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14 February 2024

Inclusionary housing: A novel approach to building integrated cities

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Inclusionary housing policy offers a new way of addressing the urban housing crisis in South Africa. It involves private developers contributing to the production of well-located affordable housing in return for public incentives. What are the main principles and mechanisms involved in these partnerships? We look at the experiences of three South African cities at different stages of adopting and implementing the policy.


South African cities need to find new ways of tackling the housing crisis. The metros are caught in a triple bind by shrinking housing budgets, soaring urbanization pressures and exclusionary property markets that prolong spatial apartheid and consign many people to lives of hardship and misery. Meanwhile, diminishing trust between public and private sector actors corrodes efforts to accelerate housebuilding and forge more diverse and inclusive neighbourhoods.

There is no single or simple formula for overcoming the shortage of affordable housing in places that are accessible to jobs, services and amenities. A multi-pronged partnership approach is necessary to mobilise investment from diverse sources and expand the institutional capacity available to design and construct decent homes in desirable locations.

This means getting relevant parties to work together on a common agenda geared to building integrated settlements in compact cities. It requires changing tack from the disjointed efforts that have dominated the past 30 years, where the tendency has been for public and private sector housing schemes to be delivered through separate systems and in disparate locations.

Read the full article by Ivan Turok, Margot Rubin, and Andreas Scheba on the Econ3x3 website.

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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