A Future Of Inclusionary Housing Design


Can gamification tailor contextually responsive envelope design in Johannesburg for inclusionary housing to address the aspirations of residents whilst enhancing efficiency?


UN-Habitat projects that over 1.6 billion people will require social, inclusionary, or affordable housing globally by 2025. Colonial and apartheid city planning has left a substantial scar on (South) African cities, resulting in segregated, decentralized resources and human capital. Subsequent approaches to low-cost housing have injected monotonous typologies into the urban fabric that exasperate urban sprawl, reify divisions and produce sterile environments. At present, low-income urban South African households must choose between informal settlements, the underdeveloped townships, the expensive and beyond-reach formerly-white suburbs, and the unpleasant but accessible inner-city. Pioneering the approach on the continent, Inclusionary Housing (IH) is expected to enter into the official policy of selected South African cities in 2019. It seeks to mobilise the private sector to ensure that a portion of all new housing developments make provision for affordable units in order to tackle housing backlogs and on-going spatial inequalities.

Inhabitants of existing mass low-cost housing developments in South Africa frequently lament the third-rate design of their residences which fail to address their aspirations. The frequency and scale of post-occupancy alterations have led to calls for co-produced design. Yet, little research has been conducted that addresses South African affordable housing as co-created or hybrid spaces. Most work focuses solely on the subaltern or formally constituted.

The proposed research intends to be the first project to explore the application of computational design to optimise the mass customization of affordable housing in Africa. The early invitation of stakeholders into a co-design process through their definition of variables is a unique feature of the proposed methodological approach. Subsequent, gamification will provide a further opportunity to engage with the needs and desires of stakeholders to enable empathetic design. This will allow the real-time calculation of environmental, planning, and construction efficiencies related to any suggested alterations. The co-produced computational designs seek to ultimately lower development costs, reduce development time and result in tailored designs which are responsive to the needs of the urban African context.

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Research Lead: Dr. Britt Baillie

Kyle-Philip Coulson

Cliff Gouws

Gordon Jubber

Bertus van Sittert

Buckley Thompson