Roundtable Discussion: Just Urban Transition for informal settlements

  • Date of publication: 04 March 2024

On February 22, 2024, a roundtable discussion was hosted by the Islanda Institute, with the participation of the Gauteng City Region Observatory and forty-five other organizations. The purpose of this roundtable was to launch a report and a deliberative engagement tool, aimed at assisting municipal practitioners in engaging with informal settlement communities regarding upgrading decisions to drive a just urban transition. The report unpacks the implications and strategic opportunities of the 'Pathways for a Just Urban Transition in South Africa' guide for metropolitan municipalities in terms of informal settlement upgrading policy and practice.

According to the Islanda Institute, the report highlights a concerning risk, which is the continuation of systemic exclusion experienced by informal settlement residents from urban development and decision-making. This risk is further perpetuated as the government and other stakeholders pursue high-level agendas related to strategies for decarbonizing the economy and making society climate resilient. To mitigate these risks, the report recommends a bottom-up approach to informal settlement upgrading using the principles of the above-mentioned guide for metropolitan municipalities.

The report outlines six important elements for a bottom-up approach to informal settlement upgrading. These include establishing a meaningful social agreement, providing essential services and infrastructure, addressing land, tenure and housing issues, supporting livelihoods and the economy, establishing partnerships, and ensuring proper governance and funding. The Isandla Institute suggests that using the deliberative engagement tool can help various actors work together to create vibrant, safe, and resilient informal settlements.


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