The home as informal business location: Home-based business (HBB) dynamics in the medium-sized city of George
Home-based businesses (HBBs) are often considered the most ‘formal’ of the informal business sector types, where a formal structure such as a house or shack provides some form of security for these businesses. Notwithstanding this structural ‘security’, HBBs are merely a reflection of broader urban economic and spatial processes taking place in South African cities, resulting in a dual-natured business space. The role, impact and contribution of home-based businesses to urban economies, urban growth and spatial relations with the formal economy have not received much attention from policymakers in South Africa. The study investigates the complexity of HBB dynamics in the medium-sized city of George, and focuses on three aspects: first, a conceptual link between house and business is provided; second is an overview of the spatial transformation of business space in the city between 1995 and 2005, and third is an analysis of a survey conducted among 98 HBBs in George, in which aspects related to the business start-up, location, history, problems experienced and policy context are examined. The article concludes with several policy and planning recommendations.