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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Rhythms of the Yards: Urbanism, Backyards and Housing Policy in South Africa
Author:Bank, LeslieISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:urban housing
social life
gender relations
housing policy
rental housing
Urbanization and Migration
Politics and Government
Development and Technology
History and Exploration
External links:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589000701396298
Abstract:By choosing to retain and upgrade backyard dwellings, as proposed in the Department of Housing's Breaking New Ground policy framework of 2004, urban planners in South Africa are entering new territory. But, in embarking on this new policy direction, do planners know enough about how the backyards work as a unique social niche in South African cities? The history of the yards in Duncan Village, East London, reveals significant changes in the social character of the yards over time. In the 1950s the yards were dominated by male migrants from the rural areas. Yard dwellers hired rooms from the landlord. In 2005, fully 59 percent of the yard population in Duncan Village was female, and yard dwellers erected their own shacks in the backyards. This, together with the political support yard dwellers received from the civic structures, has meant that tenants are now more difficult to move out of the yards than they were in the 1950s. Against this historical backdrop, the article highlights the critical role which the yards play in urban social reproduction. It seeks to get inside the yards and explore their internal social logic and dynamics, 'the rhythms of the yards': the everyday relationships of yard life, the shifts between weekday routines and weekend activities, the gendered nature of yard life and of struggles for survival in the city, the power relations between landlords and tenants, and the role of violence and abuse embedded in everyday yard life. The article is based on fieldwork in the yards of Duncan Village during March and April 2005. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]