Evaluating Interventions by the Department of Human Settlements to facilitate access to the city by the poor (Ref:VA 50/259): summary report
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In the absence of a specific policy to test, this report has explored the question of access to the city from a theoretical and empirical point of view by focusing on the broad variety of experiences of life on the urban frontier. It explores how urbanisation and state-supported settlement formation have evolved in different cities and places in order to draw conclusions about how housing policy might be adjusted to play a more significant role in providing the poor with access the city. The assessment in this report is based largely on a literature review and does not involve extensive primary research beyond a few illustrative case studies conducted in Cape Town. The work constitutes a pilot study or preliminary evaluation of a complex topic and changing field. The report, which is written in a narrative style, offers a people-centred, anthropological approach to the topic, which is both theoretical and ethnographic in nature. The report is divided into three parts: an overview of theories of the city and the urbanisation frontier; an assessment with case studies of five South African cities (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein and East London); and an ethnographic exploration of the meaning and limitations of urban access in three poor communities in Cape Town.