Letter | Affordable homes near Boardwalk mall needed

As a result of apartheid spatial planning, cost of transportation to and from work continues to disadvantage and promote poverty among urban poor residents of the Bay. According to the integrated urban framework policy (IUDF) more than 50% of urban poor residents spend more than 20% of their declared household income on transport. Therefore, development of the new mall at the Boardwalk will indirectly exacerbate the current challenge of informal settlement and housing backlog in the metro if development is not linked with plans for affordable housing closer to place of employment. The majority of employees to be employed will not be able to afford the market-related rental available closer to work. This only means that urban poor will have to live at the periphery of the city which maintains apartheid spatial segregation.

Development of this nature can be a catalyst for spatial transformation in the city if it is linked with plans for affordable housing, situated closer to places of employment. There is no doubt that the mall will create jobs for Bay residents. However, if there is no affordable housing plan accompanying the mall development, just like many large infrastructure development it will fail to address the core challenges of poverty, spatial transformation and inequality. Rather, it will contribute indirectly to the current challenges of informal settlement and urbanisation of poverty in the metro. Rofhiwa Tahula, final year Bachelor of Human Settlement Development student and chairperson of the Human Settlement Student Society at Nelson Mandela University