South African Journal of Geomatics

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Exploring the potential for geographical knowledge systems in upgrading informal settlements in Cape Town

B Lefulebe, K Musungu, S Motala


Residents of informal settlements are often faced with lack of essential services. These include services such as water, sanitation and electricity. Authorities responsible for providing these services often use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for analysis prior to proposing developments in these  settlements. However, the information used in the GIS analysis is often based on the physical  characteristics of the informal settlement being analysed. In contrast, there has been a growing call for the use of information collected from the actual residents of the settlements for analysis prior to the upgrading of the settlements. The work done in this study is conducted in partnership with a local NGO that uses baseline information in informal settlements to create strategies to lower incidences of crime. This paper specifically focuses on introducing GIS spatial analysis and mapping in relation to informal settlements upgrading based on information gathered from the residents of the informal settlement. Moreover the final produced maps will be interpreted together with VPUU, which represents residents of Monwabisi Park community, simply because they have indigenous knowledge of the area. This research outlines a methodology of GIS analysis for Informal settlements upgrading using GIS, making use of five different analysis methods: Buffer analysis, thematic mapping, Thiessen polygons, distance mapping and Multi Criteria Evaluation. The case study area is Monwabisi Park in Cape Town. The study has revealed that the use of indigenous knowledge in GIS analysis for upgrading could be very valuable in making scientific and alternate decisions during informal settlement upgrading process.

Key words: Informal settlements, GIS participation, Buffer Analysis, Distance Matrix, Thiessen Polygons, Thematic Mapping, Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE)
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