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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur April 28, 2008

“The Information Was Hard and Tough”: Low-Cost Housing Information in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

William Dansoh , Christine Stilwell and Athol Leach
From the journal

This article reports on an exploratory study on the provision of information about low-cost housing to the residents of the Tamboville housing project in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. These residents were selected because they were the beneficiaries of a government low-cost housing subsidy. Data was collected through interviews and questionnaires from a convenience sample of 53 respondents who were homeowners of low-cost housing. Data was also collected from the Built Environment Support Group (BESG), a non-governmental organization managing the Tamboville project. The purpose of the study was to find out what information on low-cost housing had been provided, how it had been provided and the extent to which the information assisted the homeowners in making housing decisions. It was found that interpersonal communication, backed by practical demonstrations, was the main method of information dissemination. The findings also indicated that the BESG, through its on-site housing support centre, provided essential low-cost housing information to assist the homeowners in making appropriate housing decisions. It was observed that not all the respondents understood and/or accepted the concept of incremental housing, which underpinned the subsidy scheme. The low levels of education and high unemployment rate among the respondents made it more difficult for some homeowners to consolidate their starter homes. One recommendation is that the subsidy scheme be part of an integrated community development programme with a well-articulated information component.


William Dansoh is Subject Librarian, Life Sciences Library, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag XOI, Scottsville 3209, South Africa. E-mail:
Christine Stilwell is Professor and Head of Discipline, Information Studies Programme, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag XOI, Scottsville 3209, South Africa. E-mail:
Athol Leach is Lecturer, Information Studies Programme, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag XOI, Scottsville 3209, South Africa. E-mail:

Received: 2007-02-15
Accepted: 2007-05-15
Published Online: 2008-04-28
Published in Print: 2007-December

© 2007 by K. G. Saur Verlag

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