Provision of private student accomodation within sub-urban residential neighbourhoods and the impact on inclusive neighbourhood land use management : a case of Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Student accommodation, residential neighbourhoods, studentification, inclusion Student accommodation shortage is an international issue that is not unique to South Africa. The role of student accommodation is important to students as it does not only satisfy the need for housing but also in perpetuating student culture. Student accommodation is necessary for safe and secure residential space for students during their term of study. Due to many factors affecting student accommodation provision,
... gap in the market has been created which has resulted in a rise in the provision of private student accommodation. This comes with its own challenges such as increased conversion of private residential homes to student housing, eradicating the residential fabric in neighbourhoods that host tertiary institutions, tension between students and original residents over 'anti-social' behaviour of students, rise in land use changes and illegal land uses. Based on the background presented, the objective of this study is to investigate the provision of private student accommodation within residential neighbourhoods. The study aims to understand how the provision has affected inclusive land use management within the residential area of Scottsville. While the shortage of student accommodation is a known and accepted fact of modern-day tertiary education life, the literature review presented in this paper indicates that it is still a topic to be explored. The literature suggests that it might take years before the shortages in student accommodation are addressed which implies that between now and then, communities must find a way to either tolerate or accept the land use and peacefully cohabit with the student population. Some of the arguments presented in the literature review originate from Hubbard (2008:323) who states that specific neighbourhoods become dominated by student residential occupation, he argues that this results in unbalanced communities, with an element of antisocial behaviour by students. According to Donaldson et al. (2014:177) studentification causes complete spatial restructuring and re-organisation of an area where eventually only the needs of the student sub-culture are catered for. Barton et al. (2010:3) argue that neighbourhood change is hindered by the absence of integrated and clear policy guidance that represents the diverse perspectives from stakeholders including the local community themselves.. To investigate this study, the research design used is a qualitative and a case study method was adopted. Participants for the research were purposefully selected for primary data collection purposes and secondary data was obtained from the municipality through policy documents, mapping and official municipal registers. The result findings of the study reveal that Scottsville is "studentified", meaning that the student population is dominating the area and that this comes with social, economic, infrastructural, cultural and environmental changes to the area. The study also revealed that the changes in Scottsville are visible and that there are concerns relating to the lack of forward thinking and planning by the municipality and the university. Lastly, there is a belief that if stakeholders come together, Scottsville can be changed for the better. The study recommends that planning practices in the area must promote a sustainable transition for self-sustaining neighbourhoods. There must be pro-active policy making that is done in consultation with the community. Public participation processes must be consultative and open. There is a need for all affected stakeholders to engage on the issues that affect them, strengthening of enforcement measures and public awareness about private student accommodation in order to reduce the stigmatization of the land use as well as the promotion of public private partnerships that focus on the provision of student accommodation. In summary, private student accommodation plays an important role in addressing the current student accommodation shortage in South Africa, it is important that it is not viewed as a foreign land use but an extension of the residential land use that cater for a specific market demand.