Urban Liveability in South African Metros

Liveability is a composite of interrelated social, economic, and ecological indicators that promote and enhance quality of life and sustainability. It is a dynamic concept that is related to time and space. It connotes the challenges to lifestyle of individuals and communities. The annual global liveability index, the liveability assessment quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle. Urban liveability measures the quality or otherwise of living in urban areas or cities. Urban quality of life is based on assessments of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Figure 1 shows traffic and pedestrians in Lagos indicative of liveable spaces in African City.

Figure 1. Street Layout and with traffic components in Lagos, Nigeria

Further, there is distinction between the definition of liveability in urban areas in high-income countries and low-to-middle-income countries. This distinction in definition is important as more than 95 percent of African countries fall within low-to-middle-income countries. Besides, the definitions and measurement indicators of liveability are skewed to high income countries that include indicators and concepts such as “safe, attractive, socially cohesive and inclusive, and environmentally sustainable, with affordable and diverse housing linked to employment, education, public open space, local shops, health and community services, and leisure and cultural opportunities, via convenient public transport, walking, and cycling infrastructure. On the other hand, the priorities and context in Africa present a different scenario. For instance, most urban areas in Africa live in informal settlements and have limited access to clean drinking water and sanitation, Fig 2. Shows urban liveability conceptual framework which this research seeks to establish. The research shall employ quantitative data collection method through questionnaire administration.

Figure 2: Urban liveability conceptual framework

This project shall pursue the objectives of analyzing the infrastructure stock of the cities that supports urban liveability; examine the level of liveability of the various communities using the indicators of urban liveability in the metros of south Africa; appraise the quality of life index of the residents of the cities, investigate the extent of sustainability of the communities in the cities through the triad of economy, social and environmental indicators; and appraise the determinants and indicators of inclusivity in the metros of South Africa; and evolve a framework for liveability-sustainability-inclusivity framework to predict the trajectory of urban development in south African Metros. This project shall be led by Dr. Samuel Medayese an urban and infrastructure development expert in the SARChI Chair for Inclusive Cities Team.
Principal Investigators:
Professor H.H Magidimisha-CHIPUNGU
Professor Lovemore CHIPUNGU
Contact: magidimishah@ukza.ac.za

Project Manager
Dr. Samuel Medayese