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Improving Life Together

Jakupa Architects and urban designers Cape Town

Participatory urban design interventions in informal settlements (Cape Town, South Africa).

Question asked

The informal settlements (poor, dense, unstructured areas with wooden and corrugated houses) in Mfuleni and Site B (two townships in Cape Town) have a lot of issues concerning housing conditions, basic needs, crime, unemployment and environmental risks. To improve the quality of life and the living environment of these areas the following research question has been developed: ‘’Which innovative and efficient urban design interventions can be developed, by using participatory planning, in the informal settlements of Mfuleni and Site B that could be a catalyst for these areas?’’.


The foundation of this research was a combination of 2 different participatory planning methods into 1 new method. By following this method, workshops have been held in the informal settlements with the community leaders of the areas. During these workshops the issues have been analysed and together with them different emergency, temporary and permanent urban design interventions that meet the conditions (be innovative, be efficient, use local capacity, have a catalysing effect) have been developed.


Finally 5 different urban design interventions have been developed (3 in Mfuleni and 2 in Site B). For these interventions an implementation with different development phases has also been designed. Each phase has symbols supporting the intervention. These symbols give a quick indication of the issues that get solved with this interventions and if the interventions meets the conditions. These interventions are the final result that should improve the quality of life and the living environment of the residents of Mfuleni and Site B.


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