Resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedback. As a concept, resilience is used by various disciplines to analyse ecological, social and social-ecological systems. This has facilitated a variety of interdisciplinary studies in areas of science, urban planning and engineering, to name a few. Resilience theory presents a foundation for understanding why these changes occur and what their consequences are over time. Ongoing research has shown that the main challenge regarding urban resilience is to broaden its scope by including societal aspects, in this case shelter. This study seeks to lay a foundation for understanding why diversity is important in the function of shelter in a typical South African city.
Diversity is one of the attributes for building resilience in social-ecological systems, increasing their capacity to adapt to change. Diversity spreads risks, creates buffers and plays an important role in the reorganisation and renewal processes of disturbed systems. This dissertation explores diversity in the function of shelter in the Tshwane urban system and how this diversity has changed over time. One of the key functions of an urban social-ecological system is to provide shelter. Understanding diversity in the function of shelter would have positive effects on current housing interventions and perhaps also assist in giving a deeper meaning to the challenges faced in the delivery of housing in South Africa.
A historical comparative study method using qualitative analysis is used in this study. A comparative analysis investigates how the function of shelter has changed in three areas in the City of Tshwane in the last eight to ten decades. Primary and secondary data is analysed to look at how this diversity has changed by looking at physical, financial and tenure-based typologies. By closely examining the history of Pretoria, the study established that diversity increased and decreased intermittently in some areas in Soshanguve, Mooikloof and the inner city. This illustrates the Tshwane urban system?s ability and capacity to absorb successive transformations without losing its essential structure, i.e. its resilience.
The overall objective aims to contribute to an evolving understanding of shelter as a function in South Africa, and why diversity is important within this function. By defining the different financial, physical and tenure based typologies, the study develops a framework to explore diversity in shelter in South Africa. This framework then offers a practical basis for analysing how diversity manifested in the function of shelter in the Tshwane urban system. Defining typologies of shelter is important because it paints an explicit picture about the areas within shelter where there is little diversity across different spectrums (low-middle income, public-private). This then assists policy makers in directing interventions where there is a need or low diversity. In analysing the change across time, one is able to determine where and when diversity increased (why it increased) as well as when it decreased (why it decreased). Very limited research has been conducted to investigate the relationship between housing and the greater urban resilience perspective. Furthermore very little work has also been conducted on which factors can contribute to more sustainable housing from a resilience perspective. This study starts to address this gap and therefore adds value to the very limited South African debate.
Dissertation (MTRP)--University of Pretoria, 2015.