Can we imagine a move away from the ‘shrunken mansion’ syndrome satisfying a perceived aspiration towards a dynamic flexibility which can deliver subsidised housing in which the unit becomes an asset leading to income generation?
The housing types proposed here for the Diepsloot context attempt to achieve a much higher stand and occupational density from the outset in order to achieve the minimum displacement of existing residents. The housing types enable eligible beneficiaries to become small scale landlords who rent habitable rooms to non-eligible residents.
The settlement upgrade would be planned for the increased occupation density from the start in terms of infrastructure and social amenities. The design of the proposed housing types also attempts to incorporate and enable income generation through accommodating rental rooms, retail and small business enterprise. Houses are located close to the street boundary to create a sense of urbanity, surveillance, ease of trading and to limit the amount of unusable space between units. Micro-loans, in addition to a basic starter unit (funded by means of the subsidy), can assist owners to construct quality rental rooms as per various pre-defined options. Part of the resultant rental income would go towards repaying the loan. Both the Vertical Yard and the 14x7m Row House offer two different approaches to achieve growth over time and a mix of uses and economies.
Whilst the proposed starter types are bigger than the standard RDP they should be imminently achievable as the higher densities lead to substantial savings on land cost, infrastructure and service provision. In addition the availability of micro loans should offer even further choice to beneficiaries customising their dwellings to suit their specific needs. The increased densities also achieve the necessary thresholds for the efficient provision of public transport and economic opportunities.
By moving away form the classic 2 bedroom, one bathroom layout, the houses can be occupied in numerous ways: A big house for an extended family can also serve as a collection of income-generating rental units. Circulation and services are positioned in such a way as to provide for these diverse occupation scenarios. In addition ground floors are conceived as flexible spaces accommodating both trade and / or residential use. This allows for economic development over time, especially along busy routes.