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Pathway to Dignified Living

Service Connections to Backyard Dwellings on Private Land

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Development Action Group (DAG) , Isandla Institute

01 January 2023

Backyard Matters


uKESA Librarian 2

Case study

South Africa

This case study titled Pathway to Dignified Living: Service Connections to Backyard Dwellings on Private Land (PDF, 453 KB) focuses on the informal backyard rental accommodation in South Africa, specifically in the Lost City neighbourhood in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain. It acknowledges that informal backyard rental is a crucial source of affordable housing in the country and has been growing over the years without significant support from the state. In 2019, the Development Action Group (DAG) and the Isandla Institute collaborated on the Backyard Matters project. In 2020, this project conducted enumerations in eight neighbourhoods across Cape Town, including the Lost City neighbourhood. The case study, part of the Backyard Matters project, provides a detailed account of the socio-economic context and the experiences related to the installation of electrical, water, and sanitation services in the backyard structures of a land-owning household in the Lost City neighbourhood.

The primary focus of the case study is to report on the conditions that contribute to the potential viability of on-site extension of infrastructure to backyard structures on privately owned property. The purpose of this report is to communicate the lessons learnt from this specific instance of providing services to backyard tenant households on one site. The goal is to derive insights that can inform the design of policies and programmes related to informal backyard housing, considering the socio-economic context and the challenges faced during the provision of essential services.


Abstract based directly on source.


Website References


Backyard dwellings

Built environment

Cape Town

Case studies




Household costs

Human settlements

Informal settlements




Poverty & inequality

Private ownership


Rental housing


Service delivery

Social development

Social facilities

South Africa



Water and sanitation

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