As the global population increases and densities rise within urban environments, the importance of outdoor spaces is increasingly being highlighted because of limited internal living space. The South African Social Housing Policy emphasises the importance of both the units built and the outdoor environments. The internal spaces of units in social housing projects tend to be small; highlighting a need for good quality shared outdoor spaces.
This study seeks to determine to what extent the quality of the shared outdoor spaces in selected City of Tshwane social housing projects aligns with specifications in the Social Housing Policy. A literature review identified criteria and indicators that have been used for assessing the quality of shared outdoor spaces. These were used to guide the Social Housing Policy appraisal, from which the two guiding principles were identified as having the potential to provide guidance for the assessment of the quality shared outdoor spaces in social housing projects. These guiding principles were (i) the creation of quality living environments; and, (ii) the promotion of safe, harmonious and socially responsible environments. The first guiding principle was converted to become the goal of the assessment. The second guiding principle was separated into three components (namely safe environments, harmonious environments and socially responsible environments) which were considered the assessment criteria. These three criteria were neither described nor defined in the Policy. The researcher therefore relied on standard definitions and related research to interpret these.
Following the literature review and policy appraisal, an assessment framework was developed and indicators identified. This framework was used to guide the development of three data collection instruments, including two interview schedules, a spatial analysis and observation schedule and a survey questionnaire. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from three purposively selected social housing projects, namely Hofmeyr, Kopanong and Litakoemi. The data collected was either statistically or narratively analysed.
The study found that the quality of shared outdoor spaces in the case studies was considered to be average and that it therefore aligned to some extent with the specifications in the Social Housing Policy. The safe environments criterion achieved the highest score as basic security measures (i.e. controlled entrances, boundary walls, additional security above the boundary wall) were in place. The harmonious and socially responsible environments criteria had lower scores as there were instances where hard surfaces dominated the site and the maintenance of the spaces was inadequate whilst the shared outdoor spaces did not fully accommodate children and people with disabilities. This study concludes that the Social Housing Policy does not provide adequate specifications regarding the design of quality shared outdoor spaces.
Dissertation (MArch (Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2015.