Towards effective self-help housing delivery: Contributions through network analysis in Nairobi,Kenya and Johannesburg,South Africa

Omenya, Alfred Odhiambo
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This thesis deals with self-help housing networks in Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa. It starts by discussing some of the current manifestations and challenges of self-help housing in the two contexts. It locates these against neo-liberal development paradigms in Kenya and South Africa. It reviews some of the main theories and concepts that have been applied to understand self-help housing, arguing that there are many issues that these lenses fail to explain. Amongst these are the relationships amongst actors and the ways resources are exchanged in self-help housing. The thesis discusses some of the key resources used for self-help housing in Nairobi and Johannesburg, namely: land, finance, labour, materials and technology, and infrastructure and services. It develops a case for network analysis of these resources and actors in self-help housing. The second part of the thesis is dedicated to analysis of self-help housing networks in Nairobi and Johannesburg, based on empirical data. The three categories of networks analysed are: individual-based ego-centric networks; group-based networks of collective action; and content-of-ties-based networks of exchange. The study compares self-help housing networks in Nairobi and Johannesburg. On one hand, lack of the state intervention in Kenya has resulted in self-help housing in Nairobi being accessed almost exclusively through networks. On the other hand, state intervention in South Africa has resulted in weakening of ties within local groups and domination of state/market hierarchies in access to various self-help housing resources in Johannesburg. The major conclusion from this study is that, in both cities, networks remain a viable third way of provision of housing, in addition to (not instead of) housing production through state/market hierarchies and decentralised models. Networks tend to overcome lack of inclusion dominant in state/market hierarchies and lack of capacity, endemic in decentralised models. In terms of analysis, the study shows that network theories are relevant to understanding the operations of actors and access to resources in low-income housing, complementing sector-based understanding, which remains dominant in analysis of low-income housing today.
Student Number : 0111065D - PhD thesis - School of Architecture and Planning - Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
self-help housing, housing network analysis, self-help housing Nairobi, self-help housing Johannesburg