Moving towards a strategy for the sustainable delivery of emergency housing and temporary residential accommodation in the City of Cape Town

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This dissertation presents the current reality of a South African city, Cape Town. Based on the literature it has been established that a large proportion of South Africa’s population lives in urban areas. South African cities are centres of opportunities and have the promise of a better life but they are also characterised by marginalisation, poverty and poorly managed urban growth. Informal settlements have become a ubiquitous feature of South Africa’s urban landscape. The combination of poverty, marginality, overcrowding and limited service provision, exposes residents to a range of ongoing hazards, particularly informal dwelling fires which creates an environment prone to risks and can be devastating for affected households. The current response from government has been analysed through the process of interviewing government officials; policy and institutional analysis, is to temporarily house people in Temporary Relocation Areas (TRAs) if affected by a situation that leaves them rendered homeless. It is believed to be an adequate response. However, as the research reveals, this response often exacerbates people’s resilience to deal with the disaster and the accumulation of risks found in informal settlements. Additionally it further places people in a vulnerable situation as Temporary Relocation Areas (TRAs) have limited service provision and are often located in remote areas far from opportunity centres. The intention of the research was to come up with a new strategy to address emergency response in the form of settlement provision for those affected by disasters. It was further discovered that there needs to be a more sustainable approach that would reduce risk accumulation in informal settlements in a proactive manner in order to mitigate the occurrence of disasters and slowly build resilience.

Includes bibliographical references.