WHAT WE DO
Re-imagining neighbourhoods through facilitation
Cape Town land markets have become increasingly over the last five years. Property prices have gone up 200% in many inner city neighbourhoods; bring in question issues around affordability for working class households, often time leading to property market led evictions of working class households. This rise in property prices exacerbated the perception that the City of Cape Town is highly biased towards incentivising private property and developers. This has also brought forward key questions around the constitutional mandate of municipalities in integrating a spatially segregated city. This exponential growth in the property market has also been associated with a systematic decline in mainstream bank finance for households earning under R25 000. As a consequence, households within that income bracket are unable to enter the formal housing market. DAG’s work in the inner city is centred on urban regeneration based on four key strategies- transitional housing within the inner city for housing market led evictees; release of state land for social and affordable housing in the inner city; new ways of engagement between citizens, civic bodies and local government; and finally creating a policy environment for managing land markets through inclusionary housing and other land value capture tools.
Woodstock and Salt River
Over the last three years, DAG started working very closely with other NGO’s, such as the National Association of Social Housing Organizations (NASHO) and City of Cape Town Social Housing Departments. Through years of discussion and dialogue, an approach of urban regeneration was developed that includes housing for working-class households in the inner-city. This ultimately led to the commitment by the City of Cape Town to release eleven parcels of land for social and affordable housing sites in the inner city. The initiative to release publicly owned land by the City is the first of its kind, and two of the sites are scheduled for development in late 2019 and 2021. This will result in significant social housing investment within the inner city and pave the way for greater spatial integration.
One of the main achievements made by DAG to date for has been the successful facilitation of the relocation of the Pine Road informal settlement in Woodstock to the first transitional housing project developed along Pickwick Street in Woodstock. The Pine Road informal settlement located in Woodstock has been home to 19 families for over 20 years. The site has however also been earmarked for the delivery of the first social housing in the inner city, a project that intends to accommodate 220 families. DAG has since 2015 been working closely with the families of Pine Road to secure alternative accommodation in the area. 2019 was a huge milestone as the Pickwick transitional housing was completed and the families living on Pine Road relocated with DAG’s support. The facility is the first of its kind in Cape Town and nationally – it includes rented rooms with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities all managed by a Non-Profit managing agent appointed by the city.
One of the other big achievements was the commitment from the City to a new way of engaging with civics in Woodstock and Salt River as part of the programme around inclusive neighbourhood regeneration. DAG played a critical role both with the City of Cape Town and local civics to co-design this new processes of civic engagement through facilitating a number of workshops and civic dialogues, coupled with extensive one on one meetings with civic leaders and officials. In 2019, the City team received an official mandate from the senior council to undertake this non-mandatory process over the next two years. DAG’s role in this process is recognized is pivotal in this process. The process of establishing relationships and building trust over three years and across a diverse group of actors finally came to fruition through this process.
For media release on Pickwick Street transitional housing
For DAG’s work on Woodstock and Salt River read here
Maitland garden village
The Maitland Garden Village (MGV) is one of Cape Town’s oldest suburbs previously established as a coloured-only community for municipal workers in the 1920s. It is also the first established ‘Garden City’ in South Africa. The MGV community has a rich heritage characterised by both activism and a love for the sports. However, this community is currently threatened by a changing urban-landscape including escalating property prices, overcrowded housing, and high unemployment.
DAG has been playing a supportive role for the MGV Residents’ Association since 2017 by providing capacity building workshops around community organising and annual planning. The work in MGV began with a two-week ‘Change-by-Design’ workshop with Architecture Sans-Frontiers (ASF), which was focused on using design thinking as a means to improve communication. In addition, DAG has also engaged with government officials on the Two Rivers Urban Park (TRUP) process, which MGV is a part of, to understand where the community fits into government plans. Unfortunately, very little emphasis has been placed on the future of MGV from the government’s side, leaving some of the residents feeling like they have been forgotten.
As we continue to strengthen the civic association in Maitland Garden Village, we also believe that there is a great need for peer to peer learning between civics like Woodstock and Saltriver, Bo-Kaap etc.
Re-imagining Mitchells Plain
Mitchells Plain United Residents Association (MURA), an organisation which aims to unite and network with other organisations around issues of mutual concern relating to Mitchells Plain. DAG is supporting MURA to establish three key workstreams- Land & Housing; Economic Development; and Safety & Security. Through MURA’s relationships, strong political support has been garnered in establishing a partnership with City of Cape Town and other bodies to reimagine Mitchells Plain.
DAG’s partnership with MURA has been an effective way of demonstrating support for a well organised civic association. Whilst the journey to reimagine Mitchells Plain is gradual, the foundational emphasis on values, principles and impact have been achieved.
For summit reports and press releases read here