I grew up here, that’s where I lived across the road. Now I’m staying in a Wendy* with no water or electricity. I can’t afford to live in a home in an area I grew up. They need to provide affordable houses for us

DAG has a long history of working with local civic leaders, civil society organisations and local government officials in Cape Town neighbourhoods to address inequalities in the access to well-located land and housing in Cape Town. This work is often rooted in neighbourhoods that are undergoing regeneration and associated gentrification. Current spatial trends in Cape Town indicate that spatial inequality is continuing to widen and that well-located neighbourhoods are becoming even more exclusionary, making work in this sphere all the more crucial.

Over the years, DAG has worked to support the development of more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant neighbourhoods by endeavouring to enable the unlocking of strategic and well-located buildings and land parcels for low income social and affordable housing in both the public and private sector. Simultaneously, DAG partners with and equips residents of these neighbourhoods to participate in the development processes that affect them.

Since 2015, DAG has focused on two large projects, namely: Woodstock & Salt River and Maitland Garden Village.

Woodstock & Salt River

In 2015, DAG started working actively in Woodstock and Salt River to unlock state-owned land for the development of social and affordable housing projects, including transitional housing facilities that serve low-income and working-class households. In 2019, the programme team witnessed a huge milestone in their work when Cape Town’s first transitional housing facility was constructed.

Historic Projects

Complementing DAG’s project-based work in Inclusive neighbourhoods has the use of evidence-based research, the creation of popular materials, and the creative use of the media to drive advocacy. This has also included precinct level research in both Parow and the Bellville Interchange.

n 2016, DAG undertook a precinct level study of the Parow Station Arcade in alongside the Greater Tygerberg Partnership. The Parow Station Arcade is strategically located off Voortrekker Road, with an estimated 60 000 people moving through the station daily. Due to the Station Arcade’s strategic location, it has the potential to become a vibrant, inclusive and safe space. The recommendations of the study focused on the potential for social and affordable housing, urban management and place-making underpinned by strong local partnerships as key to enabling more local, area-based regeneration.

In 2013, DAG undertook a study of the Bellville interchange alongside the Greater Tygerberg Partnership. The study was informed by City of Cape Town work that is currently underway as part of the Voortrekker Road Corridor Regeneration Strategy. The strategy had identified a need for public intervention in selected areas to retain opportunities provided by development corridors…..To support improved access to public transport, particularly for those who are dependent on it, by supporting the unlocking of proximate land for higher density development, with a particular focus on affordable housing.”

The study included engagements with multiple users in and around the Bellville Station Precinct to understand, in a nuanced way, people’s experiences, perceptions and aspirations for the area. In addition, DAG undertook a built environment assessment, mapping and assessing over 120 buildings in the area. Approximately 20 buildings were identified that would be suitable for renovation or re-development for residential use.

The findings were workshopped along with a number of key strategic organisations working in and around the Bellville interchange, with the aim of developing a shared vision. The recommendations emerging from the study emphasised the fact that the current informal-formal hybridity opens up the space to the possibility of a mixed-use, transit-oriented, contemporary downtown African centre, that is able to provide more affordable housing.