Urban Upgrading in South Africa: Policy and Reality

Resource Library | Author Richard Martin | Date March 2010

Typically, especially in Africa, governments endorse “enabling environment” policies (e.g. site and service projects or in situ upgrading,) but they don’t implement them. There are technical issues, which are used as a device to resist such policies, and underlying these technical positions are old-fashioned prejudices regarding the appearance of the city, and the risks of giving power to the poor. Informal settlements do not conform to town planning and township regulations, and those responsible for upgrading will find excuses for not doing it. Slum upgrading requires an inclusive and participatory way of working to which conventional engineering and town planning have scant relevance.