This paper synthesises key findings from primary research conducted in 8 Cape Town neighbourhoods (Eerste River, Freedom Park, Ilitha Park, Kensington, Lost City, Lotus Park, Maitland Garden Village and Manenberg) aimed at understanding the informal backyard housing sector better. The research was conducted as part of the Backyard Matters Project, a partnership initiative between the Development Action Group (DAG), Isandla Institute and Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU), funded by Comic Relief.
A key finding of the fieldwork is that the informal backyard rental market is highly contextual and that social factors can be very important aspects of its functioning – in fact, in some instances, social factors are primary drivers of this market. This certainly differs across neighbourhoods, but it offers an important critique of a more conventional perspective on the backyard rental market as operating purely on a financial logic.
While context matters a great deal in understanding the informal backyard rental sector, this is not to suggest that there are no common themes and opportunities for intervention – be it from the state, the finance sector or other stakeholders. The paper distils 10 key take-away points from the primary data, including some common themes. The paper concludes that interventions and policy considerations aimed at the informal backyard rental market need to be nuanced in responding to relevant contextual factors and opportunities.
This paper elaborates on the important role the backyard housing sector plays in providing (often inadequate) housing solutions. It seeks to provide some insight into the dynamics and contextual nuances that inform local backyard realities and backyard rental markets and the lack of clear policy guidance on how to support and regulate this housing sub-sector. The paper further argues that the Covid-19 pandemic has made existing housing vulnerabilities all the more pertinent, not least because of its anticipated long-lasting socio-economic impacts, and that this creates an even greater sense of urgency to consider programmatic approaches to the backyard rental sector.
This Practice Brief provides a reflection on the land occupations that occurred during the national lockdown in 2020. It argues that these land occupations evidence a genuine housing need in the context of increasing economic insecurity brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Noting the impact increased housing insecurity has on the informal rental market, and on backyarding more particularly, the practice brief provides recommendations on supporting the backyard sector, as well as preventing and responding to land occupations.
This practice brief explores case studies of state interventions in backyarding to understand the limitations and potential in the sector and suggests what more supportive interventions for backyard dwellers could look like. It draws on a model that distinguishes areas of intervention based on the status of land ownership and the intention of the intervention. In so doing, the practice brief offers a reflection on the complexities of responding adequately to the unique needs and challenges that rise in the backyard housing sector, with particular attention given to backyard rental accommodation
This graphic poster appeals to our imagination about how an incrementally developing neighbourhood could look like. It is a visual depiction and interpretation of in-situ upgrading policy as it unfolds in practice over time. NGOs, municipal officials and community development practitioners can creatively use this resource in community engagements and to advocate for community needs and aspirations in an upgrading project. This product was jointly developed by Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Development Action Group (DAG), Habitat for Humanity South Africa, Isandla Institute, People’s Environmental Planning (PEP), Ubuhle Bakha Ubuhle (UBU) and Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU).
Available in English/Afrikaans and English/isiXhosa.”
This graphic novel appeals to our imagination about how an incrementally developing neighbourhood could look like. It is a visual depiction and interpretation of in-situ upgrading policy as it unfolds in practice over time. NGOs, municipal officials and community development practitioners can creatively use this resource in community engagements and to advocate for community needs and aspirations in an upgrading project. This product was jointly developed by Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Development Action Group (DAG), Habitat for Humanity South Africa, Isandla Institute, People’s Environmental Planning (PEP), Ubuhle Bakha Ubuhle (UBU) and Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU).
Available in English/Afrikaans and English/isiXhosa.”
This submission was developed to inform the post-Breaking New Ground (BNG) human settlements policy and legislative. It has been prepared by the Cape Town NGO Collaborative Initiative, a collective of urban sector organisations with a wide range of expertise and experience in progressive practice around participatory and incremental informal settlement upgrading, and human settlements development more broadly, in South Africa. These organisations are: Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Development Action Group (DAG), Habitat for Humanity South Africa, Isandla Institute, People’s Environmental Planning (PEP), Ubuhle Bakha Ubuhle (UBU) and Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU).
This policy brief was developed in the context of the Informal Settlements Data Project, a partnership project between the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU), the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and Isandla Institute, with support from Comic Relief. It draws together lessons emerging from the project, and the broader practice of the partner organisations.
This booklet intends to support NGOs and the communities they work with to understand the institutions involved in upgrading projects and better navigate related governance processes. It is adapted from an institutional mapping exercise of the informal settlement upgrading sub-sector of human settlements development.
This practice brief moves beyond a concept of conflict management towards a notion of conflict transformation in communities to suggest that strategies for addressing conflict can be constructive in bringing about a change. We unpack the generative potential of contestation and conflict while, at the same time, acknowledging that it can become unproductive in instances where it escalates into violence or where it is used as a deliberate strategy to stall or undermine the process.
A resource for informal settlement upgrading practitioners and community leaders. This poster is an accompaniment to the the guide for municipalities, "Advancing a Co-Production Approach to Upgrading Informal Settlements in South Africa". It promotes communities and municipalities working together to plan, implement and monitor upgrading of informal settlements towards liveable neighbourhoods.
This guide navigates the various moments in the upgrading process that present opportunities for greater community participation and co-production. It identifies possibilities for co-production and the relationships between all actors in an upgrading project. The guide responds to the realities and constraints facing municipalities, and seeks to assist officials in creating the space and shifting the mind-set across all three spheres of government towards co-production in informal settlement upgrading.
In this practice brief we advance practices that shape and foster more balanced power between men and women, such that they are enabled to participate equally and meaningfully not only in upgrading projects but also in broader society.
In this practice brief, we describe the case of the 2017/2018 Cape Town water crisis and the conditions of water insecurity, which should propel a move towards more sustainable water resources. The practice brief also explores the principles of good water governance and suggests the water service sector can incorporate these principles in to a framework to support future resilience.
In this practice brief, we explore land use management challenges experienced in informal settlement upgrading and how SPLUMA can be leveraged to address these challenges, whilst drawing on experiences and lessons from practice that will help move towards more progressive land use management framework and systems.
This practice brief examines the manifestations of incrementalism as well as the potential and limitations of incremental informal settlement upgrading. The practice brief offers a reflection on the realities of implementing an incremental, co-productive and progressive approach with regards to informal settlement upgrading across South Africa, and concludes with lessons learnt from the Cape Town-based community of practice.
In this practice brief we explore the ways in which informal settlement upgrading interventions can enable residents to move along a continuum from lesser to greater tenure security without privileging individual ownership as the only desirable end-point. It offers some practical recommendations intended to guide the work of informal settlement upgrading practitioners.
Upgrading informal settlements in South Africa: A partnership-based approach (UCT Press) 2016 – ISBN: 9781775820833
This practice brief considers the potential for upgrading interventions to support the livelihood strategies of residents living in informal settlements. Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF), it considers the multiple interrelated factors that affect the sustainability of livelihoods, and explores methods that can be used to make sense of local realities.
This practice brief suggests that community capability is a complex concept that consists of multiple dimensions, including skills and competencies, information, assets and values and orientations. These dimensions are interdependent, and may be either constraining or enabling. We consider both the benefits and challenges of enhancing community capability for informal settlement upgrading.
The practice suggests that multi-sectoral partnerships are valuable in processes of informal settlement upgrading as it allows for the combination of approaches aimed at meeting the immediate needs of the urban poor, and those that seek to ensure democratic decision making through participatory local governance. It acknowledges that while partnerships hold both normative and practical benefits, they are by no means easy. Drawing on the experiences of Cape Town-based practitioners the document offers some recommendations for how to mitigate challenges related to multi-sectoral partnerships, and for ensuring meaningful collaboration between diverse stakeholders.
This practice brief provides an overview of upgrading as an approach to development. This serves not only to highlight the merits of upgrading, as well as key principles such as participation and incrementalism, but also to draw out some of the potential limitations to the successful large-scale implementation of upgrading interventions in South Africa.
This practice brief argues that inclusive cities can only be built through processes that draw on the experiences and expertise of local communities. It shows that community-based planning offers key principles and methods that are useful for formulating upgrading interventions that are grounded in community participation and that promote the co-construction of inclusive, just and sustainable urban living environments.
This practice brief argues that actors who are able to hold the space between key stakeholders in the process of informal settlement upgrading have a significant role to play in strengthening development practice in South Africa. Given the complexity of informal settlement upgrading – an approach that requires the involvement of multiple actors with often divergent interests – the practice brief suggests that intermediation is critical to the success of this approach
Consolidating Developmental Local Government: Lessons from the South African Experience (Juta Press) 2008 - ISBN: 9781919895048