Transforming our informal settlements to make them more habitable

We have often spoken about developing spaces and redesigning informal settlements in the city. But we have rarely spoken with someone who has an intimate firsthand experience of local informal settlements.

Sizwe Mxobo, from the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), is a recipient of the South African Planning Institute’s (SAPI) Young Planner Award.

He was born and raised in an informal settlement, and has always thought of what it would take to transform an informal settlement.

His interest in developing informal settlements has seen him leading a number of upgrading projects in local informal settlements. He has also consulted with the City of Cape Town on local service delivery and development issues.

Mxobo believes planning has failed in South Africa because it considers the spaces in which settlements are located, and not the kind of space citizens want.

Despite his successes as a planner, he still lives in an informal settlement. Mxobo’s approach to his developing and planning work, and to tackling service delivery issues, is to focus on “reblocking” housing settlements, rather than building more informal settlements which lack basic services.

Listen to Kieno Kammies' interview with Sizwe Mxobo below:

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