Beyond Greenfield Development: Addressing Cape Town's housing backlog through retrofitting and repurposing vacant buildings

PEAK Briefing

Approximately 4,000 to 5,000 government-subsidised houses are built in Cape Town, South Africa annually. In the face of shrinking national budgets, housing delivery is likely to slow, exacerbating the housing backlog and leaving many communities with few choices.

This research examines land and building occupations in Cape Town, South Africa. The research situates these occupations, and the social and political practices that substantiate them, within the limits and constraints of South Africa’s national housing delivery programme. It reveals that retrofitting underutilised or vacant government-owned buildings could help address housing needs. Policy reforms related to housing and urban development need to shift the focus from new-build and support the retrofitting and repurposing of underutilised and vacant buildings for use as affordable housing.

Nobukhosi Ngwenya
Sustainable Growth
Sustainable Cities