The VPUU project, in the Khayelitsha township Cape Town, uses social engagement and town planning as tools in fighting crime. The aim is to improve the living conditions for residents. A series of “active boxes” — spaza shops doubling as safe houses and community patrol bases — are planned along the main pedestrian routes to and from stations and taxi ranks. They will be open 24 hours a day to allow unquestioned access by anyone who feels threatened.
Community “sub-centres” are being planned and built, including businesses, that create employment opportunities, and open, public places and schools for sports and recreation. Residents will be involved in upgrading their areas. A Social Development Fund will be used to upgrade the general environment, such as street lights and sidewalks. Regular organized cultural and social events are planned to contribute to a sense of community and togetherness.