Mapping Social and Spatial Fragmentation of Harfield Village: Network Effects of Forced Removals
The historical experiences of these communities would have influenced the way in which they understand and react to the world, as well as their ability to recognise the possibility of improving outcomes through collective action (Bank 2015).
The Harfield Village Project focuses on Harfield Village in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. Headed by Professor Siona O’Connell, this demonstrative project aims to represent the spatial and social fragmentation exacted by race-based forced removals of this area. In addition, it will seek to understand how this community was constructed and torn apart through the Group Areas Act of 1950. Through quantitative data, the project will draw attention to network analysis concepts such as connectedness/fragmentation and centrality (or importance) of key figures that were influential in constructing and holding this community together. The project opens up opportunities for further research that could highlight the long reaches of evictions on the vulnerable, including children and the elderly, as well as provide insight as to questions of resilience and trust among those affected by forced removals.
Understanding how functioning communities were constructed before forced removals may shed light on how healthy communities may emerge out of the detritus of evictions.