The Effect of Informal Settlement Upgrading on Women’s Social Networks: Layout Versus Location

Ruth T. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Informal settlements are prevalent in the South African urban landscape. Part of the attempt by the government to meet housing and infrastructure needs has been the in situ upgrading of these informal settlements. This paper explores the effect of in situ informal settlement upgrading on women’s social networks. Social networks are important as they allow access to various livelihood assets that are crucial for building sustainable livelihoods and resilient communities. The results of the research undertaken indicate that the newly upgraded informal settlements have not been conducive to the preservation or creation of women’s social networks due to poor layout planning and inadequate infrastructure provision. There is an assumption that if the informal settlements are upgraded in situ, social networks will not be disrupted. It is anticipated that, because the residents are in the same geographical area, they will be able to maintain their social networks. The paper makes the argument that, when it comes to sustaining social networks, settlement layout and infrastructure provision are just as important and geographical location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-217
Number of pages13
JournalUrban Forum
Issue number2
Early online date17 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


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