Mpho Nenweli, School of Architecture and Planning
Climate change adaptation is a global challenge that requires the attention of researchers and policy makers. This study seeks to explore the interrelationship between climate change adaptation and informal settlements. The intention is to understand the adaptive capacity of informal settlement communities and their resilience to climate change. It also seeks to explore the differences in adaptive capacity between informal settlements in Johannesburg. The study will help determine the level of vulnerability of informal settlement communities to climate change and what can be done to enhance their resilience.
Climate change is recognised as a key developmental issue globally. However, there remain many uncertainties and gaps in our understanding of the current and potential impacts as well as policy implications of climate change. Climate change related disasters pose a particular threat to the lives of communities residing in informal settlements, increasing their vulnerability. This is exacerbated by the existing challenges that they face – amongst others lack of access to secure land, to services and to infrastructure. Provision of all of these could help in adaptation. Yet there are complex reasons why they have not been provided over the past decade. Simultaneously, it is envisaged that due to climate-induced migration and urbanization, the amount of people in informal settlements, especially in southern Africa, will continue to increase. It is important that research on climate change does not ignore this vital segment of society.
The study will target informal settlement communities, local authority officials in the City of Johannesburg and other relevant people as key informants.
Why does it matter?:
The findings of the study will be important to other researchers on climate change adaptation. It is also hoped that the findings will be relevant to informal settlements communities and the City of Johannesburg in strategically building resilience.