News & events


Moving on up: Lessons from ‘reblocking’ in Mshini Wam

10 December 2019
12:30 - 14:00

Date: 10 December2019           
Time: 12h30 – 14h00 
Venues: Video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal Livestream by Vidyo

Presenters: Sizwe Mxobo (Project Preparation Trust) and Justin Visagie (Human Sciences Research Council)

Municipalities are under immense pressure to deal with expanding informal settlements as people seek out cheap accommodation in close proximity to jobs, transport and related urban services. Informal densification can lead to problems of crowding, congestion, pollution and a range of publichealth and safety hazards. However, density can also be a tool for resource efficiency and resilience if combined with investments in the built environment through economies of scale in public service provision, lower logistics and commuting costs, and facilitating more intense human interactions.

Can overcrowded informal settlements be made more liveable by developing upwards, rather than outwards, thereby economising on land and freeing up space for circulation, economic transactions and socialisation?  This seminar reflects on the experience of ‘reblocking’ of Mshimi Wam informal settlement in Cape Town in 2013. This involved the re-arrangement of approximately 250 shacks according to a community-driven master plan that also created capacity for upward extensions. Does this example hold the blueprint for getting informal settlements onto a more sustainable path?

Sizwe Mxobo is an urban planner at the Project Preparation Trust with a passion for facilitating community-municipal engagements, capacity building and mobilization. He was instrumental in facilitating ISC/CORC/iKhayalami reblocking of Mshimi Wam in 2013.

Justin Visagie is a research specialist from the HSRC: EPD leading research on the upgrading of dense informal settlements in eThekwini and Luanda funded by the International Science Council.

Kindly RSVP by 9 December 2019

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference Room, 1st  floor HSRC Library, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria.
Contact Arlene Grossberg  | T: (012) 302 2811  | E:
Cape Town: HSRC Video Conference Room, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.
Contact Shouneez Khan| T: (021) 466 7948 | E:
Durban: HSRC Video Conference Room, The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001.
Contact Ridhwaan Khan  | T: (031) 242 5400  | C: 083 788 2786  | E:  or Wiseman Mbambo | E:

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DSI. Please also note that this seminar may be recorded and published on the HSRC podcast channel.