City-wide upgrading, planning and management of informal settlements for sustainable mobility

02 Nov 2021

The upgrading of informal settlements remains one of the pressing challenges that government faces in South Africa, and other developing countries. The mushrooming of informal settlements in the developing world, especially in cities demonstrate the failure of the residential property markets to effectively respond the housing demands of the urban poor people, as well as planning for and managing rapid urbanisation in a sustainable manner. One of the failed responses to informal settlements upgrading has been the strong drive to develop programmes and policies to eradicate them as if they were “a cancer” to be destroyed. This anti -development mindset of informality has resulted in most government upgrading programmes in the developing world focusing on relocation and conventional greenfield projects with the hope that these approaches would eradicate the “cancerous informal settlements”. Despite governments unprecedent achievement a world record of providing more than 3,8 million housing opportunities since 1996, informal settlements have grown from some 300 to 1799 during the same period. The relocation and eradication focus has seen poor people’s networks being broken down and the burden of traveling and mobility being placed on their shoulders. The National Development Plan, 2030 Vision proposes incremental upgrading of informal settlements to be aligned to the Metropolitan Spatial Development Plan, which in turn should ensure that upgrading is carried out in accordance with Transit Oriented Development Principles and Objectives. This presentation will therefore look at how South African metropolitan municipalities are aligning Human Settlements (in particular informal settlements) and Integrated Public Transport Plans through application of Transit Oriented Development principles and tools (TOD) towards achieving sustainable and inclusive cities.