2006 Winner
Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovation Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovation Award Trust
South Africa

Description: The Sakhasonke Village, built in the former Walmer area of Port Elizabeth was initiated in 2002 by the General Motors South Africa Foundation and is an expansion and improvement on the success of the Missionvalle housing initiative in 1998 (Impumelelo winner in 1999). Financed with subsidies from the department of Housing (covering 89% of total costs) 337 housing units were built in an area of 44,900 square meters in medium density housing. The project was managed by the Walmer Housing Development Trust, made up of local councillors, and supported by the local Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality. Metroplan was responsible for design and the Urban Services Group worked with the community. While still providing housing for those earning less than R1500 a month under the People's Housing Process (PHP) initiative, the focus on this housing development has been towards medium density housing and urban re-integration. Based closer to the place of work for most of the inhabitants, right near the centre of town, in the Walmer Caravan Park next to the Walmer Township, new designs have been utilised to fit more houses in the same area as previous low density housing developments. This allows for more houses for the same price and in the same square area as previous developments. To achieve this, the size of houses has actually been increased but the plot size was reduced in exchange for greater public areas. Thus, duplexes are more common, yards smaller and the number of parking spaces have been reduced. Meanwhile, community integration and policing have been increased and utilities are easier to manage and cheaper to install. At the same time, the proximity to the residents' places of work has been increased, thus reducing their costs. Under the PHP beneficiaries were the core construction teams, with 30-40 trained by the Easter Cape Training Centre and others taken from local small construction teams. Local Contractors were used and trained in business management.

Innovation: The innovation in this project has to do with higher density housing area and urban reintegration. Most housing developments have been low density and far from employment opportunities, this new development should serve as a better and more efficient model.

Effectiveness: Built in the same square area as previous housing developments and for the same cost of R10,584,159, Sakhasonke accommodates 337 housing units instead of 126, allowing for as many as 1685 people. Its proximity to town centre means proximity of those new residents to their former and potential places of employment. Local workers were used, transferring skills and earning a living and under PHP all new residents have been given full title deed to their new homes.

Poverty Impact: By reducing the cost of travel to residents place of work or school, quality of life has improved. A number of services are also being provided by the Urban Services Group to address problems in the community.

Sustainability: This project was a one-off and sustainability will hinge on its replicability. All residents have free and clear title to their land and as it was completed within the Housing subsidy, there is no money owed.

Replication: This project is a continuation of previous efforts to find a model for housing developments in South Africa. Its success should serve as a model for future growth. The idea of urban re-integration has been talk about in the past and Sakhasonke village should serve as a model of its effectiveness. Similarly the model of medium density housing should allow governments in different regions to build more houses for more people at a lesser cost.

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