Poverty and Gentrification

Topics: Poverty, Gentrification, Affordable housing Pages: 18 (3853 words) Published: March 14, 2013

1. Introduction

In recent years, the process of gentrification has become an increasing trend in different communities across South Africa (Cottyn, 2011). The geography of rural and urban areas has undergone various fundamental changes in addition to several dramatic changes over the past few years resulting from gentrification (Cottyn, 2011).

Hence, the paper will reflect on the residential and neighbourhood changes and its impacts on the context of Msimang Street in Orlando East. This will be based on fieldwork that was done in this area.

This research follows the discussion with a Marxist approach since as an expression of capital accrual, housing renewal is seen to be leading to displacement of local community and uneven development as a result of increasing housing shortages and property values (Cottyn, 2011).

2. Problem Statement

The process of gentrification therefore brings about various changes in different communities. These changes impact both negatively and positively within these different communities in South Africa (Lees, 1994).

Hence, this paper poses the question: How has the process of gentrification led to residential changes and neighbourhood changes in Msimang Street in Orlando East.

3. Description of study area

Orlando East is one of the first townships in the SOWETO region alongside other townships such as Diepkloof, Meadowlands, Orlando West and so forth. The dynamics of urban development were not taken seriously when SOWETO and other historically disadvantaged areas were created. As a result, Orlando East is largely composed of ‘matchbox’ houses which were built to provide cheap accommodation for workers during the apartheid era. Hence, housing renewal has become a task to transform what was once a black-labour dormitory area in Johannesburg into a prosperous urban area.


Figure 1.1: Map of the SOWETO region (Source:

4. Aims

This study aims to explore the impacts of the residential and neighbourhood changes taking place within the community of Orlando East in Msimang Street as a result of the process of gentrification.


Figure 1.2: Dilapidated house in Msimang Street, Orlando East (taken by Mothibedi, R.T).


Figure 1.3: Gentrified house in Msimang Street, Orlando East (taken by Mothibedi, R.T)

5. Objectives

The objective of the study is to assess the extent to which gentrification has brought about changes in residential and neighbourhood settings in Orlando East, Msimang Street.

1.5. Research Methodology

The study will employ a quantitative method to evaluate the residential and neighbourhood changes in Orlando East, Msimang Street which resulted from the process of gentrification. A literature study was conducted on the process of gentrification to try and understand it in a broad manner.

The literature review will provide assistance in justifying the methods to be utilised in this study. A specific street of the study area was selected for a structured technique which included questionnaires, where the houses of the study area were randomly selected. A total of 25 questionnaires were conducted with the head of the households which formed part of the study. These questionnaires were conducted in order to address the following themes:

▪ What is the address of the property;

▪ The number of years one has been residing at the address;

▪ What type of ownership one has over the property;

▪ How many rooms and other amenities are in the house;

▪ Condition of the house when purchased or first moved in and presently;

▪ Has any renovations taken place since the property was bought;

▪ What kind of renovations were undertaken;

▪ Are there any signs of upgrading in the neighbourhood;

▪ What form of upgrading is taking place?

6. Limitations of the study

There are various limitations to...
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