Open Call : Towards mixed-income housing models in South African cities


The 80:20 series

Towards mixed-income housing models in South African cities

Urban centres in South Africa are becoming increasingly important for their ability to offer access to good work and education opportunities. However, most cities suffer from a lack of more-affordable housing units in well-located parts of the city, reducing people’s access to the majority of economic, social and cultural amenities available.

Mixed-income housing models built by developers in the private sector provide one way of contributing to these challenges, as they allow a wider range of income groups to access housing opportunities in the inner-city. Mixed-income housing refers to developments comprised of housing units with differing levels of affordability, typically with some market-rate housing and some housing that is available to low-income occupants below market-rate.

One way of introducing mixed-income residential developments is the 80:20 housing model, where 20% of the development is reserved for lower-income individuals. Cities such as New York, Toronto, Denver and Bogota have implemented a diverse set of incentives, policies and tools to make these mixed-income housing models possible.

Within South Africa, few initiatives exist which incentivise the private sector to reserve a portion of their developments for other income groups, where the overall development remains financially viable.

Open Call

How could Cape Town and other South African cities adopt 80:20 or similar housing development models? How would you change policy around this? What sort of partnerships are required between community, government and developer? Which cities have come up with great ideas, tools and policies? Which are relevant for Cape Town? Where in Cape Town could this approach work best? What would Cape Town look like if we saw more mixed-income housing developments on public and private land?

Future Cape Town invites all members of the public to contribute including: students, academics, economists, business people, creatives, housing practitioners, designers, as well as individuals outside of the built environment sector to provide content that proposes ideas, examples of housing models and various solutions to the housing problem.


Topic: Mixed-income housing models e.g. 80:20 (what, where and how)

Broad Themes: social justice, housing programmes, government policy, development, fiscal responsibility, culture, ethnography, property, public housing, renting, low income, community.

Length: 1000 words

Stipend: R1500*

*Note: this can be accepted personally, or you can choose to submit your proposal on a volunteer basis and give the proceeds to a cause of your choice.

Deadline: Round 1 review of interest and applications, 26 July, 10:00AM GMT+2. (Please note this is not the date the article needs to be completed but is the date of review. Rolling applications welcome.)

Application: Please express your interest by completing the online form here.

  • Please provide original content but you may use a wide variety or existing research
  • Types of content could include (but not limited to) : an opinion piece, an interview, a long-form piece, a series of case studies. Consideration will be given for short podcasts/recordings but photo essays at this stage will not be suitable
  • Only South Africans or persons residing, working or studying in South Africa may apply
  • Please cite all sources used to inform your content


The work will be considered independent and does not reflect the views of the organisation.

All work on Future Cape Town is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.