What is inclusionary housing development and will this become a feature of housing policy in South African cities? The housing policy recently adopted for Johannesburg provides some insights.
The City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality on 22 May 2019 put into effect its Inclusionary Housing Incentives, Regulations and Mechanisms policy, which defines inclusionary housing as “a housing programme that, through conditions attached to land use rights approvals, requires developers to dedicate a certain percentage of new housing developments to low income and low-middle income households, or to households that may otherwise not be able to live in such developments”.
This policy seeks to deal with problems associated with the provision of middle to low income housing in Johannesburg by attempting to ensure a greater mix of income groups in new developments, so that middle to low income households will be afforded the opportunity of residing closer to employment opportunities and social amenities in the city.
It will now be mandatory in the City of Johannesburg for all new developments with 20 dwelling units or more to include a minimum of 30% of the total units in the development for inclusionary housing, on the same site as the other (“market”) units of the development. The policy only applies to new development applications, and will therefore not impact on existing land use rights. The requirement of inclusionary housing provision will be a condition for approval of the development by the City of Johannesburg.
The policy provides four options for developers:
The minimum design requirements, referred to in options 1-3 above, entail that inclusionary housing units must comply with the following:
The inclusionary housing policy will materially affect developers, probably resulting in housing development being less profitable. However, there are also incentives for the implementation of the options listed above, ranging from an increase in the allowable residential floor area to an increase in density to accommodate inclusionary housing.
The City of Johannesburg’s new inclusionary housing policy is aimed at ameliorating the social inequality that exists within the City, by attempting to integrate different income groups in new developments and providing affordable housing to lower income households, and bringing lower income residents closer to employment opportunities and social amenities.
The inclusionary housing policy aims to change past housing inequalities and discrimination. Whether the policy will achieve its objectives remains to be seen.