International Development Planning Review

From 'quantity' to 'quality': Restructuring South Africa's housing policy ten years after

International Development Planning Review (2006), 28, (1), 85–104.

Abstract

Ten years after the South African Department of Housing (DoH) released its 1994 White Paper which set out a new national housing vision, policy, and strategy, the cabinet approved a new document entitled 'Breaking New Ground: a Comprehensive Plan for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements', which sets out the government's approach to housing delivery for the next five years. The DoH has stated that the new document should not be viewed as a fundamental change from the 1994 policy, but rather as an 'enhancement'. A thorough reading of the document, however, reveals that it does introduce some fundamental changes, among them shifting from 'quantity' to 'quality' and therefore from 'breadth' to 'depth' in low-cost housing delivery; shifting the housing process from 'supply-driven' to 'demand-driven'; promoting in situ upgrading of informal settlements over the former greenfield developments; and acknowledging the need for the government to assume part of the risk involved in private sector lending to low-income households.

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Tomlinson, Mary