Revisiting the approach to Informal Settlement Development in South Africa : with a special focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS
Cornelius, Gertruida Selna
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The problems associated with the informal settlements of South Africa, are not unknown, neither are they recent. Throughout the years, hundreds of initiatives have been established, aimed at addressing the disjointed spatial patterns, social and economic problems persisting in these informal settlements. Loads of programmes and projects have been implemented in order to address these challenges. However, despite all these initiatives, the challenges faced by the informal settlements persist. Taking these persisting challenges and problems faced by informal settlements in South Africa into consideration, the question arises: is it not time to revisit the approach to Informal Settlement Development in South Africa, especially focusing on the spatial, socio-economic and psychological impacts of HIV & AIDS? It is no secret that the prevalence of HIV & AIDS is a huge problem in South Africa. It has a vast impact on the country‟s demographic profile and this consequently leads to spatial as well as psychosocial impacts, especially concerning the communities living within South Africa‟s Informal Settlements. The growing number of maternal orphans as well as the high mortality rate amongst the adult (and economically active) population, raises cause for enormous concern regarding the impacts of these demographic changes on the socio-economic environment as well as spatial development within these areas. In order to achieve sustainable human settlement development, extensive research is needed within the spatial and psychosocial environment within which these informal settlements function. Current approaches to informal settlement development within South Africa do not take the needs of HIV & AIDS affected households into consideration. Housing and other forms of aid are provided on an ad hoc basis. This study explores the existing approaches to informal settlement development in South Africa and other selected case study areas within Africa. Based on the results of the research conducted during this study, a new perspective on informal settlement development will be proposed as well as the development of an Informal Settlement Development Model as an alternative approach to informal settlement development in South Africa.