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Housing for the nation, the city and the household: competing rationalities as a constraint to reform?


  • Sarah Charlton


The South African housing programme is acclaimed internationally and has achieved important successes since its inception in 1994. However, there are also concerns about its negative impacts. The ambiguity of this achievement is underlined when the programme is viewed from different perspectives. To consider the complex picture of positive and negative outcomes, this paper takes the viewpoints of the nation, the city and the household and reveals a range of problems that suggest the need to reform the housing programme. It then uses these three viewpoints to reveal the constraints that hold back reform. The paper argues that it is necessary to understand the 'competing rationalities' reflected in the three viewpoints. Although this is not the only factor holding back fundamental transformation, recognising it does help to explain the persistence of significant problems in the housing programme.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Charlton, 2009. "Housing for the nation, the city and the household: competing rationalities as a constraint to reform?," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2), pages 301-315.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:2:p:301-315
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350902899637

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