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A critical assessment of the impacts of mixed land-use developments on socio- economic sustainability: a case study of Isipingo, Ethekwini Municipality.

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In contemporary planning, the mixed-land use concept has been perceived as necessary to achieve sustainable human settlements across the globe. The integration of different land-use functions such as residential, commercial, recreational, and institutional in an urban environment is one of the goals of planning policies within Post-Apartheid South Africa. Prior studies have mainly mentioned the benefits of mixed land-use development towards creating sustainable environments. However, these studies have not thoroughly emphasized the challenges associated with such developments. This study attempts to critically analyze the socio-economic impact of mixed land-uses particularly in the Isipingo study area, situated within Durban, eThekwini municipality. The research methodology undertaken within the study included qualitative research. Field observations and individual interviews were conducted as part of qualitative research to investigate the perceptions of key informants, business owners and residents effected by these developments within Isipingo. The study examined residents’ perception with the help of a criteria used to measure the sustainability of mixed use developments. The criteria measured whether the mixed land-use developments in Isipingo provide access to infrastructure services, access to a range of housing typologies, access to economic and job opportunities, access to public and recreational facilities, access to a range of transportation options, as well as safety and surveillance to its inhabitants. The findings of the study revealed that mixed land-use developments within Isipingo provided minimal benefits and a number of negative impacts. Residents were satisfied with how mixed land-uses provide job opportunities and housing choice. However, residents were uncomfortable with the air, land and noise pollution associated with such developments. In addition, they felt unsafe and consistently expressed how unsettled they are in Isipingo.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.