consumption by urban elites. The study uses a case of Shaka’s Head, a socially mixed urban neighbourhood in Ballito, KwaDukuza Municipality. A qualitative approach was used for research methodology and design. In-depth interviews were conducted with government officials, the civic movement, low and high-income sections of the study area. Research findings show that in Shaka’s Head, there has been a noticeable but limited role of housing to achieve socio-spatial integration. Through housing location, it was possible to attain a multi-class urban neighbourhood, which is strategically located closer to economic opportunities. However, there has been an inability of social groups to create social relations and share in the local economy. The study concludes that, while housing has a potential to attain spatial integration, socially mixed neighbourhoods have remained socially fragmented. In achieving socio-spatial integration, the study recommends for institutional integration, effective participation, development of quality infrastructure and improved security.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.