• Monday 17 Oct 2016
  • Grassroots Approaches Towards Self-Reliance in South Africa: the Isulabantu Project (Informal Settlements Upgrading Led by the Community)

    Side Events
    Venue: R6
    Lead Organization:
    • University Of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
    Partner Organization:
    • University Of Westminster (Department Of Property And Construction And The Policy Studies Institute ) Represented By Dr M.C. Georgiadou (as Principal Investigator – UK Team- For The ISULabantu Project); Economic And Social Research Council (ESRC) Funder Of The UK Research Team Through The Call: “ESRC/NRF Newton Call For Collaborative Research Urban Transformations In South Africa” National Research Foundation (NRF) Funder Of The SA Research Team Through The Call: “ESRC/NRF Newton Call For Collaborative Research Urban Transformations In South Africa” UTshani Fund (part Of Slums Dwellers International -SDI SA Alliancenetwork); EThekwini Municipality (Human Settlements Unit).

    This event will present preliminary results of a 3-year collaborative project called ISULabantu (https://www.isulabantu.org/), started in February 2016 and led by the University of Westminster (UK) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (SA), in collaboration with uTshani Fund (SA) and University College London (UK). The overarching aim of this study is to develop and test an integrated “Collaborative environmental and construction management Toolkit” to enhance community self-reliance in South Africa. This interdisciplinary project reconciles social science with built environment participatory action research, to co-produce integrated approaches for community-led upgrading in informal settlements. It seeks to enhance skills, explore indigenous knowledge and share lessons between communities and local and national authorities and research institutions. An interactive presentation (including audio-visual material) will be followed by a panel discussion with selected experts in the areas of Environmental management, community participation and construction. This event seeks to critically discuss the preliminary results of the Phase 1 (Local context and Gap Analysis) of this project. This phase, led by the School of Built Environment & Development Studies of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, SA), aims at uncovering barriers and drivers impacting on existing bottom-up upgrading of informal settlement and revealing factors that have enhanced self-reliance in informal settlements in the Durban Metropolitan Area. Fieldwork activities (based mainly on focus groups and interviews) in selected case studies in the eThekwini Municipality, have been conducted in collaboration with a local NGO, uTshani Fund. The core vision is to re-examine informal settlements through the lenses of the community and co-producing inclusive approaches for the upgrading of informal settlements. A comprehensive definition of Community-led approach and the existing gaps between local government and informal settlement communities revealed by this study, may be used as a platform for developing a new grassroots-based framework for upgrading informal settlements in South Africa.