Housing, planning and urban health: historical and current perspectives from South Africa
KeywordsInformal housing, urban planning, urban health, capabilities approach, South Africa
Globally, policymakers often describe informal settlements and slums in terms of health problems. In this paper we trace the way housing and planning have been linked to health concerns in the history of South Africa and we assess post-apartheid literature on the topic. We note that researchers continue to rely on a biomedical understanding of the relationship between housing, planning and health although, we argue, the links between them are tenuous. We propose the capabilities approach as a way to understand this relationship. Reframing the relationship between housing, planning and health within the capabilities approach may improve the current understanding of this link. Aim. This paper discusses the historical links between housing, planning and health in South Africa, assesses post-apartheid policy, and reviews post-apartheid literature on the relationship between housing, planning and health. Results and conclusions. We find it is assumed that the link between housing, planning and health is a biomedical concern and not a social concern. We argue that scholars thinking about this relationship should consider the opportunities embedded in the capabilities approach to understand health outside the biomedical frame.
Alaazi, D. A., & Aganah, G. A. (2019). Understanding the slum–health conundrum in sub-Saharan Africa: a proposal for a rights-based approach to health promotion in slums. Global health promotion.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1757975919856273
Anand, P. (2005). Capabilities and health. Journal of Medical Ethics, 31(5), 299-303.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jme.2004.008706
Ataguba, J. E. O., Day, C., & McIntyre, D. (2015). Explaining the role of the social determinants of health on health inequality in South Africa. Global health action, 8(1), 28865.DOI: https://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v8.28865.
Biswas, A. (2019). A framework to analyse inclusiveness of urban policy. Cities, 87, 174-184. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2018.09.022.
Breton, E., & Sherlaw, W. (2013). Penser la programmation en santé publique dans une perspective de capabilités. Revue d'Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique, 61, S89-S94.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respe.2013.03.002.
Charlton, S., & Kihato, C. (2006). Reaching the poor? An analysis of the influences on the evolution of South Africa’s housing programme. Democracy and delivery. In: Urban policy in South Africa, 254.
Christopher, A. (1987). Apartheid planning in South Africa: the case of Port Elizabeth. In: The Geographical Journal 153(2) 195–204.DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/634871
Cross, C. (2008, October). Housing delivery as anti-poverty: is South Africa on the right track?. In: Southern African Housing Foundation International Conference (pp. 12-15).
Davenport, T. R. H. (1985). Some reflections on the history of land tenure in South Africa, seen in the light of attempts by the state to impose political and economic control. In: Acta Juridica, 53.
de Wet, T., Plagerson, S., Harpham, T., & Mathee, A. (2011). Poor housing, good health: a comparison of formal and informal housing in Johannesburg, South Africa. In: International journal of public health, 56(6), 625-633.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-011-0269-1
Dewar, D. (1977). Housing: A comparative evaluation of urbanism in Cape Town. Cape Town: Urban Problems Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
Govender, T. (2011). The health and sanitation status of specific low-cost housing communities as contrasted with those occupying backyard dwellings in the City of Cape Town, South Africa (Doctoral dissertation, Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University).
Govender, T., Barnes, J. M., & Pieper, C. H. (2010). Living in low-cost housing settlements in Cape Town, South Africa—the epidemiological characteristics associated with increased health vulnerability. In: Journal of Urban Health, 87(6), 899-911. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-010-9502-0
Govender, T., Barnes, J. M., & Pieper, C. H. (2011a). Contribution of water pollution from inadequate sanitation and housing quality to diarrheal disease in low-cost housing settlements of Cape Town, South Africa.In: American Journal of Public Health, 101(7), e4-e9.
Govender, T., Barnes, J. M., & Pieper, C. H. (2011b). Housing conditions, sanitation status and associated health risks in selected subsidized low-cost housing settlements in Cape Town, South Africa. In: Habitat International, 35(2), 335-342. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2010.11.001
Harrison, P. (1992). Urbanization: the policies and politics of informal settlement in South Africa: a historical perspective. In: Africa Insight, 22(1), 14-22. Link: https://hdl.handle.net/10520/AJA02562804_404
Huchzermeyer, M. (2004). Unlawful occupation: Informal settlements and urban policy in South Africa and Brazil: Africa World Press.
Huchzermeyer, M. (2006). The new instrument for upgrading informal settlements in South Africa: contributions and constraints. In: Informal settlements: A perpetual challenge, 41-61.
Huchzermeyer, M. (2010). Pounding at the tip of the iceberg: The dominant politics of informal settlement eradication in South Africa. In: Politikon, 37(1), 129-148. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02589346.2010.492153
Huchzermeyer, M. (2011). Cities with'Slums: From informal settlement eradication to a right to the city in Africa. Juta and Company Ltd.
Mabin, A., & Smit, D. (1997). Reconstructing South Africa’s cities? The making of urban planning 1900–2000. In: Planning perspectives, 12(2), 193-223. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/026654397364726
Makene, C. (2008). Housing-related risk factors for respiratory disease in low cost housing settlements in Johannesburg, South Africa (Doctoral dissertation).
Marais, H. (2007). The uneven impact of AIDS in a polarized society. In: Aids, 21, S21-S29.
Marais, L., & Cloete, J. (2014). “Dying to get a house?” The health outcomes of the South African low-income housing programme. In: Habitat International, 43, 48-60. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2014.01.015
Marais, L., & Krige, S. (2000). Who received what where in the Free State, 1994–1998: an assessment of post-apartheid housing policy and delivery. In: Development Southern Africa, 17(4), 603-619.
Marais, L., Sharp, C., Pappin, M., Lenka, M., Cloete, J., Skinner, D., & Serekoane, J. (2013). Housing conditions and mental health of orphans in South Africa. In: Health & place, 24, 23-29. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.08.004.
Mathee, A., Barnes, B., Naidoo, S., Swart, A., & Rother, H. A. (2018). Development for children's environmental health in South Africa: Past gains and future opportunities. In: Development Southern Africa, 35(2), 283-293. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0376835X.2017.1419857.
Mathee, A., Harpham, T., Barnes, B., Swart, A., Naidoo, S., de Wet, T., & Becker, P. (2009). Inequity in poverty: the emerging public health challenge in Johannesburg. In: Development Southern Africa, 26(5), 721-732. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03768350903303266
Nicholls, C. M. (2009). Agency, transgression and the causation of homelessness: A contextualised rational action analysis. In: European Journal of Housing Policy, 9(1), 69-84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14616710802693607.
Muller, E. A. (2001). Quantification of the human health risks associated with kerosene use in the informal settlement of Cato Manor, Durban.
Naicker, N., Teare, J., Balakrishna, Y., Wright, C., & Mathee, A. (2017). Indoor temperatures in low cost housing in Johannesburg, South Africa. In: International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(11), 1410. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14111410/
Narsai, P., Taylor, M., Jinabhai, C., & Stevens, F. (2013). Variations in housing satisfaction and health status in four lower socio-economic housing typologies in the eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. In: Development Southern Africa, 30(3), 367-385. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0376835X.2013.817304.
Norman, R., Barnes, B., Mathee, A., Bradshaw, D., & Collaboration, S. A. C. R. A. (2007). Estimating the burden of disease attributable to indoor air pollution from household use of solid fuels in South Africa in 2000. In: South African Medical Journal, 97(8), 764-771.
Nussbaum, M. (2002). Capabilities and social justice. In: International Studies Review, 4(2), 123-135. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1521-9488.00258.
Nussbaum, M. (2003). Capabilities as fundamental entitlements: Sen and social justice. In: Feminist economics, 9(2-3), 33-59. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1354570022000077926.
Olufemi, O. (1999). Health of the homeless street women in South Africa. In: Habitat International, 23(4), 481-493. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0197-3975(99)00022-3.
Parnell, S. (1993). Creating racial privilege: the origins of South African public health and town planning legislation. In: Journal of Southern African Studies, 19(3), 471-488. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057079308708370.
Ralston, M. (2017). The role of older persons’ environment in aging well: Quality of life, illness, and community context in South Africa. In: The Gerontologist, 58(1), 111-120. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnx091.
Ruger, J. P. (2007). Rethinking equal access: agency, quality, and norms.In: Global Public Health, 2(1), 78-96. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17441690600911480.
Sen, A., & Nussbaum, M. (1993). Capability and well-being. The quality of life. In: Nussbaum, Sen, A.(Eds.), Oxford, Clarendon.
Shisana, O., Rehle, T., Simbayi, L. C., Parker, W., Zuma, K., Bhana, A., ... & Pillay, V. (2005). South African national HIV prevalence, HIV incidence, behavior and communication survey, 2005. Cape Town, South Africa.
Shortt, N. K., & Hammett, D. (2013). Housing and health in an informal settlement upgrade in Cape Town, South Africa. In: Journal of housing and the built environment, 28(4), 615-627.
Simon, J., Anand, P., Gray, A., Rugkåsa, J., Yeeles, K., & Burns, T. (2013). Operationalising the capability approach for outcome measurement in mental health research. In: Social science & medicine, 98, 187-196. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.09.019.
Smit, W., De Lannoy, A., Dover, R. V., Lambert, E. V., Levitt, N., & Watson, V. (2015). Making unhealthy places: the built environment and non-communicable diseases in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. In: Health Place, 35, 11-8. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.healthplace.2015.06.006.
Thomas, E. (2006). Social capital and mental health of women living in informal settlements in Durban, South Africa, and Lusaka, Zambia.
Thomas, E. P., Seager, J. R., Viljoen, E., Potgieter, F., Rossouw, A., Tokota, B., ... & Kjellen, M. (1999). Household Environment and Health in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Cape Town: Medical Research Council.
Thomson, H., Petticrew, M., & Morrison, D. (2001). Health effects of housing improvement: systematic review of intervention studies. In: Bmj, 323(7306), 187-190. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7306.187.
Tlhabanelo, M. P. (2011). The impact of urban renewal on the health status of the community of Evaton (Doctoral dissertation, Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch).
Van Wyk, R. (2007). A review of health and hygiene promotion as part of sanitation delivery programmes to informal settlements in the City of Cape Town. CPUT Theses & Dissertations, 48.
Vearey, J. (2008). Migration, access to ART, and survivalist livelihood strategies in Johannesburg. In: African Journal of AIDS Research, 7(3), 361-374. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2989/AJAR.2008.7.3.13.660.
Vearey, J. (2011). Challenging urban health: towards an improved local government response to migration, informal settlements, and HIV in Johannesburg, South Africa. In: Global health action, 4(1), 5898. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v4i0.5898.
Venkatapuram, S. (2013). Health justice: An argument from the capabilities approach. John
Wiley & Sons.
Venter, A. (2017). South African housing policy and housing policy research: theoretical discourse in the post-apartheid era (Doctoral dissertation, University of the Free State).
Vorster, H. H., Venter, C. S., Kruger, H. S., Kruger, A., Malan, N. T., Wissing, M. P., ... & MacIntyre, U. (2000). The impact of urbanization on physical, physiological and mental health of Africans in the North West Province of South Africa: the THUSA study. In: South African Journal of Science, 96.
Weimann, A., & Oni, T. (2019). A Systematised Review of the Health Impact of Urban Informal Settlements and Implications for Upgrading Interventions in South Africa, a Rapidly Urbanising Middle-Income Country. In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(19), 3608. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193608.
Wolfson, T. (1991). Access to urban land, in M. Swilling, R. Humphries & K. Shubane, eds. Apartheid City in Transition. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 231–257.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Title, logo and layout of journal Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series are reserved trademarks of Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series.
Number of views and downloads: 323
Number of citations: 3