'Normal' Informal living spaces in low-income human settlements in South Africa

Ojo-Aromokudu, Loggia, C and Georgiadou, M.C. 2016. 'Normal' Informal living spaces in low-income human settlements in South Africa. Perry, G. and Ledwon, S. (ed.) 52nd International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) Congress. Durban 12 - 16 Sep 2016 ISOCARP.

Title'Normal' Informal living spaces in low-income human settlements in South Africa
AuthorsOjo-Aromokudu, Loggia, C and Georgiadou, M.C.
EditorsPerry, G. and Ledwon, S.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Housing delivery remains a major burden on the South African government. The ever increasing backlog of delivering standard housing to the low-income sector remains, and the unwanted informal settlements continue to increase in the urban areas. For many migrant urban poor, the informal has become the normal despite the challenges of spaces for daily activities, especially the lack of space for social and cultural practices. For households that have received the standard subsidized houses, challenges of space limitations still exist. This is evident with innovative extensions being carried out by households in the state subsidized housing settlements in a bid to accommodate various socio-economic and cultural activities. These extensions are often in contravention of municipal norms and standards, and can lead to slummed environments if not checked. This paper seeks to compare how households deal with socio-cultural practices in informal dwellings and settlements and how the practice is handled in the formal (subsidized) settlements. The study advocates for a more flexible and contextual policies that is informed by grassroots approaches, which are layered and multifaceted, with not merely socio-economic but also socio-cultural imprints, are essential to meet urban poor’s needs. A theoretical approach, combined with a pilot study based on observations and interviews with inhabitants, is applied to narrate the daily activity of households and to deeply understand their characteristics of “normal informality” in some low income settlements located in KwaZulu-Natal province (South Africa). The overarching aim of this research is to re-examine informal settlements through the “normal” lenses of the community. The study starts investigating the meaning of ‘Informal settlement’ questioning normality and informality. It argues that in-fact the informal settlements can be said to the normal at least for many urban poor. The intended “Normality”, based on pre-defined standards, is compared with the Indigenous Normality and the pilot study’s findings suggest the need to incorporate the latter in policy and upgrading programs led by the community.

Year2016
Conference52nd International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) Congress
PublisherISOCARP
Publication dates
Published2016
Book titleProceedings of the 52 nd ISOCARP Congress Durban, South Africa, 12-16 September 2016: Cities We Have vs. Cities We Need
ISBN9789490354473
Web address (URL) of conference proceedingshttp://isocarp.org/52nd-isocarp-congress/2016-congress-proceedings/
Web address (URL)http://isocarp.org/app/uploads/2016/09/2016_Proceedings_1-3-1.pdf

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Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9z339/-normal-informal-living-spaces-in-low-income-human-settlements-in-south-africa


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