The Right to the City in a South African Context - National Roundtable Report


The Right to the City Dialogue Series, hosted by Isandla Institute, Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC)
and Informal Settlements Network (ISN), has sought to bring together a wide variety of NGOs working on urban issues
and organisations of the urban poor to discuss the contextual appropriateness and mobilising potential of the Right to
the City in South Africa. The dialogue series has consisted of two parallel, cascading (upwards) sets of dialogues that
fed one another. The first set of three involved representatives of the urban poor, drawn from the Informal Settlements
Network and other community-based organisations in Cape Town, in which they, informed by the Right to the
City, reflected on the most salient issues they face in their everyday lives, their urban development priorities and the
partnership-based approach they seek to address these issues. These, in turn, shaped the agendas for the second set
of dialogues between representatives of urban NGOs (as well as selected representatives from community dialogues).
The progress achieved during each of these dialogues formed the basis of, and were fed into, the next dialogue of the
urban poor and so on.

This document is a summary of the discussions that occurred at a National Roundtable held in November 2011 to discuss the implications of the dialogue series with government representatives, policy makers, researchers, practitioners, NGOs and community members. the day consisted of three sessions based on the three component-themes that have emerged from the dialogue series: the right to be in the city, the right to access city resources and opportunities, and the right to city-making. 

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