2017 Honours Reports

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    Mixed-income housing developments as a social and spatial integration strategy: the case of Fleurhof integrated residential development
    (University of the Witwatersrand, School of Architecture and Planning, 2017) Sibanda, Amanda
    The development of sustainable human settlements advocated in the 2004 Breaking New Ground-A Comprehensive Plan for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements has brought attention to the significance and meaning of integration. Mixed-income housing developments along with informal settlements upgrading are two approaches South Africa’s local governments have implemented to address rapid urbanisation and the urban housing demand that has proven to be a challenge in South Africa. The rationale behind these two approaches has been to address the increasing challenge of urban poverty, urban redevelopment and the entrenched issue of socio-spatial segregation. Social and spatial segregation are challenges the City of Johannesburg has been facing and are in constant battle to address. Urban spatial policies express the requirement for social and spatial integration in the city in order to achieve the overarching vision of becoming a sustainable socially inclusive compact city. Mixed-income housing developments have been touted as an approach that can achieve the implementation of social and spatial integration of urban neighbourhoods. They are seen as a method to integrating the urban poor, low-income individuals and families into the societal structures that will assist them in their upward drive in the economic ladder and influence their social behaviour, combating the social ills and notions of public housing; and addressing the spatial segregation of land use, transport and human settlements. The purpose of this research is to explore mixed-income housing development with the objective of socio-spatial integration and investigate the structures of social interactions. The case study for this research is Fleurhof Integrated Residential Development-a private-public mixed-income housing development located south-west of Johannesburg Central Business District. This research aims to investigate the processes and methods of social integration in Fleurhof and the ability of this development in achieving spatial integration.
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    The impact of the Gautrain station in Midrand.
    (School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand., 2017) Surti, Naeema
    Transport and the need for mobility in a city is dependent on the development of land uses, social factors and economic sectors. It is largely linked to the development of a country. When development takes place, expansion of road networks and in some cases rail networks take place as well, in order to access the new area. Passenger rail is not a new concept, and has been around for over two centuries. In South Africa however, it has been in existence for over 150 years. Metrorail, PRASA, Transnet and now the Gautrain are the three types of passenger rail available in Gauteng. With the Gautrain gaining popularity by the day, it is only natural to look at the way it has performed over the last six years. From 2010 to now, the Gautrain Rapid Rail has had an impact on the whole province. Its effects can be seen at all stations, especially at Sandton, Rosebank, Centurion and Pretoria. It has spurred all kinds of developments and investments into these areas, allowing them to grow and increase in value. This report seeks to understand the impact the Gautrain has had in Midrand, looking at its effect on development. It also seeks to demonstrate that Transit Oriented Development has a place in South Africa, and the Gautrain Stations are the best place to implement it. Midrand is still developing and because of this, it has the potential to flourish into a fully functional Transit Oriented Development.
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    Lived experiences of a physical shift: from informal settlements into mulit-storey RDP housed.
    (School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand., 2017) Mabasa, Rhulani Charity
    One in every eight people in the world live in informal settlements. The informal settlements sector is one of the oldest alternative providers of housing in cities for the majority that are not able to buy or rent a formal place of living. Official urban planning has shown an interest in addressing living conditions in informal settlements. In South Africa, the approach employed in addressing informal settlement conditions has mainly been through the provision of low-income housing. Scholars of urban planning and assessment reports in South Africa have illustrated how the low-income housing programme adopted in 1994 to roll-out houses to the previously disadvantaged citizens of the country has failed to deliver housing effectively and, in fact, perpetuated sprawl. Policy makers, urban planners and other spatial practitioners sought a way to effectively respond to informal settlements, house informal dwellers and densify cities. The multi-storey RDP was adopted as a solution to addressing these problems. Against this backdrop, this research report interrogates the lived experiences of shifting from informal settlements into multi-storey RDP housing. The interrogation uses Fleurhof Ext. 9 as a case study to reveal the lived experiences of former informal dwellers. This research reports on the ways in which the dwellers engage with the multi-storey dwelling in the common spaces of the neighborhood. The research also provides an outline of the opportunities and challenges that the dwellers of multi-storey RDP housing encounter in their daily living. This research builds an understanding of housing informal dwellers in multi-storey low-income housing. Moreover, the results of the research and recommendations offer spatial planning practitioners, designers and policy makers an insight of the performance of multi-storey housing built to upgrade and house informal dwellers, thereby informing them of possibilities of continuing in exploration of multi-storey RDP housing across the country for informal settlements.
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    The effects of densification on urban resilience in Parktown West.
    (School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand., 2017) Phewa, Nombuso
    African cities are continuously undergoing changes through densification and urban regeneration projects. Although mostly anticipated, these changes often have to be responded to with tools and strategies on maintaining the general character of the areas as the heritage and history then become affected. In this regard, it is crucial to observe the various ways through which densification affects the resilience of certain suburbs. This will aid in developing resilience thinking methods to aid in the maintenance and protection of the character of cities. In many countries around the world, governments are seeking to increase urban densities (Tighe, 2010). Residential densification is often the main focus in the densification policies of South African cities as a result of the apartheid legacy of sprawling, fragmented and racially segregated cities (Turok, 2011). The aim of this research is therefore to shed some light on the impact that densification in general has on urban resilience. The suburb of Parktown West has been selected as a case study. This research utilises qualitative research methods to establish ways through which densification has and is affecting Parktown West’s general urban resilience. The research findings suggest that the Parktown Residents’ Association, the Heritage Council, planning policy as well as the Parktown – Westcliff ridges are the key reasons behind the resilience of Parktown West’s urban environment. The study is therefore valuable in that it provides a perspective different to that of residential densification and its effects on urban resilience. The study recognises limits to the applicability as well as limits to the replicability of the study. Applicable limits are the factors identified as having contributed to the resilience of Parktown West and could still be applicable to a different context. Furthermore, the replicability of this research means that it can be conducted at a context different to Parktown West. Finally, the study recommends that South African cities need to adopt resilience thinking in order to anticipate changes to urban form that result from densification.
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    Land use changes along a spine road: Soshanguve residents’ use of private space.
    (School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand., 2017) Mashaba, Reabetswe
    From the late 1990s, townships have experienced substantial economic development. Townships have experienced increased spatial development and investments and housing is seen as an asset. This research report explores land use changes along a spine road, particularly in residents’ private space or properties. The research question addressed by this research report is; what activities are residents undertaking in their private space along Aubrey Matlala spine and what are the implications for land use management? The relevance of this research rises from the fact that it is undertaken in a peripheral township which has not been given much attention in literature. This research is a qualitative research taken on the basis of a single case study. The research is aimed at exploring small-scale and often informal private developments, and associated activities that are found in residential properties. The research is undertaken in one of South Africa’s townships, Soshanguve and particularly along an activity spine, Aubrey Matlala Road. The research investigates how residents along Aubrey Matlala road have attempted to maximize their assets and respond to socioeconomic opportunities that arise from developments. A related concern is the implications of these small-scale private investments in residential areas for land management in the context of post-apartheid spatial planning. South Africa’s changing landscape has not only had negative impacts on small-scale business activities, but has also provided opportunities that many residents have taken advantage of.