Participtory based Planning for Upgrading of Informal Settlments
image June, 2016 Housing

PEP has always advocated the incremental upgrading of well-located informal settlements, instead of greenfield housing developments in the urban peripheries. It is encouraging to see the slow shift of government policy, especially at National level, towards upgrading of informal settlements.

The National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP) is such initiative. NUSP is designed to support the National Department of Human Settlements (NDHS) in its implementation of the Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme (UISP) with the objective of eventually upgrading all informal settlements in South Africa. The key objective of NUSP is to enhance the capacity municipalities to overcome challenges of growing number of informal settlements and slow delivery of subsidised houses through incremental upgrading of informal settlements.

Between October 2013 and May 2014, PEP partnered with Development Action Group (DAG) in its National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP) contract with Department of Human Settlements to provide socio technical assitance in 25 informal settlements around Cape Town. PEP team led the facilation process in 14 informal settlements in Philippi East – Thabo Mbeki East & West, Marcus Garvey, Phola Park, Never-Never and 10 settlements in Sheffield Road and surrounds. There are 6280 households in total in these settlements.
The aim of the project was to provide socio technical assistance, to enhance the capacity of CoCT officials and communities to develop robust informal settlement upgrading plans through a participatory planning processes. In addition, the programme aimed to strengthen the capacity of City of Cape Town officials to deliver informal settlement upgrading in a coordinated and programmatic manner through the City’s Pilot Upgrade Consolidation Programme. The entire process was a phased approach involving gathering baseline information, assessing institutional setup at community and City level, one-on-one engagement with community leaders and ward councillors, workshops and co-production of settlement maps and profiles with community and the City. Therefore, the entire process was designed to help build bridges between communities in informal settlements and the City of Cape Town (CoCT).

Phasing of the NUSP Programme:

Phase 1 included introductory meetings with community leaders, ward councillors, local CBOs and NGOS, and relevant City officials to establish local level institutional arrangments. This phase also included one-on-one interviews and site investigations to complete intermediate settlement profiles.

Phase 2 included Participatory Action Planing (PAP) and community mapping workshops

Phase 3 included scenario planning workshops with community leaders, local councillors and City officials to establish various development options for each of the settlements.

Phase 4 included completing four advanced settlement profiles for Thabo Mbeki East & West, Marcus Garvey, Phola Park and Never-Never informal settlements; and one area wide profile for ten settlements in Sheffield Road and surrounds.

Phase 5 included reflection and feedback workshops with community, city official, DAG and other key stakeholders.

Phase 6 the focus will be taking forward the planning process based on ‘re-imagining’ Philippi framework.

The final outcome in the form of settlment profiles also included Priority Action plans for each informal settlement based on short term goals identified by the communities. The following are some of the short term priority action plans:

• Improve working relationship with the City of Cape Town by establishing a Working Group in each settlement to enable open lines of communication; and the preparation of an MOU outlining roles and responsibilities, outputs and timeframes.
• The partnership with the NGO sector is important for the purpose of leadership capacity building, environmental awareness and education, alternative solutions to informal settlement challenges, Local Economic Development etc.
• Establish and strengthen appropriate committees i.e. infrastructure, disaster, waste management, security, education to support the management, interim development of the settlement.
• Education and civic awareness programmes focusing on environmental education and mitigation of health risks arising from poor sanitation and solid waste pollution (cholera, hepatitis, ecoli infection, diarrhoea, TB, etc).
• Fire and flooding mitigating strategies at household and settlement level.
• To carry out household survey and enumeration to ascertain the current number of households and determine the number of taps and toilets required to meet minimum standards.
• Ensure regular repairs and maintenance of communal toilets, water stand pips, other infrastructure and the collection of solid waste and area cleaning. .
• Improve accessibility, mobility and internal drainage of roads and pathways.
• Improve the critical lack of social facilities such as as community meeting area, pre-schools, primary school. Additionally, integrate social facilities with the surrounding area.
• Improve and integrate existing economic facilities and livelihood activities in the settlement and surrounding areas. Provide support for small businesses within each settlement to benefit from various LED strategy programmes for small emerging businesses.
• The local government should engage community in each settlement about its views concerning the existing land as well as its intentions in the foreseeable future.