MEDIA RELEASE: Experts call for new direction to tackle South Africa’s housing crisis at Future Cape Town Housing Symposium

CAPE TOWN, 28 April 2016

In March 2016, a Future Cape Town symposium on housing brought together 14 experts from across the housing sector in South Africa and South America who collectively called for a new path to tackle the future housing needs of South Africa.

  • The event was attended by over 140 guests, with 14 speakers from the across the housing sector including the areas of design, finance, policy, community engagement and education
  • The event was hosted in association with Urban-Think Tank, DesignSpaceAfrica and dhk Architects and Urban Designers, with the aim of inspiring cross-disciplinary action to improve collaboration between government and civil society.
  • The most prominent call to action was greater communication and collaboration among sectors.

The event examined, and recommended solutions to the present issues of South Africa’s housing markets through facilitated dialogue between designers, government officials,  NGO representatives and experts with engagement from the public. The event heard experts from South Africa, Venezuela, and Columbia and included a vibrant discussion and debate with the guests in attendance.

Some of the main recommendations from the event included:

    • More communication and collaboration among all stakeholders involved in housing markets including designers, finance experts, researchers, planners and politicians
    • Regulations could be scaled back for smaller developments to increase their feasibility and deliverability
    • Communication and feedback from the community who have a vested interested in the project must be central to identifying problems and designing solutions in certain contexts
    • A more widespread focus on informal settlement upgrades and utilizing what is already there, in addition to implementing new housing models.
    • The process of tendering should allow for the involvement of professionals at the conceptual stage to ensure that tenders for housing delivery models remain competitive as well as suited for the demand of the project.

Says Michelle Matthee, representing an affordable housing rental company, Communicare : “It is great to see the dialogue opening up and professionals beginning to see the value of collaboration. I think we learned volumes from the speakers and started to challenge our own views and perceptions on what affordable housing really means in the South African context”.  

Guy Briggs, head of Urban Design at dhk Architects and Urban Designers , said that event provided a productive step forward in the face of South Africa’s housing crisis, “Housing is a burning issue: the housing forum demonstrated that the skills and enthusiasm to tackle it are there – but we need to find a way to harness those. I look forward to continuing to engage with colleagues in the public and private sector as we work towards solutions” .

Says Alfredo Brillembourg, co-founder of Urban- Think Tank : “We work with politicians, policy makers, community groups and global corporations and international professionals. We believe that the opposition of ‘legal’ and ‘peripheral’ urban areas, the rich and the marginalised, are equally constitutive and therefore a new model of city visioning must be implemented for developing cities.. For institutions, like Future Cape Town the idea of a redefining the housing process is an attempt to simplify and understand all possible forms of behaviour and action.”

Rashiq Fataar, director of Future Cape Town, expressed his appreciation to experts and collaborators for their valuable contributions to the success of the event, and reiterated the organisation’s commitment to bringing stakeholders together on issues that deeply affect the future of the city.

Future Cape Town aims to host more collaborative events on this topic and the ideas and outcomes will be published to the website in the coming weeks. To be informed of future events visit


To arrange interview with speakers or for more information please contact Elizabeth Novacek / Hannalie Malan : /


Notes to editors:

  1. Find the full event programme here
  2. Future Cape Town is an independent non-profit organisation promoting democracy, sharing inspiration and working in collaboration to improve our future cities. Read more here