Improving safety is a key outcome of the South African policy on upgrading informal settlements. Yet little is known about the impact urban upgrading has on improving safety and reducing violence in these settlements.
In this article, Mercy Brown-Luthango from the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town shares preliminary findings from a research project that looks at the effectiveness of different urban upgrading approaches with regards to safety.
Safety is an issue which occupies the minds of most South Africans on a daily basis. South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world with a death rate of 157.8 per 100 000 population which is considerably higher than the average rate of 139.5 per 100 000 population for the African continent and nearly double the global average of 86.9 per 100 000 population
Violence and crime are spatially distributed with violent crime often concentrated in poorer, underdeveloped parts of the city. The relationship between violence and the nature and quality of the physical environment is well acknowledged.
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