Re­struc­ture of towns and cities

Af­ford­able rental pro­gramme must go be­yond sim­ply pro­vid­ing de­cent shel­ter, writes

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THE af­ford­able rental pro­gramme is an in­te­gral part of sus­tain­able hu­man set­tle­ments where it aligns to all cur­rent hous­ing pro­grammes de­vel­oped un­der Break­ing New Ground and in­cor­po­rated into the 2009 Hous­ing Code that seeks to ad­dress spa­tial in­jus­tice.

It re­quires that the pro­gramme should de­lib­er­ately bring about change to ap­pro­pri­ately con­trib­ute to sus­tain­able hu­man set­tle­ment. The pro­gramme must be able to fa­cil­i­tate growth, de­vel­op­ment and trans­for­ma­tion of af­ford­able rental as an im­por­tant ur­ban pro­gramme.

The pro­gramme is one where the fo­cus goes be­yond the im­me­di­ate ob­jec­tive of ac­cess to ad­e­quate shel­ter to an in­ter­ven­tion where the pos­i­tive im­pact on peo­ple’s lives, the econ­omy and the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment must be achieved.

Ob­sta­cles aris­ing from the eco­nomic struc­ture and spa­tial pat­tern­ing of South African so­ci­ety have proven stub­born and per­sis­tent. In some in­stances, post-apartheid pro­grammes have even in­ad­ver­tently re­in­forced apartheid in­equities.

The Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan di­rected that, for the cre­ation of sus­tain­able hu­man set­tle­ments, a sys­tem­atic re­sponse to en­trenched spa­tial pat­terns across all ge­o­graphic scales that ex­ac­er­bate so­cial in­equal­ity and eco­nomic in­ef­fi­ciency is re­quired.

De­liv­ery of af­ford­able rental must be used to re­struc­ture towns and cities, strengthen the liveli­hood prospects of house­holds and trans­form the econ­omy by chang­ing the ac­cess to and flow of re­sources.

Af­ford­able rental must be un­der­taken and fa­cil­i­tated in a co­her­ent way where it cre­ates good liv­ing en­vi­ron­ments for res­i­dents. This im­plies not only new ur­ban de­vel­op­ment but strongly sug­gests a fo­cus on ur­ban re­newal in the tar­geted in­vest­ment ap­proach with good ur­ban man­age­ment as a key com­po­nent of im­ple­men­ta­tion. Since af­ford­able rental is a sup­ply side-driven pro­gramme, eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion across the en­tire value chain must also be achieved.

Af­ford­able rental de­liv­ery must be scaled-up sig­nif­i­cantly. This will re­quire a vi­sion for the pro­gramme, which sets bold tar­gets sup­ported by a gear-up of the re­quired fund­ing and fi­nanc­ing as well as ca­pac­ity to de­liver. A sup­port­ive and strong regulatory en­vi­ron­ment can as­sist to en­sure a prop­erly fo­cused af­ford­able rental pro­gramme.

A more co­her­ent and in­clu­sive ap­proach to ur­ban land by, for in­stance, de­vel­op­ing over­ar­ch­ing prin­ci­ples for spa­tial de­vel­op­ment and re­vis­ing the reg­u­la­tions and in­cen­tives for hous­ing and land use man­age­ment would be im­por­tant. This also in­cludes build­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties to trans­form hu­man set­tle­ments and de­vel­op­ing bolder mea­sures for sus­tain­able hu­man set­tle­ments.

The goal is there­fore to im­prove spa­tial plan­ning and tar­get­ing for af­ford­able rental in ur­ban ar­eas which may in­clude min­ing towns and cat­alytic projects, pri­ori­tised by Hu­man Set­tle­ments Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu. This re­quires a precinct-based plan­ning ap­proach in con­sul­ta­tion with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties such that projects may be con­cep­tu­alised, planned and de­vel­oped based on solid and cur­rent so­cio-eco­nomic and geospa­tial in­for­ma­tion where the re­struc­tur­ing in­tent can be re­alised.

The ob­jec­tive is to con­trib­ute strongly to­wards the achieve­ment of ur­ban re­struc­tur­ing and re­newal through ur­ban in­te­gra­tion and im­pact­ing pos­i­tively on ur­ban economies. This must be achieved to en­sure that the poor are not pushed fur­ther away to dis­tant and mar­ginal lo­ca­tions. A spa­tially more com­pact growth form will im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of ser­vice de­liv­ery and re­duce the costs of ur­ban gov­er­nance.

Im­proved spa­tial plan­ning and tar­get­ing may con­trib­ute to an af­ford­able rental project pipe­line where bud­get al­lo­ca­tions may be­gin to be linked to not only the de­vel­op­ment of the projects but also the man­age­ment ca­pac­ity re­quire­ments where the tar­geted in­vest­ment would, ul­ti­mately, cre­ate de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties that can be aligned with eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

Re­struc­tur­ing and trans­for­ma­tion is not only so­cial and spa­tial but also in­cludes a strong eco­nomic com­po­nent to cre­ate less frag­men­ta­tion and a health­ier so­ci­ety with suf­fi­cient ac­cess to re­sources.

An af­ford­able rental pro­gramme must in­clude strate­gic plan­ning that not only fo­cuses on growth or set­ting tar­gets but that in­tro­duces a ca­pac­i­tated de­liv­ery model with a proac­tive in­vest­ment ap­proach that op­er­ates within a strong risk-based regulatory en­vi­ron­ment.

Im­proved eq­ui­table spa­tial plan­ning and tar­get­ing can po­ten­tially not only in­crease de­liv­ery but also strengthen the link re­quired be­tween the dif­fer­ent spheres of gov­ern­ment to fa­cil­i­tate a suc­cess­ful af­ford­able rental pro­gramme.

This re­lates to a com­mon spa­tial vi­sion to con­nect ur­ban ar­eas by de­vel­op­ing an en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­ni­ties that are in­clu­sive, in­te­grated, con­nected and where all col­lab­o­rate to cre­ate liv­ing and work­ing en­vi­ron­ments that are healthy, safe, en­abling and ac­ces­si­ble.

If this vi­sion is not shared to en­sure poor res­i­dents have ac­cess to our ur­ban area’s unique life­style of­fer­ing, af­ford­able rental hous­ing un­rav­els at the seams.

Re­cently, the min­is­ter ap­proved ad­just­ments to the So­cial Hous­ing Pro­gramme. These in­clude:

a) The shift in in­come bands – this means the rais­ing of the lower qual­i­fy­ing house­hold in­come limit for the pri­mary mar­ket from R3 500 to R5 500 a month. It also means the rais­ing of the up­per qual­i­fy­ing house­hold in­come limit from R7 500 to R15 000 a month.

b) An in­crease in the Re­struc­tur­ing Cap­i­tal Grant from R125 615 a unit to R155 000 a unit.

This is to en­sure that the so­cial hous­ing pro­gramme con­tin­ues to re­main fo­cused on in­clud­ing the pri­mary tar­get mar­ket in well-lo­cated projects so that the poor are in­te­grated in the cities. Due to ero­sion caused by in­fla­tion over the years, the pro­gramme was no longer able to achieve this, but the ad­just­ments help to bring in the re­quired rev­enue from fam­i­lies in the gap mar­ket so that the pro­gramme can con­tinue to ac­com­mo­date fam­i­lies on the lower end of the in­come lad­der.

It is ex­pected that an af­ford­able rental pro­gramme that ad­dresses these goals and ob­jec­tives may en­sure that sus­tain­able hu­man set­tle­ment fa­cil­i­tates trans­for­ma­tion where so­cially frag­mented peo­ple be­come part of a health­ier so­ci­ety with ac­cess to good and use­ful space. It can also en­sure bet­ter ac­cess to the econ­omy and re­sources where an ac­tively trans­formed sup­ply value chain may be achieved.

In ad­di­tion to its pri­mary im­pact of con­tribut­ing to ad­dress­ing spa­tial con­straints to eco­nomic ac­cess it will con­trib­ute to job cre­ation and eco­nomic re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion.

Job cre­ation will be en­hanced via the con­struc­tion of com­plete (as op­posed to in­cre­men­tal) homes, which means greater pri­mary, sec­ondary and sub­se­quent em­ploy­ment mul­ti­pli­ers. Job cre­ation is also served by the cre­ation of em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the man­age­ment and main­te­nance of stock.

Af­ford­able rental may also be a tool in the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion/re­gen­er­a­tion of im­por­tant eco­nomic ar­eas which are lag­ging or un­der-per­form­ing. Suc­cess­ful re­gen­er­a­tion ini­tia­tives in other parts of the world in­di­cate that com­pre­hen­sive strate­gies are nec­es­sary and that the in­tro­duc­tion of af­ford­able rental hous­ing into blighted en­vi­ron­ments has had pos­i­tive ex­ter­nal im­pacts on the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ments. Suc­cess­ful eco­nomic re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion boosts job cre­ation.

Dewalt Koekemoer is sec­tor de­vel­op­ment trans­for­ma­tion ex­ec­u­tive of the So­cial Hous­ing

Regulatory Au­thor­ity

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