A critical analysis of self-built housing as a model for peri-urban areas: the case of uMzinyathi, KwaZulu-Natal.
Dhlamini, Sifiso Simphiwe.
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The world is rapidly urbanizing and irrepressibly so. Since the late 1950s, urbanization has had a tremendous effect on developing countries globally, at varying rates of change where some have experienced more rapid urbanization than others. Today, cities host a lion’s share of the world population. The rapid urban expansion and densification of peri-urban areas have heightened the urge to address the prevailing issue of inadequate housing experienced by the majority of developing countries globally. For centuries, houses have been built by people themselves, which served as a measure to access, protect and secure adequate housing. It is not until recent times that other external actors have begun to be consulted about the planning, design, construction, and overall management of the housing production process. Nowadays, trends of good quality self-built houses by owners have rapidly emerged in peri-urban areas. The aim of this research was to critically analyse self-built housing as a model for peri-urban areas focusing on uMzinyathi located within eThekwini Municipality. The Rapid Urban Growth Triad (RUGT) and Turner’s theory of ‘Self-Help’ theoretical frameworks underpinned and formed the basis of understanding for the study. In addition, qualitative research methodology was adopted, and primary information was gathered mainly through observation and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 16 participants from uMzinyathi. The study found that the rapid movement of people to uMzinyathi was influenced by factors like access to affordable land for housing development, transportation systems, basic services, close proximity to the city and closeness to Ebuhle the Nazareth place of worship. In addition, self-building enabled the liberty to build incrementally within people’s means and without any pressure to follow building specifications. It was indicated that the houses that were self-built profusely met household needs; to some degree,it was the most cost-effective approach. A thematic content analysis was used to examine all research findings of the study. The study envisaged informing further research on self-building in other peri-urban areas. It was recommended that a decongestion strategy be established to better manage rapid urban expansion. In addition, establish a self-builders association that will help protect the rights of local self-builders. The traditional authorities should be more knowledgeable and understand the local municipalities’ future prospects of development. The local government, private sector, NGOs and academia should collaborate in developing skills including knowledge of households to enhance their capacity in the self-build housing process. Public and private actors to also avail development finance or credit to households.