Jackie Borel-Saladin and Ivan Turok discuss trends in housing and urbanisation revealed by the latest Census 2011 statistics. One of the interesting trends to emerge within the overall picture of rapid urbanisation in the major cities is the sharp growth in backyard shacks.
These, often vulnerable, households are not typically provided with access to basic services. The result is that existing service delivery is overwhelmed by the additional demand from these households that it was not designed or resourced to meet. In terms of urban electricity provision the result is overloading of networks beyond the capacity they were designed for. This contributes to the physical deterioration of infrastructure as well as impacting quality of supply for all households – causing low voltage and blackouts.
These findings discussed by Borel-Saladin and Turok therefore re-emphasize the importance of factoring in the continuing rapid and unplanned growth and densification of low-income urban settlements into future urban energy strategies (as well as other urban planning considerations).