South Africa: Salt River Market - an Affordable Housing Project Stonewalled By the City of Cape Town


Salt River Market could have been perhaps the most well located and socially mixed affordable housing development in South Africa - instead, it appears that no one at the City of Cape Town is driving the development forward.

Cape Town, like all South African cities, is still grappling with the spatial legacy of apartheid and colonialism. Segregation is pervasive, access to safe and decent housing is largely determined along racial lines, and sprawl and fragmentation characterise the city's urban form.

Yet, 26 years after the end of apartheid, not a single affordable home has been constructed in a former whites-only area of Cape Town during democracy. Policies and legislation at all levels of government recognise the importance of urban restructuring, and significant emphasis is placed on the delivery of well-located affordable housing. Why, then, has so little progress been made? And what can we learn from individual housing projects that have faced considerable delays?

Salt River Market is an exceptionally well-located piece of publicly-owned land near the Cape Town city centre. It has been proposed as a site for affordable housing since at least 2008. Numerous plans and proposals to develop Salt River Market have been put forward since then,...

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