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Stellenbosch Cape Town South Africa


Social Housing 


The ongoing unfair use of space for housing.

The way apartheid laws were used to separate South Africans in the past can still be seen in the way space is used for housing.  Ongoing challenges faced by communities situated far from CBD's include:

  • high monthly costs of travelling long distances to work;

  • being away from families from the early morning until late evening;

  • under-resourced schools;

  • unsafe streets;

  • crime, gangs and substance abuse;

  • poor lighting;

  • health problems from waste management and lack of access to clean water;

  • inconsistent disaster management (flooding, shack fires) 

  • small businesses owners who have valuable services to bring to the construction industry, face big construction business who make lots of money from poor quality housing. 

  • waking up every day in hopeless environments that do not make it easy to dream about a better life.


2020 - 2021

We convened social housing activists, professionals, academics and public officials at a workshop to share their unique learnings and experiences. This was followed by a webinar, in-the-field interviews and a podcast.

What we learned:

As the dialogues progressed, we learned that our nation's social housing policy, although not perfect, is covering ground in support of innovative housing solutions. Frameworks do exist, making it easier to access to funds for building in better locations. They also consider affordability, good design, and the importance of good maintenance. Making the best use of these frameworks depends on:

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  • solving municipalities need for support in their ability to deliver basic services.

  • well-planned collaboration among people with the vision, passion and practical solutions needed to build a  future that is fair for all.

2021 - present

Covid affected our ability to follow through on all findings, however, what we learned  continues to help our work on the Renewal Programme. This initiative has the potential to address the points mentioned above.  

Through these engagements, we are looking forward to meeting more communities already solving these problems, and to connecting their knowledge with the those who can deliver on the vision.

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