Urban Development Projects

Isandla Institute’s primary interest is to support urban development and transformation, guided by the principles of justice, equity, inclusivity, sustainability and participatory democracy. Some of our work transcends the programmatic delineations that characterise most of our work and engagements.

Poverty-reduction Framework for the Cape Metropolitan Area

A series of reports were drafted for the Cape Metropolitan Council, setting out how urban poverty can best be defined and understood, 1998-1999.

Municipal appraisals

Isandla Institute prepared ‘social appraisals’ of Johannesburg and Cape Town metropolitan areas to inform DFID’s support to the two municipalities. The appraisals were meant to ensure that explicit poverty reduction frameworks are adopted by these councils, 1999.

Key-Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the mainstreaming of poverty reduction

An in-depth report on KPIs was prepared for the Organisational Transformation branch of the City of Cape Town, 1999.

Country Study on Poverty in South Africa

CODESRIA, in partnership with UNDP commissioned a series of country studies in Africa on the ‘dimensions and dynamics of poverty’. Isandla Institute carried out the South African study, 1999.

Overview of community development processes in Manenberg (Cape Town)

Isandla Institute undertook four studies on behalf of the City of Cape Town into the intervention of the municipality in a highly impoverished and fragmented community, 2000.

City Development Strategy Framework

: Isandla Institute coordinated a report for the Unicity Commission on a 15-year development framework for the Cape Town Metropolitan Area, 2000.

Urban Development Policy Critique

Isandla Institute engaged with a national evaluation report of South Africa’s urban development strategy and settlement policies prepared for Habitat+5 and facilitated a civil society review of the SA government’s draft report for Habitat II, 2000.

City Development Strategies Assessment

Isandla Institute was contracted to provide a critical support role to an internal research team conducting a three country study on ‘developing poverty reduction guidelines for City Development Strategies’, 2001.

Urban poverty in South Africa

Study on the rate and dynamics of poverty in the nine largest cities of South Africa, carried out in partnership with PDG on behalf of the SACN, which included the development of a poverty index and recommendations for South African cities to reduce poverty, 2002.

Connecting Urban Development Policy and Theory

Through a close partnership with the Geography Department at Open University (UK), Isandla Institute co-initiated an innovative research programme on Postcolonial Urbanism and Enculturing Urban Development Policy in 2003. In February 2006, the papers arising out of this process have been published in a special issue of the prestigious journal Urban Studies on Urban culture and development: Starting with South Africa (Vol 43, No 2, 2003-2005).

A strategic agenda for South African Cities towards 2014

Isandla Institute contributed to the ‘State of South African Cities Report’ launched by the South African Cities Network, 2004.

View the report here: State of Cities Report 2004

Cape Town 2025

Isandla Institute coordinated the research papers and conference that informed this visioning project, which was conducted in partnership with the City of Cape Town. The aim of this project was to create opportunities to dare to imagine images of a future cities founded on core values of equity, sustainability and integration, 2005.

Living on the Margins: Vulnerability, social exclusion and the state in the informal economy

International conference co-hosted with the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (UK), 2007.

Rethinking Regional Development in the Western Cape

Isandla Institute coordinated the production of a technical report on regional development on behalf of the Western Cape Government, which was presented at the Western Cape Integrated Development Planning Conference, 7-8 May 2007.

OECD Territorial Review of the Cape Town Functional Region

Isandla Institute provided logistical and project coordination support to this prestigious review on behalf of the Western Cape government. This included coordination of two OECD missions to South Africa, 2007-2008.

Culture and the right to the city: Diversity in the cultural ecology of Cape Town

Isandla Institute conducted research into the role of culture in enhancing social inclusion and integration. The report advocates a more holistic and conscious response to culture in urban regeneration and documents over 50 case studies of innovative cultural activities, organisations and expressions, 2008.

Beyond the tipping point: Urbanisation in Africa

Isandla Institute coordinated the international workshop on behalf of UNU-WIDER in June 2008.

Sustainable Urban Development Network – SUD-NET Africa

Isandla Institute coordinated the SUD-Net Africa workshop (which culminated in the launch of SUD-Net Africa) on behalf of UN-Habitat, SIDA and the African Centre for Cities in February 2009.

Documentary ‘The Right to the City’

This documentary, developed in 2009, seeks to raise debate about the state of urban development and the nature of urban planning interventions in South Africa. Its main purpose is to promote discussion about an alternative urban development paradigm, one that is strongly grounded in a rights discourse.

Overcoming structural poverty and inequality in South Africa: Towards inclusive growth and development

Conference co-hosted with the Presidency (Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development in South Africa, PSPPD), the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), Chronic Poverty Research Centre (UK), and the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), September 2010. A civil society workshop aimed at knowledge sharing and strengthening collaborative action and advocacy on poverty and inequality took place in April 2011.

Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN)

Between April 2014 to December 2016, Isandla Institute provided knowledge management, process facilitation, communication and logistics support to National Treasury in coordinating the ERLN, a national network of economic development practitioners in metropolitan, provincial and national government.