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Working paper
Working Paper [1.2MB]


Core housing consolidation in Khayelitsha

Following 26 years of core housing consolidation and the struggle to achieve a sense of dignity


This working paper by Tikvah Breimer of the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) and Mark Napier of Urban LandMark, analyses the provision of core housing in Khayelitsha, specifically taking into account the residents' response to the state's delivery of core housing. It aims to explore to what extent the South African government's approach to providing large-scale housing addresses the relevant demands in the context of rapid urbanisation.

The core housing concept originated in the 1950s, and has once again become part of the housing debate. Typically, core houses are built with the intention that residents will subsequently extend and improve their homes. However, not much is known about how people responded to this type of housing delivery over the long term, and how it impacts on their lives, particularly on the future of 'adult descendants'.

The article covers the perspectives of families who have inhabited core housing plots for over two decades. The focal point is therefore on the main households living on these plots, with careful attention to household composition and both constraints and opportunities in the use of the plot from the point of view of the people themselves. Since the initial super-structure provided is so small, it almost certainly implies housing stress. Therefore extension of the core house is inherent to this concept. Several strategies of how people have been able to realise the consolidation of their homes are discussed, including ingenuity in response to internal densification on the site.

As interest in the concept of core housing intensifies, it is crucial to integrate the lessons learnt in the past and engage in a quest for more effective implementation. The findings in this article are discussed to determine their implications for core housing programmes at scale. Highlighting several challenges, it is argued that the core housing concept has the potential to be further shaped into an effective tool with which governments can guide urbanisation.

This paper represents one of a number of working papers to be released by Urban LandMark.

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