2016 Honours Reports

Permanent URI for this collection

For information on accessing Architecture content please contact Katlego Chiya via email : Katlego.Chiya@wits.ac.za or Tel (W) : 011 717 1978.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 24
  • Item
    Johannesburg city officials’ visions for low income housing typologies along the Corridors of Freedom
  • Item
    Social networks, Migrants and Densification.
    The ambiguous nature of cities has long been discussed by many scholars. Cities are both spaces of opportunity and abject poverty; connectivity to global circuits of goods, people and ideas, yet concurrently contain spaces of marginalisation (Kihato, 2009). The increase in backyard dwellings over the years has highlighted the high demand, and low supply for low-income housing in Johannesburg where many South Africans and international migrants relocate to for greater opportunities. This research report aims to document the relationship between backyard densification and the strategies of integration of migrants into their new host society. These experiences will be documented on the basis of social networks and interaction between the migrants and the locals. The urban form associated with backyard living provides a proximity which fosters intentioned and unintended interaction between neighbours. Backyard densification facilitates access and sustainability of social networks used by migrant women. These social networks play a significant role in the post migratory experiences of migrant women living in backyard dwellings in that they offer various types of support such as trading land, financial and emotional support and childcare just name a few. This research forms part of a greater study on resilient densification in Johannesburg, and though its scope is limited, I hope it will stir up further research pertaining to migration, gender and social networks.
  • Item
    Spatial Re-Configuration of Backyard Dwelling in Bram Fischerville
    Informal housing such as backyard housing in South Africa is essential as it has manged to absorb the low income group of people who cannot enter the formal market. Backyard housing offers a place where people can access services, employment opportunities as well as help maintain livelihoods. The research aims to illustrate how backyard dwellers have used spatial reconfiguration a strategy that helps them adapt to their accommodation circumstances. The finding has revealed the relationship between socio-economic and spatial aspects of backyard housing. These aspects not only contribute to the development of backyard housing, but as a way to maintain livelihoods.
  • Item
    The views of government officials on the Integrated Development Plan as a framework for local government that is developmental and responsive to peoples’ needs [Gauteng].
    At the crux of the developmental approach to local government in South Africa is the Integrated Development Plan enshrined in the Municipal Systems Act 2000.The integrated Development Plan has become an important tool in post-apartheid South Africa and remains the principal strategic planning instrument which guides and informs all planning and development, and all decisions with regards to planning, management and development in the municipalities. As such the IDP as a tool provides a framework for development and is intended to coordinate the input of local as well as the other spheres of government in a rational manner that improves the overall quality of life for local communities. However, more than two decades into democracy studies still point to communities who experience socio-economic exclusion and spatial poverty, without reasonable opportunities to transform their reality. As a result, this study investigated the views of government officials (involved in municipal integrated development processes) on the Integrated Development Plan as a framework for local government that is developmental and responsive to people’s needs. This was done uncover the strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures that accompany the implementation of the Integrated Development Plan across municipalities in Gauteng.
  • Item
    Exploring City official’s practices of community engagement
    Public participation is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa, and it is at the local government that most of the community engagement is undertaken. However with this being said there are a number of signs that indicate that South African people are unsatisfied with how the state engages with them. This paper looked at public participation from the official’s perspective, as it attempted to understand some of the challenges they face, the complexities of undertaking community as well how they navigate these challenges and complexities. The research study was conducted on officials of the Development Facilitation Unit at the Johannesburg Development Agency. Two dimensions of community engagement were presented. Firstly community engagement meetings and how they were conducted, and secondly what officials do with the information that is received from communities, this is what the research refers to as ‘the behind the scene work’.
  • Item
    Evaluating the Impacts of the Zola Backyard Upgrading Programme on Landlords and Backyard Dwellers in the Area
    Backyard rental accommodation is increasingly receiving attention from the state, urban planners and policy makers as one of the solutions to the housing problem in South Africa. The state in their quest to achieving sustainable human settlements, has through various policies and programmes attempted to address some of the challenges experienced by people ‘operating’ in the informal housing sector. The Gauteng Department of Housing’s (now Gauteng Department of Human Settlements) Zola. Backyard Upgrading Programme was one of these programmes, set up to revive dead capital in the township by ensuring that property owners in Zola get the maximum use value of their properties in a sustainable manner. The Department through the programme upgraded approximately 500 backyard shacks in Zola. The programme however, did not have the desired overall outcomes. This study is centred on identifying the rationalities of both the state who are implementers of the Zola Backyard Upgrading Programme, as well as, landlords and backyard dwellers, who were the target group for the upgrading programme. The research argues that the phenomenon of backyarding in Zola is best understood and explained through the perspectives and experiences of those who supply and those who occupy backyard dwellings and that often top-down state attempts at controlling and regularising such a complex and relatively functional housing sector could have negative impacts on both backyard dwellers and landlords, most of whom rely on income generated from this housing process.
  • Item
    Commuter Choices and Prospects for Improved Urban Mobility
    The purpose of the study is to understand the everyday social and spatial practices that affect transportation choices in the city from the perspective of public transport commuters. My research is a qualitative inquiry of commuter mobility choices and particularly the reasons behind them. In the pursuit to better understand how transport in South Africa can become more efficient in providing improved levels of access and mobility to a wider spectrum of people, my research focuses on contributing to an understanding of how and why people make individual travel decisions. It investigates how people are responding to the increasing public transportation options and aims to gain a deeper understanding of commuter choices concerning accessibility and mobility in Johannesburg. Drawing from theoretical writings on urban mobility and travel behaviours the main argument of my study is that commuter choices between different modes of transport are influenced by both various socio-economic, spatial and cultural factors, which are attached to practices, narratives and meanings. My study focuses on two transport modes operating along the Johannesburg – Soweto corridor within metropolitan Johannesburg: the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system and the Minibus Taxis (MBTs). It investigates how the two systems have addressed commuter mobility needs, and how commuters are responding to the increased transport options that have become available to them along this corridor. Based on semi-structured interviews, imagery, literature and detailed descriptions emanating from fieldwork, this research report presents everyday life in Pimville as a negotiation and displays the MBT and BRT stations and their users as active participants in this negotiation. The different themes present the different forms of commuter life as negotiation in Pimville.
  • Item
    Investigating the sustainability of the Housing Programme of Cornubia, with regards to Sustainable Human Settlements
    After the 1994 elections, housing initiatives, aimed to address the inequalities created within Apartheid, such as racial and socio-economic segregation. This resulted in the 1994 White Paper and 1997 Housing Act which encompassed some aspects of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). However, housing policy implementation was criticised for many reasons. This resulted in emergence of the Breaking New Ground (BNG) policy which aimed at creating sustainable human settlement, as opposed to just housing provision. In the past few years under BNG, government has adopted several programmes that promote the creation of sustainable development, sustainable human settlements and sustainable housing. In order to address this challenge and create sustainable human settlements, the eThekwini municipality envisioned the Cornubia Integrated Human Settlement Project. This is a partnership between the eThekwini municipality and Tongaat Hulett Development. Cornubia proposes a mixed-use development, with retail, commercial, light industry and residential components. The project is still under development, but phase 1a of the housing programme has been completed. The research draws on aspects and principles of sustainable development, sustainable housing and sustainable human settlements; and how the South African government engages with these principles through policies and strategies. Though the state has taken the initiative to provide housing in Durban through the Cornubia development, it is no longer sufficient to just provide housing to people, as a housing development needs to address more issues than accessing shelter. Therefore this research report looks at the sustainability practices and initiatives used within Cornubia’s Housing Programme. There are many plans and strategies put in place to ensure and promote economic, social and environmental sustainability, however, given that the housing programme is still within its early stages of development, many of these plans have either not fully materialised for have not been put in place due to lack of threshold. This results in the reality of what residents experience which contrasts what is proposed for the development, with regards to sustainability. Residents interviewed stated that they have not benefitted much (if not at all) from any plans and strategies that have supposedly been put in place. Over and above advocating for the full implementation of all plans and strategies put in place to create sustainability within the housing programme, the main recommendation of this research report is to address the title deed contract between residents and the eThekwini Municipality. Residents should be able to edit their house or use their house as collateral in order to improve their lives through creating SMMEs or acquiring loans.
  • Item
    Female Planners in the Workplace and in Planning Practice
    “Freedom cannot be achieved unless WOMEN have been emancipated from all forms of oppression. Our endeavours must be about the liberation of the WOMAN, the emancipating of the man and the liberty of the child” (Extract from a speech at opening of first democratic parliament by former SA President-, Nelson Mandela 1994) The above quote symbolizes the start of a new era, when all forms of oppression upon all men and women of different races are eliminated. Liberty was the driver of the new democratic South Africa and encompassed the drafting of new liberation policies. Its impacts included the entry of women in varied sectors of the work force, especially areas of work which were regarded as male domains. However, liberty is an immeasurable concept as it is relative to the person being liberated. The article written by Olusola Olufemi (2008) on the experiential and emotional encounters of women planners in Sub-Saharan Africa, provides a clear account of women through their entry into the male dominated planning profession; and found that they still facing different kinds of oppression.The types of oppression mentioned in her article are deemed to be tested in the current state of the planning profession and can only be known by the sharing of experiences of female planners in the workplace and planning practice.The research study does not only aim to obtain findings on the current experiences of female planners in the workplace, but also to understand the effect that the workplace context has on the planning pursuits and practices of the female planner. The research report comprises of documented experiences of women in the public, private and parastatal sectors, who occupy varied planning positions, with the second and the third chapters reviewing the foundational academic literature on women and planning as well as women’s incorporation into the planning profession.The research report concludes by elaborating on the findings of the relationship between the experiences of the workplace and its effect on the female planner’s planning practice. It also
  • Item
    Occupancy density shifts in the Jeppestown Area
  • Item
    GIS as a decision making tool for development projects in local government: A comparison of category B and C municipalities in Gauteng
    GIS has transformed the nature of business and decision making in various industries by providing insight, opportunities to change business outcomes. In planning GIS has provided opportunities for better decision making for spatial planning as well as other areas of planning. Even though the technology has evolved and grown into the decision making structures of local authorities in the developed world. In South Africa there is still a slower incorporation of GIS as a decision making tool within local government planning. The general performance of municipalities in South Africa has been poor as most municipalities failed to get clean audits. One of the leading results for poor municipal performance has been linked to ‘unfruitful expenditure’, poor management as well as wasteful spending, all which could relate to poor decision making. Most Gauteng municipalities have access to GIS but it is underused and mostly limited to mapping functions. The study investigated the use of GIS within two municipalities in Gauteng, South Africa. The study focuses on the strategic location and use of GIS in informing municipal planning decisions. The aim of the study was to highlight the role GIS can play in informing decision makers of best alternatives for planning projects while enhancing the performance of municipalities.
  • Item
    The value in seeing taxi associations: a lens for a new narrative about the taxi industry in transport planning
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Godsell, Abigail Elizabeth
    This research report develops a case study of the local and long distance Tembisa-Pretoria Taxi Association (TEPTA), in the context of the dearth of specific transport planning research on taxi associations and the shortfalls of planning knowledge on the taxi industry in general. Data collected from qualitative unstructured interviews with key members of the association build up a picture of nature and operation of this taxi association and its four facets: as a small business collective, as the local level of organisation of the taxi industry, as a collection of routes and as a community custodian. These observations are then used to question and challenge the existing way we as transport planners see taxis and associations, and its gaps, such as the omission of the highly regulated and recorded nature of the taxi industry. It explores the implications these challenges have for the transport planning profession in South Africa.
  • Item
    Retail in Johannesburg South: Perceived Impacts of Large Retail Establishments on the Business Performance of Spaza Shop Retailers and Street Traders in Orlando West
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Thantsha, Seremi
    Contemporary second and third space economies are continually experiencing significant growth patterns in economic developments. Initiatives of reconfiguring and rejuvenating previously marginalised and economically deprived communities are deemed as ‘supposed responses’ to the states failure of redressing and addressing the relenting heirlooms of apartheid. Understanding the nature and impacts of such transformative economic developments on economic, social, and spatial conditions has not been heavily necessitated in urban planning literature. This is in reference to the nature of their competitive dominance within township economies and their effects on the growth and sustainability of informal economic activities. To advance this wanting knowledge, Orlando West was selected as a sample area to represent all the townships in Johannesburg South. The report contributed to this understudied topic through capturing local street traders and spaza shop retailer’s perspectives on this issue. Qualitative methods and techniques were used as approaches to exploring and gaining knowledge on this growing economic conundrum in townships. This research study presents results involving eleven (N=11) key respondents who operate local small and micro retail businesses. Conclusions were drawn based on the eminent narratives provided by these selected key sources to help answer the main research question. To halt this continual propagation of monopoly domination, masked cannibalism, cryonic capitalism and the culture of consumerism the report recommends future directions based on related secondary-data and findings outlined in the study.
  • Item
    The Effects of Spatial Planning on Local Economic Development: How has the Orlando eKhaya Precinct Plan Impacted upon Local Business in Orlando, Soweto?
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Ntombela, Siphelelisiwe
    Post-apartheid transformation is based on focusing on previously neglected areas and improving their economies to eradicate inequality and segregation. Strategic spatial plans tend to focus on a limited number of strategic areas that require intervention, while LED focuses on the improvement of the local economy. Both of these planning mechanisms can be regarded as tools to restructure the space economy in post-apartheid SA. Government initiatives, namely the National Treasury’s Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant (NDPG), have been designed to facilitate economic growth and development in township areas, informal settlements and other marginalised settlements. The importance of focusing on improving the economic vitality and fostering social development in townships is twofold: firstly, for eradicating the economic stagnation and correcting the infrastructure deficit in townships and secondly, addressing the lack of integration of townships within the greater economy of the city. As a recipient of the NDPG, the Orlando eKhaya plan provides a useful scale to understand the relationship between strategic spatial planning and LED. The study sought to find out how this plan impacts upon local businesses in Orlando, Soweto, and specifically those in and around Bara Mall. The study draws on the experiences and perceptions of small business owners, in both the formal and informal sector. Face to face interviews with the business owners were conducted and policy documents were also consulted to provide a background to the planning interventions observed in Soweto. A desktop analysis of the spatial changes and economic performance of Soweto was also done to understand the realities of the space economy of Soweto and Johannesburg. It was found that all business were first time business owners, which may be an indication of a blossoming entrepreneurial spirit in the township. However, this entrepreneurial activity occurs in a survivalist manner as business owners had minimal prospects of growing their businesses. The study found that formal businesses at Bara Mall are not profitable as most of them only make enough money to cover expenses. Many shops at the mall have closed due to high rents and their businesses are not benefitting from the surrounding developments. The main issues faced by the formal business owners were the lack of integration with surrounding developments and increased competition from informal traders. Another challenge was the departure of bigger businesses and banks (which results in fewer customers for the small businesses that remain). The shopping mall has provided a new trading zone for informal traders but their timeous evictions by the police reveal that hostile working conditions persist despite the traders’ negotiations to occupy the space. Although they benefit from the foot traffic 6 outside the mall, the traders only make enough profits “to put food on the table” – like the majority of survivalist enterprises. All interviewees continued to buy their supplies from the city centre – which continues to reinforce the spatial and economic inequality between Johannesburg and the township. The poor performance of both formal and informal businesses provides some insight into the manner in which strategic planning and LED intersect in the township context. The dominant model for LED in townships has been found to be shopping malls – which attract informal activities. While the research sought to interrogate the Orlando eKhaya precinct plan’s ability to bring about LED, it emerged from the research findings that everyday realities may hinder the realisation of integrated strategic spatial planning in the envisaged manner. It has emerged that strategic spatial plans bring about unintended consequences, some of which are positive and benefit small businesses. Strategic planning in post-apartheid South Africa (especially in the township context) has been found to have minimal impacts on the ground and unable to adequately grapple with local conditions. There is an insufficient use of strategic planning as an instrument in LED in the case of Orlando eKhaya as the development of small businesses is not prioritised. Following the findings and analysis, the study provides recommendations for LED, strategic planning and the facilitation of the development of small businesses.
  • Item
    Implications for using Shipping Containers to Provide Affordable Housing
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Maphumulo, Minenhle
    Southern African cities are more and more characterised by rapid urbanisation. Urban planners and other spatial practitioners are thus increasingly expected to develop innovative strategies around affordable housing to accommodate the influx populations moving to urban environments in the 21st century. In light of this, understanding the underlying elements that influence the perceptions towards alternative building materials is critical to identifying the implications of employing such components for housing. As such, shipping containers are gradually becoming a part of many contemporary cities around the world; however, that is still not the case in South African cities – even though, they are widely available and according to trends, they are a low-cost building resource. To interrogate this, the 61 Countesses container residential building in Windsor East, Johannesburg has been selected for this case study to reveal residents’ opinion. Public attitudes play a significant role in the success or failure of planning initiatives (Tighe, 2010). Recognising and understanding the aspects that sway public acceptance and the opposition is an important step in the planning process, this is especially the case for affordable housing developments, as they are often confronted by many barriers. This research report provides the residents’ perceptions of shipping container housing developments, based on their experience, with the purpose of, first, understanding the views held towards shipping containers as building units, and second to review the contribution that this particular building has made toward densifying the Windsor East neighbourhood. This research report further offers a cross-examination of neighbours’ opinions of shipping container housing and social housing to reveal a link between the two. This is to build a better understanding of the possibilities of shipping container affordable housing in the Johannesburg context. This research report shows how shipping containers have been used and received in Windsor East. This research also indicates that shipping containers are more accepted in rental housing typologies. The results and recommendations offer urban planners, policy makers and developers insight of shipping container residential opinion, thereby informing them of the possibilities for shipping containers in the South African context.
  • Item
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Gawbeni, Siphosethu
  • Item
    Investigating the usefulness of green dual fuel Metrobuses for Sustainability in Johannesburg, through the 'New beginning for Metrobus' programme.
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Brink, Daniel
    In the face of Climate Change, all cities and their citizens are facing a choice as to how they will use and consume energy. In the variety of energy choices that exist, none are perfectly suited to solving the dynamic and wide ranging problem of Sustainability. The purpose of this report is aimed at investigating an alternative energy choice made by the City of Johannesburg. In order to determine the extent to which dual fuel buses are Sustainable, an exploration of the highly technical paradigm of Natural Gas Vehicles is necessary. Once the technical problems of Alternative and Renewable energy are understood, only then can the question be answered. The thrust of this research will attempt to answer this question by exploring Natural Gas Vehicle technology in Johannesburg and how it is, or could be Sustainable.
  • Item
    Private Student Housing in Braamfontein
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Ncame, Sikhokele
    The limited capacity of on-campus university provided student housing has created a niche for the private sector to fill the gap and provide additional housing for students at institutions of higher education and training in South Africa. Braamfontein, with its large student population, is an example of a neighbourhood that boasts a significant number of private student dwellings that house students in learning institutions that are situated within the precinct and within the broader Johannesburg context. The focus of this research centres on exploring the perceptions of students regarding the quality and affordability of private student housing in Braamfontein, as well as assessing whether private student housing in the precinct meets and fulfils the requirements outlined in the policy for the minimum norms and standards for student housing at public universities in South Africa.
  • Item
    What are the complexities surrounding the provision of social infrastructure in South African metropolitan areas considering the Corridors of Freedom plan?
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Ngoma, Ralph
    The City of Johannesburg has embarked on corridor-development plan to assist in spatially restructuring the spatially fragmented urban form of Johannesburg, which for a long time has disadvantaged poor inhabitants of city which live far from economic centres. The poor seem to be most affected by the inefficient urban form, and that means the city is at the forefront of the public mandate, to redress the past injustices and allow equitable distribution resources. The Corridors of Freedom plan is a corridor development plan aimed at transforming the city through specialised nodal developments along corridors (supported by Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The research project will focus on the Empire-Perth corridor, particularly on the Westbury precinct. The focus will zero in on the precinct of Westbury, which lies along the corridor. The research project involves assessing the norms and standards of social infrastructure provision in Johannesburg, with a focus on education, health and sport facilities. The assessment will be in correspondence with the Corridors of Freedom plans to provide social infrastructure facilities in Westbury, Johannesburg. Therefore this will be a two-fold assessment of 1) the current norms and standards of the provision of education, health and sport facilities, 2) evaluation of the technical, spatial specifications of the CoF proposed facilities to be provided in Westbury as part of the Strategic Area Framework (SAF).
  • Item
    The social impacts of the Rea Vaya bus system on the residents of localities affected by the development: The Case of Rea Vaya in Moroka, Soweto
    (University of the Witwatersrand; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, 2016) Ubisi, Skhulile
    The Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 makes provision for community participation – as a tool to uplift/promote democracy at local level – prior to the implementation of large scale municipal development initiatives directly affecting communities. Although this has been the case with the CoJ’s Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, much media and scholarly attention has been placed on the Mini-Bus Taxi (MBT) industry and the extent to which its main stakeholders (taxi owners and drivers) are being socio-economically incorporated in the system. Yet, little attention has been given to the concerned commuters and/or communities, particularly their concerns and suggestions about the system. Aimed at filling this gap – and thus giving the community a voice in the operation of the BRT - this investigated the implications of Rea Vaya for the residents of Moroka, Soweto. The study targeted both users and non-users of Rea Vaya; and categorised the community impacts into five themes - safety, mobility, visual quality and liveability, and accessibility. Findings: Interactions with some residents of Moroka shed light on the actuality that in so far as Rea Vaya has socio-economically both its users and the Moroka community at large, the system is seen to be failing them. While the BRT stations, with their art (paintings, sculpture) and newly connected City WiFi system, have contributed to Moroka’s aesthetic value and digital connectivity of the area to other places. As well, it was noted that the system has ushered in developments such as the park and ride facility, among others, which has created employment opportunities for some community members. Yet, seven years later, the Rea Vaya BRT system has not managed to provide a reliable and accessible alternative mode of public transport. The level of service – particularly the electronic system – appears to be failing many of the respondents, and the low area coverage was seen as a major setback. This has meant that taxis remain more accessible for the Moroka community. Moreover, the findings reveal that little community participation was conducted prior to the implementation of the transportation project – the interviewed participants revealed that they were not involved in the determination of the routes that Rea Vaya would take - which has led to questions around who exactly the development is for: the government’s or the community’s. The findings indicate that even though the respondents appreciate the transformation of public transport in their neighbourhood, they have suggestions as to how its full potential can be realised and optimised. These results affirm that there is still more room for improvement in Rea Vaya in order for the system’s potential and operation to be optimised.