September 20, 2018

Civil Society Dialogue: Can Social Housing Save Woodstock & Salt River?

Author: DAG Admin, DAG

To mark the launch of DAG’s latest publication – “Can Social Housing Save Woodstock and Salt River – A Community Centred Approach to Neighbourhood Regeneration,” DAG hosted an eye-opening and much needed civil society dialogue. The dialogue was organised to create a safe space for the inner city civics and NGOs to share and reflect on the diverse civil society ideas and strategies to respond to the rapid changes in inner-city neighbourhoods from evictions, new mega upmarket private developments, social housing to local neighbourhood issues of crime, health, parks and heritage.

This engaging dialogue featured representatives from the Woodstock Resident Association (WRA), Bo-Kaap Civic and Rate-payers Association (BOCRA), Observatory Civic Association (OCA), and Reclaim The City (RTC). The representatives from the CBO’s expressed their genuine concerns and views on social housing and neighbourhood regeneration. They also used the platform to share their stories, reflecting on the change they see in their neighbourhoods and how they have responded to this. The panellists concluded with what they see as the opportunities moving forward sharpen our working together.

NGO’s such as Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU), Development Action Group (DAG), Civic Action for Public Participation (CAPP) and the National Association for Social Housing Organisations (NASHO) took the platform to share their experiences on their role/ work in Woodstock and Salt River.  They shared around the current work they are undertaking in the inner city and reflected critically on what they see as the opportunities they saw to ensure a better public sector response to (re)development.

The dialogue was set up in the context of a commitment by the City of Cape Town to engage in a ‘new way of engaging’; as outlined in the Woodstock, Salt River and Inner City Precinct Affordable Housing Prospectus released in September 2017. As DAG we strongly believe that the City of Cape Town's renewed interest and commitment to engage, demands civil society organisations to seize the opportunity and galvanise on-going concerted efforts to demonstrate ideal public participation framework for Cape Town context.

Dialogue Highlights;

  • There is a need for a creative and innovative way of planning at a local level.
  • The City needs to create a formal space for civics to partner collaboratively towards framing a new long-term vision for the inner-city neighbourhood (s). This process needs to be inclusive of poor and working class residents.
  • The conversation of heritage needs to be reshaped – the local history needs to be vested in the community
  • There is a need to hold officials and politicians to account.
  • Can social housing and a new approach to social housing lead to a reimagined Cape Town?