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20 Jul 2020

Reconfiguring dense informal settlements is in the policy spotlight – and rightly so

Daily Maverick

By Justin Visagie, Mark Misselhorn, Andreas Scheba and Ivan Turok

Resettling informal communities is not an option because of the damage it causes to livelihoods and social networks. A better approach is for communities to take advantage of the impermanence of makeshift structures to reposition shacks to create space for basic services. This type of re-blocking can be achieved with limited or no relocations.

The ANC’s economic recovery plan highlights the spatial reconfiguration of informal settlements for the first time in a document on economic policy. Alongside the delivery of social infrastructure and better land administration, the “re-blocking” of informal settlements is one of only three items explicitly mentioned in the short section on human settlements outlined in the plan. The document stresses that the restructuring of informal settlements should “be introduced with immediate effect”. This level of attention to informal settlements is probably unprecedented.

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Daily Maverick

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