1999 Winner
KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
South Africa
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This project involved the largest informal settlement relocation ever undertaken in Durban. Canaan was a squatter community built on steep land adjacent to the national highway in Durban. Existing plans to relocate the community became urgent in 1997, when continued heavy rains caused major land subsidence, and a major landslide threatened to bury residents and destroy their homes.

The urgency required co-operation amongst all role players. Durban Metro Housing, a division of the Durban Metropolitan Municipal Authority, supervised the relocation as part of its new housing strategy for all of Durban's inhabitants. A successful public-private joint venture was entered into with Effingham Housing, a property developer which had commenced the development of a new housing development called Quarry Heights. Scott Wilson South Africa were appointed as the planners and consulting engineers in conjunction with Cranford Construction, and Infraserv were the project managers.

Initially the squatters were reluctant to move, but extensive consultation regarding the impending disaster and the plans for relocation were successful. Because of the threatened landslide an emergency interim move took place to a transit camp in the nearby Springfield Industrial Estate. From there, the families were relocated to Quarry Heights, where the basic shells of 21-square metre starter homes were provided free of charge. Beneficiary families had to provide the front door, windows and finishes. The development provided existing roads, street lights, play lots and other child care facilities, and access to services such as potable water, sanitary facilities, domestic waste disposal and electricity supply.

The final result is an overall improvement in the quality of life of the residents. Canaan provided no sanitation, sewerage, water supplies or any other services, while the nearby development of Quarry Heights is not only safer, but provides sturdy housing with running water, sewage connections and power. The community has better access to transport routes and economic opportunities ensure the sustainability of the project.

Many of the residents have begun gardening, and some are in the process of extending their dwellings. Churches and playgrounds have sprung up and a trust has been formed to raise funds for further development in the area. What began as an emergency relocation scheme has provided a model for rapid low-cost housing delivery through effective local government action in conjunction with the private sector.

"This project demonstrates a speedy and pragmatic approach to resolving immediate social problems by establishing workable relationships between the private and public sector " Malcolm McCarthy, Impumelelo Project Evaluator.

Innovation: A successful public-private partnership ensured for the largest informal settlement relocation undertaken in Durban. The impending landslide emergency made a 2-phase relocation necessary where the community was initially moved to a safe transit camp, from where they were relocated to a newly developed housing estate. The urgency of the situation demonstrated that both local government and the private sector are able to fast-track developmental objectives.
Poverty impact: The project relocated 10 000 informal settlement dwellers from a dangerous and life threatening site to safe and stable new housing. 2000 families were relocated and provided with a basic starter house at no cost, with an option to expand. Residents were given access to water, electricity and sanitation which they had not had previously, thereby resulting in a dramatic improvement in the quality of life.

Replication: The new housing development offers better access to transport routes and economic opportunities, which enhances the sustainability of the project by allowing residents to maintain their housing environments well beyond the completion of the Project.

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