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Human Settlements - backbone of the SA economy

“The vulnerability of settlements or communities may be described as the extent to which a settlement system is exposed and sensitive to negative implications of change, and the degree to which the subject community is able to anticipate, resist, cope with, adapt or recover.” (State Government of Victoria, 2008). The profiling of settlement vulnerability is the first step to making our settlements more resilient to global change.

Introduction - purpose of theme page

The purpose of the human settlements theme page is: Firstly to raise awareness on the key role of cities, towns and dense settlements in understanding risk and vulnerability in South Africa, especially in the effort to determine risks, strengthen coping capacities and develop timely adaptation strategies; and Secondly to promote the development of, and provide access to, integrated regional risk profiles for cities, towns and settlements across the South African landscape.

As such, it features introductory think pieces, access to some of the latest integrated risk profiles for cities and towns, as well as updated regional information on the range of South African cities and towns in order to support further analyses and decision making. This theme page also provides links to relevant maps, portals, studies and reports currently undertaken on the role, dynamics and resilience of cities and towns in South Africa and internationally.

Why South African cities, towns and dense settlements are central to regional resilience

Integrated regional risk profiles for South African cities, towns and dense settlements

The vulnerability and resilience of South Africa’s settlements are impacted and influenced by a magnitude of multi-stressors. Very few of these have, however, been explored in terms of what and where the impact would be, and how government, civil society, communities and science and technology could be pro-active in mitigating these stressors. A need has been identified by key role players, such as the National Disaster Management Centre, provinces and municipalities, the private sector, as well as various research institutions to understand the complex relationship between the multi-stressors through science-based investigations.

As a first step at understanding regional resilience and potential risks and vulnerability, the typology of SA cities, towns and dense settlements has been used to develop a generic profile of cities and towns in terms of typical risks and vulnerabilities faced by them. [Read more...]

Complex Interactions of multi-stressors
In an effort to better understand the possible impacts of specific risks, such as climate change on the SA settlement landscape, a series of theme specific integrated risk profiles are being created. As one of the aims of this theme page, such analyses are supported and made available to the disaster management, development management, urban and regional planning and research user groups. To pursue possible collaboration on theme specific analyses and/or to showcase such analyses -please CONTACT US.

Theme 1: Relating projected extreme rainfall events to areas characterised by dense settlement and high levels of social and economic infrastructure. [Read more...]
 Potential settlements vulnerable to projected extreme rainfall events

Settlement resilience and implications for the Built Environment

 Implications of risk and vulnerability for human resources and manmade resources are magnified within cities and towns.  The major man made resources of a settlement that are prone to risks are the settlement structure; buildings; services infrastructure (roads, energy, stormwater); and social infrastructure (health, education and sports facilities).  [Read more...]

 It is widely acknowledged that understanding socio-economic vulnerability and implications of risks for cities and towns can enable pro-active planning for settlement resilience and high levels of adaptation, rather than a mere focus on re-active disaster management and mitigation.  In the SA planning and governance system, local municipalities are required by law (Municipal Systems Act, 2000) to develop Integrated Development Plans, Spatial Development Frameworks and Integrated Disaster Management Plans.  Settlement and integrated development planning processes, and information, can play a key part in creating more resilient settlements, as well as in informing and promote pro-active adaptation and disaster management. [Read more...]

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