Rory Stott – Urban Think Tank Takes On Housing In South Africa’s Township


“Prototype 1.2″, the first house built using the ideas developed by the collaboration. Image Courtesy of ETH Zurich March 20, 2014. Despite 20 years of government promises to improve the quality of housing following the end of apartheid, for many in South Africa‘s townships there has been little noticeable change. This is not to say that the South African government has not been working to meet these goals; however, the scale of the problem is so large, and with population growth and migration, the challenge is only getting greater.

That’s why Urban Think Tank, in collaboration with ETH Zurich and South African NGO Ikhayalami, have worked together on a design for a more immediate, incremental solution called “Empower Shack.

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World Bank – Inclusion Matters : The Foundation For Shared Prosperity

9781464800108Today, the world is at a conjuncture where issues of exclusion and inclusion are assuming new significance for both developed and developing countries. The imperative for social inclusion has blurred the distinction between these two stylized poles of development. Countries that used to be referred to as developed are grappling with issues of exclusion and inclusion perhaps more intensely today than they did a decade ago. And countries previously called developing are grappling with both old issues and new forms of exclusion thrown up by growth. Nonlinear demographic transitions, global economic volatility, shifts in the international balance of power, and local political movements have had a large part to play in these shifting sands. These changes make social inclusion more urgent than it was even a decade ago. This report tries to put boundaries around the abstraction that is “social inclusion.” Placing the discussion of social inclusion within such global transitions and transformations, the report argues that social inclusion is an evolving agenda. It offers two easy-to-use definitions and a framework to assist practitioners in asking, outlining, and developing some of the right questions that can help advance the agenda of inclusion in different contexts.

This report builds on previous analytical work, especially by the World Bank, on themes that touch upon social inclusion, including multidimensional poverty, inequality, equity, social cohesion, and empowerment. There are seven main messages in this report: (1) excluded groups exist in all countries; (2) excluded groups are consistently denied opportunities; (3) intense global transitions are leading to social transformations that create new opportunities for inclusion as well as exacerbating existing forms of exclusion; (4) people take part in society through markets, services, and spaces; (5) social and economic transformations affect the attitudes and perceptions of people. As people act on the basis of how they feel, it is important to pay attention to their attitudes and perceptions; (6) exclusion is not immutable. Abundant evidence demonstrates that social inclusion can be planned and achieved; and (7) moving ahead will require a broader and deeper knowledge of exclusion and its impacts as well as taking concerted action. The report is divided into three parts. Part one is framing the issues. Part two focuses on transitions, transformations, and perceptions. Part three is change is possible.

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Kenichi Serino – South Africa’s Wave Of Discontentment March, 2014. Sebokeng, South Africa – In the early hours of March 10, in a small town in South Africa called Sebokeng, about 100 people gathered to protest their imminent evictions from government housing. They blockaded the road – a major route into Johannesburg known as the “Golden Highway” – with stones and burning tyres. They sang songs in defiance of the eviction orders, promising they would die in their houses before they left them.

The Sebokeng protest did not make the news, except perhaps in the odd traffic report announcing the road closure. It was just one of hundreds of demonstrations by South Africa’s poor and marginalised, which in recent years have become increasingly common – sometimes with fatal results.

So-called “service delivery protests” often take place in semi-urban areas, far from South Africa’s wealthier and more affluent urban districts. About one-quarter of these protests turn violent, according to police estimates, sometimes leaving shops looted or libraries and clinics burnt to the ground.

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History – Matt Pearson – State Library Archives Reveal A City Under Seige As Bubonic Plague Sparks Panic And A Mass Cleansing Of Sydney Slums


Photo: State Library NSW

Bubonic plague outbreak in Sydney killed 103 people in eight months
Mass cleansing of city saw vast tracts of housing, slums razed in CBD
Further 12 outbreaks occured between 1900-1925
Significant urban renewal resulted from demolition of inner city slums

Panic and dread swept through Sydney when the bubonic plague arrived in 1900 and authorities, knowing the ravenous potential of the disease, were ruthless in their attempts to control it.

These stunning pictures from the online archives of the State Library of NSW, uploaded to its Flickr Commons account, document life in the city when the plague arrived.

State Librarian Dr Alex Byrne said the photos told a unique Sydney story, but pointed out that even in the tragic circumstances of 1900, some good still came through.

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Greg Arde – Durban Moves Its Slum-Dwellers Into Converted Office Buildings March 2014. In a high-rise apartment in downtown Durban, Tizzie Gomba surveys her tidy little home with obvious satisfaction. It’s modest, clean and safe. Best of all, it allows the 43-year-old office worker and single mother the opportunity to raise her teenage daughter, Noel, with dignity.
It’s a world away from Gomba’s former dingy flat on a block not far from here.

Most inner-city residents in Durban consider themselves lucky. They don’t live in one of the city’s 500 squatter settlements, the informal favelas that have mushroomed around the city as a crush of rural-to-urban migrants seek jobs in town. The city says there are about 300,000 shacks in Durban, each home to an average of four people, which means over 30 percent of Durban residents live in a shack. Conditions in these slums are appalling. Running water and proper sanitation are scarce. Electricity is illegally connected, leading to frequent electrocutions. Flash floods can wipe out entire settlements overnight.

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The Chartered Institute Of Housing

illustration-houses-bwFrom Octavia Hill to Octavia House
The history of housing management, and the Chartered Institute of Housing, was sparked by the work of pioneers of social reform opposed to appalling housing conditions in the second half of the 19th century.
In 1884-1885 the Royal Commission on the Housing of Working Classes published a report that detailed with shocking clarity the poor conditions in which many people were living. At the same time, forward-thinking social reformers like Victorian socialist, philanthropist and educationalist Octavia Hill, recognised the need for improved housing for the poor and the reform of housing in England began.

Octavia Hill (1838-1912) initiated the profession of housing management, first managing two small groups of dilapidated houses in Marylebone, London in 1865 and 1866. She rented her properties on weekly or short-term tenancies, employing trained female housing managers, who were equipped to deal with repairs, welfare issues and rent accounting, to collect rents in person.
She continued this pioneering work throughout her life and in 1916 women who had trained under her founded the Association of Women Housing Workers. The Association grew and changed its name to the Society of Housing Managers in 1948.
In 1931, a group of local government officers from housing departments in the West Midlands established the Institute of Housing. The roots of CIH were in the Institute of Housing, which held the first Housing conference in 1931, developed its own qualifying examination and published the first issue of Housing magazine in 1938.
The Institute worked alongside the Society of Housing Managers until finally the two groups merged on 24th February 1965, forming the Institute of Housing Managers. This marked the start of the modern era for CIH.

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