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Accelerating Inclusive Social Housing in South Africa

PROGRAMME PARTNER: ABSA.               2019- Workshop.              2021- Webinar & Podcast

The Accelerating Inclusive Housing in South African dialogues brought together social housing activists, professionals, beneficiaries, academics and public officials to share their perspectives.

The first dialogue was held at a conference prior to Covid in 2019, followed by a webinar and podcast in 2020. To gain a clearer understanding of the past, present, insights include findings from partner papers on Land Reform, Land Redistribution, and Tenure Security in an urban context.

Key Findings: The whole systems interplay between economic, political, and emotional co-factors affect many aspects of people’s lives in relation to the kind of investments public and social housing require. A one-size-fits-all policy will not suffice. Both challenges and opportunities identified offer occasion to match key concerns to existing solutions and address gaps moving forward.  Social housing policy, although not perfect, provides a mechanism for innovative housing solutions, combining access to funding with strategic location, affordability, good design, and responsive management.


Possibility: Addressing the mixed legacy of our nations’ inherited challenges poses an opportunity to commit to a journey of conscious healing. Together we can evolve the way we govern, enrich the way we relate to one another, and in doing so bridge the economic divide. Social housing is a powerful strategy for enhancing socio-spatial inclusion and justice, but we need to accelerate and optimise delivery if it is to live up to its potential. It also requires collaboration among people with the vision and passion necessary to build a more inclusive urban future. 

Learning: Covid-19 has compelled our globalising world to become familiar with the implication’s terms such as “complexity”, and “interdependence”. In this context, it is important to view social housing as an ecosystem with the ability to significantly impact everything from the development of alternative economies and education, to small business development, disaster mitigation, transport, clean drinking water, waste management and other infrastructural considerations. A number of good practices have been developed country-wide – these can be learned from and built upon. The dialogues offer ways to turn obstacles that inhibit the rapid rollout of cohesive social housing strategies into opportunities.  Using this method, we can achieve true community building.

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