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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    Conflicting rationalities in densifying the Corridors of Freedom: the case of the knowledge precinct.
    (University of the Witwatersrand, School of Architecture and Planning, 2017) Tshiashi, Livhuwani Waren
    The City of Johannesburg’s spatial structure still resembles the apartheid spatial configuration. The marginalized are still mostly located at the outskirts of the city without the monetary means to move to well-located areas and closer to economic opportunities. The City has highlighted the daily hardships of the poor as a major problem. Furthermore, the majority of the working class have to spend approximately 20 per cent of their monthly income on transport (City of Johannesburg, 2015). The lack of affordable housing in close proximity to the inner city further adds to the challenges. The City seeks to address these challenges through Corridor and Transit Oriented developments (TOD). According to the City, through the use of cheaper, efficient transportation systems, people will be able to spend less time commuting to and from work (City of Johannesburg, 2015). However, transportation forms only but one part of the plan to try and bring people closer to economic opportunities. The City seeks to accommodate people of different socio-economic stature along the proposed developmental corridors. TOD builds on densification as a tool to increase populations around transport systems in order to maximize public transport use. They create an environment that stimulates the use of alternative transport to private cars. Through mixed land-use, the City seeks to create integrated neighbourhoods where people will ‘live, work and play’ without having to travel long distances (City of Johannesburg, 2015). However, TOD is often associated with rising property prices (Curtis, et al., 2009). In a context where there is a need for affordable housing in well-located areas, there is a risk that TOD will result in higher property prices and pose a threat to the inclusion of low-income residents in the City. People living in cities in Africa have often looked at bottom-up approaches to solving their problems. Despite being regarded as ‘informal’ these practices are a norm and they are an important component of the city fabric (Jenkins, 2013). Backyard housing is an example of these practices and it significantly reduces the housing demand in South Africa (Lemanski, 2009). Furthermore, it is an affordable housing alternative that performs various roles for poor households. The aim of this research is to find out how people in the Corridors of Freedom perceive densification and their position on the proposed densification policy in light of the need for affordable housing in the Knowledge Precinct. It draws on the characteristics of TOD and questions the feasibility of achieving affordable housing through TOD and whether or not ‘unconventional’ or ‘informal’ ways to densification have a place in the Corridors of Freedom. The research concludes by drawing on the possible impacts of TOD on housing affordability and provide recommendations on how affordable housing could be achieved in the Corridors of Freedom.
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    Impacts of urban regeneration in Johannesburg's inner city: a study of Maboneng in relation to Jeppestown
    (University of the Witwatersrand, School of Architecture and Planning, 2017) Mashiri, Lesley
    It is evident that urban regeneration has been able to revitalize the Johannesburg inner-city and improve its urban environment. The project has been able to bring investment and people back into to inner-city, however it is important to analyse what type of investment is returning as this has a bearing on who is being attracted back to the city. The study examines neighbourhood in Jeppestown in order to assess the urban contestations over space as well as the impacts of urban regeneration on the lives of the people in Jeppestown. A significant part of the literature covers the process of urban regeneration and the factors existing in cities which lead to it being needed to improve the urban environment. The second part suggests that urban regeneration causes exclusion and forced evictions of pre-existing lower- income residents in the effort to make way for the middle class leading to undesirable social problems such as urban marginality and segregation. The study finds that Jeppestown and Maboneng can develop a symbiotic relationship provided that there is a connection between the two.
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    Multiplicity of registration systems: multiplicity of research strategies
    (University of the Witwatersrand, School of Architecture and Planning, 2017) Mbele, Nomamfengu
    This research is about assessing the registration policy instrument utilised by various street trader management stakeholders. The research focuses on how the street traders experience these registration systems in the current street trader management context. Taking on the phenomenological qualitative research approach, the research tells the stories of registration, as told by street traders in and around Noord Street linear markets. This will be used as an attempt to explore and document the otherwise messily understood registration systems. The dominant and formalised municipal registration systems are plagued by the inconsistency, fragmentation and unilateral decision making which has contributed to restrictive, yet more importantly the disempowerment of street traders. Whilst the informal civil-society registrations is characterised by collective, unifying and effective practices that have given the street traders an element of empowerment, yet there is still an urge to establish a management tool that would give the traders comprehensive empowerment to deconstruct the unequal power relations that persist in the South African society.
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    Evaluating self-help initiatives in the upgrading of informal settlements
    (School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand., 2017) Mbunjana, Zizipho
    Apartheid spatial policies have left many black South Africans living in peripheral areas far from their places of employment. These people have occupied vacant land closer to urban areas and have built what they now refer to as home in an attempt to integrate themselves into the city. This research paper highlights the government’s failure to provide access to affordable housing for low-income people in well-located areas close to economic opportunities. The paper will look specifically at the Slovo Park informal settlement’s self-help project and the benefits the community derived from this initiative. The research will then show that self-help housing is a desirable approach to upgrading informal settlements, although it is not highly supported by government officials. The paper also proves that communities are willing to provide their own housing, provided there are sufficient infrastructural services.