Urban Forum

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 205–217 | Cite as

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

  • Ruth T. MasseyEmail author


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.


Informal settlement Upgrading Social networks Women Cape town 



Participants in the research are thanked for their willingness to participate in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

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