Moving on up: Lessons from 'reblocking' in Mshini Wam
Date: 10 December2019
Time: 12h30 – 14h00
Venues: Video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal Livestream by Vidyo
Presenters: Sizwe Mxobo (Project Preparation Trust) and Justin Visagie (Human Sciences Research Council)
Municipalities are under immense pressure to deal with expanding informal settlements as people seek out cheap accommodation in close proximity to jobs, transport and related urban services. Informal densification can lead to problems of crowding, congestion, pollution and a range of publichealth and safety hazards. However, density can also be a tool for resource efficiency and resilience if combined with investments in the built environment through economies of scale in public service provision, lower logistics and commuting costs, and facilitating more intense human interactions.
Can overcrowded informal settlements be made more liveable by developing upwards, rather than outwards, thereby economising on land and freeing up space for circulation, economic transactions and socialisation? This seminar reflects on the experience of ‘reblocking’ of Mshimi Wam informal settlement in Cape Town in 2013. This involved the re-arrangement of approximately 250 shacks according to a community-driven master plan that also created capacity for upward extensions. Does this example hold the blueprint for getting informal settlements onto a more sustainable path?
Sizwe Mxobo is an urban planner at the Project Preparation Trust with a passion for facilitating community-municipal engagements, capacity building and mobilization. He was instrumental in facilitating ISC/CORC/iKhayalami reblocking of Mshimi Wam in 2013.
Justin Visagie is a research specialist from the HSRC: EPD leading research on the upgrading of dense informal settlements in eThekwini and Luanda funded by the International Science Council.
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