Sustainable Redevelopment Strategies for Structures in Informal Settlements

2008 homeSouth Africa houses a large number of informal settlements, many of which are located within Khayelitsha.  These informal settlements are very crowded and the living conditions are less than what the inhabitants would hope for. Even so, it is hard to make an improvement with little money coming into the settlements.

Monwabisi Park is a large informal settlement within Khayelitsha. Over twenty-five thousand people make up this community. These communities expanded quickly and very little planning was taken into account when developing the shacks. These buildings are comprised of corrugated iron and other materials that are inexpensive. The reason that these types of structures are prevalent in any type of informal settlement is because they are easy to construct and require no electricity or power tools to build. They can be completed within one or two days with the help of only a few people. However, these houses do not provide much insulation or temperature control. The shacks are a quick fix to the housing problem, but they are not suitable to live in for any length of time.

The government has tried to offer alternate housing to the shacks. However, even with this effort the government cannot keep up with the demand for housing. Within Monwabisi Park, the Shaster Foundation has played a large role in community structures. It has donated money to fund a guest house, a clinic, and a backpacker’s lodge. Ecobeam has also contributed to the efforts within Monwabisi Park.  Ecobeam has helped build the guest house and backpackers lodge. However, even with these three groups putting in a great amount of effort, the community still needs to undergo redevelopment.

While the government provides individual housing, these developments do not take the lifestyles of the African community into consideration. The houses do not offer land space around the building, which is a necessity for the religious beliefs of the African community. Even though the Shaster Foundation and Ecobeam have been great assets to the Monwabisi Park community, there has yet to be a wider upgrading plan for having put into effect. As of now, these two groups have focused on working within the Indlovu Center. A plan for the redevelopment of the housing in the community is the next step in the upgrading process of Monwabisi Park.

As the buildings team, we have researched and developed structures that can be used for future planning within the park. We have introduced the idea of cluster housing as well as a design for the new Indlovu Project. We have worked closely with Ecobeam and believe their materials will work well for the housing needed in this region. Much consideration of the traditions and lifestyle has influenced our designs and recommendations for the upgrading process of the park. Through our research and analysis we hope to provide a redevelopment process that will be useful and accepted within the community.

Meet the Team

For more information:

2008 Buildings Team Executive Summary

2008 Buildings Team Chapter of Envisioning Endlovini