Cape Town’s future ‘Inner-city’ affordable housing sites : Plans and information



“The dire need for housing for Cape Town’s most vulnerable households” is the single biggest challenge facing local government today according to Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee member for Transport and Urban Development.

It is estimated by the City of Cape Town that approximately 650 000 families earning less than R13 000 a month will rely local government for some kind of assistance for housing between now and 2032. According to Herron, this is partly as a result of “unemployment, slow economic growth, and rapid urbanisation – Cape Town’s population has increased by 56% between 1996 and 2016”. He adds that the task is “exacerbated by the unprecedented growth in the property market in areas close to key nodes of employment, and along public transport routes”.

“There is an obligation on the City and on the private sector to ensure that the inner-city and other central business districts are accessible and affordable to those who are still living on the periphery. This obligation stems from the commitment that is required from all of us to make Cape Town an inclusive and liveable space where there is room for everyone, and where we share equal access to opportunities, regardless of race and income.” adds Herron.

In light of the multiple challenges facing the city and its future growth including the displacement of residents, the City have identified 10 City-owned sites in the city centre, Salt River and Woodstock to be used for “affordable housing opportunities for those who need it most”.


  • Affordable Housing : housing units that are affordable by the section of society whose income is below the neighbourhood’s median household income (Source: Future Cape Town)
    • Social Housing : It is state-subsidised rental housing for households with a monthly income of less than R15 000, developed and operated by an acccredited Social Housing Company or Institution (CoCT definition)
    • GAP rental housing : for households with a monthly income of between R3 500 and R20 000, with access to various government and financial institution subsidies and products (CoCT definition)
    • Transitional Housing : Housing for individuals and households that is temporary but which helps them to prepare their life circumstances to move to more permanent housing solutions. In this instance it is envisaged that for some residents it will provide temporary housing as they transition to more permanent options although it is recognised that, because of the shortage of alternatives for low income households, some households are likely to remain on a semi-permanent basis. (CoCT definition)
    • Inclusionary Housing : Housing developed by the private sector, where the development includes units which are more affordable for income groups lower than the median income of the neighbourhood, or are in a well-located location where certain income groups would not qualify for a loan or bond.(Source: Future Cape Town)


Inclusionary Housing Sites:

  • Pickwick Road : Erf 12814 in Pickwick Road in Salt River – the site is approximately 3.3ha and is a few hundred metres from Victoria Road where residents have easy access to minibus-taxis and buses
  • Woodstock Hospital : A site in Victoria Walk in Woodstock – the site is 18 411 m² and within walking distance of MyCiTi bus stops and Victoria Road where residents have easy access to minibus-taxis and other bus services
  • Woodstock Hospital Park opposite the hospital – the redevelopment must include a public open space and incorporate the crèche that currently operates from this site
  • New Market Street : Erf 14888 in New Market Street in Woodstock – the site is 8 483 m² and is situated next to the MyCiTi bus Route 261 that operates along New Market Street
  • Canterbury Street : Erf 5667 in Canterbury Street in the inner-city – the site is 2 730 m² and is within walking distance of higher-education facilities, shops, numerous MyCiTi bus routes and other public transport. The site is currently leased to Fruit and Veg City
Social Housing Projects :
  • Pine Road and Dillon Lane : Two erven along Pine Road and six erven along Dillon Lane. The Pine Road development will commence first, with the Dillon Lane development as the second phase
  • The Salt River Market in Albert Road will be a mixed-use development with a combination of affordable housing opportunities – from social housing (subsidised rental units for households with a monthly income of less than R15 000) to GAP rental housing (for households with a monthly income of between R3 500 and R20 000) to retail and office space
Transitional Housing projects:
  • Pickwick Site The development of a portion of the Pickwick site, located on the corner of Pickwick and Copperfield Roads in Salt River, for transitional or semi-permanent housing is already under way. The development will initially house residents who are currently living on the Pine Road site
  • James Street : Erven 12010 and 12011 in James Street in Salt River will initially be developed as transitional housing for those residents who are currently living at the Salt River Market
 Future Development Sites
  •  2 sites in the Woodstock area – one in Upper Coventry Road and the other also in Pine Road; as well as a City-owned site consisting of eight erven along Upper Canterbury Street in Gardens, will be available for development at a later stage. 

Precinct Development Approach

According to Herron, the manner in which the City are approaching these developments represents “a 180-degree change in how we will confront the urgent demand for affordable and inclusionary housing in future”.

“We are moving away from a piecemeal development approach towards a Precinct Development Approach which is to be applied first in these inner-city areas. This is a strategic change in line with the City’s transit-oriented development strategic framework that emphasises the need for densification and intensification in transit-accessible precincts – thus, well-located precincts that are close to public transport and employment opportunities”.

Way forward

The prospectus (a public document) for the development of the five sites in the city centre, Woodstock and Salt River will be issued within the next two months. The prospectus will encourage ‘tenure-blind’ affordable housing developments where “the design of the overall development is integrated into the surrounding area and does not distinguish between the differences in income and tenure within the development”. They will include a mixture of affordable housing typologies, including social housing, combined with market-related housing or open market housing. Mixed-use developments will also be encouraged which includes a combination of residential and retail and commercial units so that “the business units can cross-subsidise the affordable housing units, in so doing ensuring the long-term sustainability of the development”.

The process and approach will mirror the one  followed in the proposed development of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct.

The City is also developing a strategy for the provision of housing opportunities in all of the central business districts – not only the Cape Town CBD, Salt River and Woodstock, but also in smaller inner-cities such as Bellville, Parow, Khayelitsha, Claremont, Mitchells Plain, Wynberg and Plumstead.

The City has also called for a similar commitment from developers in the private sector to assist us in providing inclusionary housing on well-located land.


  1. Text includes extracts of a speech delivered by Cllr Herron at the fourth annual Affordable Housing Africa conference.
  2. Affordable Housing ‘Inner-City’ site maps generated from information presented in the Council Document : MC 11/07/17, Approval of the Transitional Housing Project for Woodstock and Salt River on ERF 13814 Salt River. Date : 25/07/2017