GAUTENG, SOUTH AFRICA
Quality of Life in the Gauteng City-Region: A Partnership-Based Approach to Understanding Multi-dimensional Wellbeing Spatially and Temporally, In a Context of Deep Inequality
The South African province of Gauteng places the wellbeing of its 15 million residents at the centre of decision making. However, the absence of reliable, regular, local-level data focused on multi-dimensional wellbeing constrains the ability to identify and respond to challenges. Furthermore, without inter-sectoral partnerships and institutional space dedicated to enhancing data use by decision makers, the integration of data into decision-making is often limited. This is where the Quality-of-Life survey lends a helping hand.
Launched in 2009, the survey is conducted every two years by Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) – a partnership between Gauteng province (main financial source), three of its metropolitan municipalities (additional financial contributions that help increase the outreach to respondents), and two universities (in-kind support). It is a household-based survey with randomly selected adults in Gauteng as respondents. It measures socio-economic circumstances, attitudes to service delivery, psycho-social attitudes, and other characteristics of residents, as indicators for the quality of life in the city-region. After completion, the anonymised data and analysis are disseminated in rich visuals and free of charge for non-commercial use.
The survey is constantly evolving by drawing on learnings from the previous iteration, in content, methodology, and presentation of results. It is well documented in the ten-year review, as well as the challenges encountered. One such challenge – and a consistent one – is untimely collection of data, as high inequality, crime, and social distrust make access to respondents difficult. Another is government offices’ uneven capacity to use the data. This one is addressed through direct conversations between GCRO and government offices to enhance absorptions of the findings.
The survey is perceived as reliable and trustworthy by stakeholders across sectors. For instance, the vulnerability data has shaped government responses to COVID-19. Its continuity after the ten-year review is proof of its sustainability. It will continue to serve government decision-making to improve the quality of life for its residents. The initiative touches upon all SDGs but is especially relevant to Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities).