Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 386

Full Length Research Paper

A small house now or a big one later? Choice of housing units in phased upgrading of informal settlements in South Africa

  Bishop U. G. Mughogho1*, Romano Del Mistro2 and Ishmael B. Mphangwe Kosamu1  
  1The Polytechnic, University of Malawi, Private Bag 303, Blantyre 3, Malawi. 2Civil Engineering Department, University of Cape Town, Rondenbosch 7701, Cape Town, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 08 May 2012
  •  Published: 30 June 2012



The South African housing policy puts emphasis on broadening access to formal dwelling units for households living below a given monthly income as determined and approved by the government at any given time. The emphasis on a serviced dwelling unit within the housing policy assumes that the preference for a serviced dwelling unit is invariable and rigid among the intended beneficiaries of the upgrading exercise. This study investigated how the time to delivery affects the type of housing unit chosen by subsidy beneficiaries. Using choice data from experiments conducted with residents of sweet homes (an informal settlement in Cape Town), it was found that preference for a bigger housing unit type decreased with an increase in the time to delivery. It is recommended that the housing policies in the developing and underdeveloped regions of the world match beneficiary preferences with available resources in the provision of appropriate housing units to poor households.


Key words: Housing subsidies, South Africa, delivery time, beneficiary preferences.