Christy Zinn – Why Cape Town Must Get Serious About Land

Photo: citizen.co.za

Photo: citizen.co.za

futurecapetown.com. November 2014. In the first week of June, approximately 800 people were evicted from their homes at Lwandle informal settlement in Strand, Cape Town. It was not the first or last eviction to take place in a South African city this year. In fact, evictions happen “almost everyday throughout the country,” according to S’bu Zikode, president of South Africa’s largest national organisation of shack dwellers Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Yet the highly publicised event is an example of the vast social injustices that continue to deepen the trenches between social groups in South Africa’s cities today.

As detailed in a report from activist organization Ndifuna Ukwazi, ‘The Urban Land Question,’ published in The People’s Law Journal, Issue 2, in the Lwandle case, whereby a violent eviction took place midwinter that led to displaced families living in an overcrowded community hall for over two months, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) unlawfully used an interim interdict, which sought to stop more people from moving onto the land, to evict people already living there.

Read more: http://futurecapetown.com/2014/11/why-cape-town-must-get-serious-about-land/#.VGzVTFfF8zE

 

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Emily Badger – What Happens When Housing For The Poor Is Remodeled As Luxury Studios

wrigleywashingtonpost.com. November 2014. CHICAGO — For years, this brown-brick building near Wrigley Field housed people who had nowhere else to go. It had peeling walls and broken smoke detectors. But its tiny one-room apartments offered homes to residents too poor for a one-bedroom, too risky to pass a credit check, too vulnerable — on the perpetual edge of homelessness — to sign a one-year lease.

Today, from the outside, the building looks the same: six stories, with tall windows and an elaborately carved entryway that still announces the property by its pre-World War II name, the “Hotel Carlos.” But it now contains studios remodeled with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hardwood floors. Rent reaches $1,125 a month. The ad in the window promises “vintage charm.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/what-happens-when

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Polly Toynbee – No Exit: Britain’s Social Housing Trap

Ills.: www.itshistorypodcasts.com

Ills.: www.itshistorypodcasts.com

theguardian.com. November 2014. To estate agents, England’s Lane, tucked away in a corner of Hampstead, is one of London’s most sought-after villages. Along its tree-lined length stretches a charming row of small shops, with a tearoom serving gentlemen’s relish on toast, a toy shop full of hand-crafted wooden toys, and a butcher that sells pheasant and grouse. In the window of the DesRes estate agency, flats are offered for rent at £1,500 a week, and just opposite, down a private side road, a seven-bedroom arts-and-crafts style mansion, set in a garden the size of a small park, is on sale for £6.7m.

Walking along England’s Lane, passersby might not notice a mildly forbidding building behind railings, an old nurses’ home that in 2004 was turned into a hostel for Camden’s homeless families, despite protests from local homeowners that it was “not suitable” for the location. The 160 families squeezed into this large red brick block do not visit the shops and cafes here, nor do they get facials at the naturopathic beauty salon, or gaze at the estate agent’s window. Each family has a very small room, originally designed for a single student nurse.

The England’s Lane hostel was intended to provide temporary accommodation for homeless families; however, once they move in here, “temporary” can mean years. The hostel is a modern day version of Dickens’s Marshalsea prison from Little Dorrit, a reluctant community with its own hierarchy of suffering, where years are ticked off by unlucky people who have run aground for one reason or another.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/news/no-exit-britains-housing-trap?

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McKinsey Global Institute ~ Four Steps To Fix the Global Affordable Housing Shortage

Photo: stealmag.com

Photo: stealmag.com

According to global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, the projected cost of providing affordable housing to 330 million households around the world currently living in substandard accommodation is $16 trillion USD. The firm’s latest report, A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge, assesses critical pathways for providing housing to families across a range of socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities. According to the report, adequate and affordable housing could be out of reach for more than 1.6 billion people within a decade. The comprehensive report examines everything from income to cost of heating, boiling down the data into four key mandates aimed at solving the global housing crisis.

The proposed solution is one of ascending goals, similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with a four-tiered plan targeted towards households earning 80% or less of the median income for any given region. The program is designed to meet McKinsey’s 2025 Housing Challenge which aims to provide housing to a projected 440 million households worldwide within ten years through community engagement,  gathering funding, appropriate delivery of housing models, and creation of governmental infrastructure to sustain housing.

Read more: http://stealmag.com/architecture

Download and read the report in its entirety or listen to the abridged version in a podcast published by the McKinsey Global Institute in October 2014 here.

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Frederika Whitehead – Poo Power: Turning Human Waste Into Clean Energy

Photo: thestar.com

Photo: thestar.com.my

thestar.com.my November 2014. Bio-centres which transform human waste into electricity prove that faeces is the ultimate source of renewable energy.

They call them “flying toilets” – the bags of human poo that are thrown out of the windows of the thousands of small shacks that make up Nairobi’s slums.
The largest of Nairobi’s informal settlements is Kibera, just 4.8km from the city centre. An estimated one million people live there, and toilet facilities are scarce. The bare earth streets are carved with gullies: equal parts open sewer and rubbish dump. The nearest toilet for most people is a hole they have dug in a bare patch of ground at the back of their shacks.

But Josiah Omotto, a managing trustee of the Umande trust, has high ambitions: he wants Nairobi to become an open defecation-free city. It’s a big challenge to set for yourself.
“If open defecation was banned in Nairobi today, every member of the informal settlements would have to queue for two days to use the existing toilet facilities,” he says.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com.my/Poo-power

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The South African Civil Society Information Service

SacsisA nonprofit news agency promoting social justice. Seeking answers to the question: How do we make democracy work for the poor?

About
SACSIS – the South African Civil Society Information Service – is a platform for policy dialogue that has been established as a news agency to channel social justice news and analysis about policy dialogue in South Africa to the media.

Rationale of SACSIS
SACSIS seeks to influence media reporting and consequently public policy discourse to promote the idea of the entitlement of the poor, to a higher standard of living and better quality of life.

Trustees of SACSIS
SACSIS is governed by a board of trustees drawn from civil society. Our trustees include activists and practitioners working in academia and NGOs.

Values of SACSIS
SACSIS embraces a rights based approach to development, which views poverty as a denial of human rights.

Approach of SACSIS
SACSIS releases between two and five articles per week. Our emphasis is on quality as opposed to quantity.

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