How can urban housing become more integrated in Cape Town : 8 Potential Scenarios

Prepared by the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, with support of Future Cape Town

The City of Cape Town’s vision in the Municipal Spatial Development Framework is to create a ‘more inclusive, integrated and vibrant city that addresses the legacies of apartheid’. The historic spatial symbols and structures of segregation in Cape Town are clear for all to see today – freeways dissect the city into a patchwork of different racial and income groups and infrastructure such as the Cape Town Railway Station and Athlone Power Station were designed to push people further apart.

In the past, overcoming this segregation has been achieved predominantly through transport and mobility, better connecting people’s homes to employment opportunities throughout the city. But is this truly integration? The spatial imbalance of economic activity across Cape Town has seen lower income groups forced into longer commutes across the city to access these opportunities.


So what will a more integrated Cape Town actually look like? Where are the neighborhoods that will provide higher density dwellings that are affordable to a range of income groups? What kind of buildings will support a range of dwelling types and mix of tenures?

The release of 10 sites in Woodstock and Salt River for affordable housing provides an opportunity to explore a range of scenarios to see what a more integrated city could look like on the ground. Also read : 5 design proposals for the Woodstock and Salt River affordable housing sites

This series of graphics demonstrates a number of potential scenarios for the integration of different housing tenures in Woodstock and Salt River. Integration is supported by increased residential densities with a combination of mixed housing tenures, high and low end retail and commercial space, as well as good access to public transport.

The graphic for each scenario includes two elements:

  1. The main image provides a visual representation of the proportions of different housing tenures (eg social housing, middle income, high income: buy to live, etc) and the building types they occupy (apartment building, townhouse, informal dwelling) in Woodstock. This is compared with the rest of Cape Town and the distance of the average commute between the two areas;
  2. The bottom of each image shows the proportion of different tenure types in Woodstock charted against Monthly Household Income and the respective government grants or other subsidies available to different income groups;

Scenario One: Business as usual with current parking requirements


Scenario One shows that the current provision of new housing in Woodstock is dominated by ‘high income: buy to let’ apartment dwellings. There is some provision of ‘high income: buy to live’ apartments, with a significant proportion of car parking in these buildings. There is some provision of middle income housing, while lower income formal and informal dwellings are increasingly threatened by new development. Newer retail and commercial floorspace is predominantly high end, which is reflected in Scenarios Two to Five, below.

There is a significant gap in the provision of housing for households with a monthly income of below R35,000, with only a small number of existing dwellings affordable for this group.

In this scenario, an “integration” agenda is served predominantly through provision of public transport that connects outlying areas to the well-located areas of Woodstock, Salt River and the Inner City. Informal, BNG and social housing delivery is thus pushed to areas beyond the inner core.


Scenario Two: 80:20 Model with reduced parking requirements 

Scenario Two demonstrates the 80:20 Inclusionary Housing Model where developers are granted additional development rights by the City in exchange of affordable units. This scenario sees an increase in the provision of dwellings affordable for households with a monthly income of R15,000 to R35,000. Scenario Two also shows a greater provision of middle income housing within apartment buildings by reducing the number of car parking spaces or the parking ration required within the building for the more-affordable units.

In this scenario, some middle-class integration occurs, but the primary mechanism remains mobility connecting to other parts of the metro, where informal and BNG housing expands.


Scenario Three: 80:20 Model with standard RfP with ‘loose conditions’ for sale of public land

In addition to private land being developed with an Inclusionary Housing Model, Scenario Three demonstrates how the sale of public land through a standard RfP process with ‘loose conditions’ could result in higher density residential development for predominantly higher and middle income households. This scenario provides no certainty or requirement for the increase of housing supply for lower and middle income groups and could result in lower income households in Woodstock being pushed into informal ‘backyarder’ arrangements.

This scenario still relies on market mechanisms, some influence by the state on the types of products provided and primary integrative efforts, especially for the low-income, are through mobility.


Scenario Four: Business as Usual with social housing


Scenario Four demonstrates business-as-usual with the addition of the development of public land for social housing. This scenario shows a reduction in housing available to lower income households in Woodstock, however a higher proportion of these will be formal dwellings. There is no housing available to households with a monthly income of R15,000 to R35,000.
The integration of the latter category is left to mobility, and market provision of middle-income housing in less well-located areas.


Scenario Five: Housing Levy

Housing levies: A housing levy requires developers to make a financial contribution to the City for the provision of social housing both in Woodstock and elsewhere, in exchange for increased development capacity approved through a departure.

Scenario Five shows that introducing a housing levy could increase the number of dwellings that are affordable to households with monthly income below R15,000 throughout Cape Town and as a result would help to reduce commuting distances to employment opportunities and potentially see a reduction in lower income informal housing. Departures approved for development on private land would also see an increase in dwellings for higher income groups. This scenario does not increase housing provision for middle income groups, resulting in continued growth of middle-income housing beyond the urban inner core.


Scenario Six, Seven and Eight: The three scenarios see a greater integration across the income spectrum, as well as an increase in low end retail and commercial uses in Woodstock, further integrating businesses and employment opportunities in neighbourhoods that are accessible to people on lower incomes.


Scenario Six: Smart Partnership for public land

Smart Partnerships: A Smart Partnership involves the City entering into a partnership with an affordable housing delivery agent in order to grant them reduced land procurement costs, rate rebates and assist with administrative and bureaucratic hurdles.

Scenario Six shows that Smart Partnerships would help to deliver truly integrated development with a mix of residential tenure types and retail and commercial uses on public land in Woodstock. This scenario would deliver dwellings that are accessible to households with low, middle and high incomes in the same building, and would particularly increase provision in this area for households with monthly incomes between R5,000 and R50,000.

This scenario, due to the density obtainable through the cross-subsidization of market and social, boosts the equity base of SHIs over time. As a result, growth in social housing investments elsewhere in the metro is also seen with time.


Scenario Seven: 80:20 Model and Smart Partnership for public land 

Scenario Seven shows a combination of Smart Partnerships on public land (Scenario Six) and the 80:20 Inclusionary Housing Model on private land (Scenario Two), providing a mix of tenure types. This scenario achieves a similar housing and commercial mix to Scenario Six above, with the addition of an increased number of dwellings for middle income households on private land, reducing pressure on outlying areas


Scenario Eight: Housing Levy with Smart Partnership

Scenario Eight demonstrates a combination of the housing levy for the development of private land proposed in Scenario Five along with Smart Partnerships on public land. This scenario could deliver a greater number of social housing units for lower income groups and higher income rental housing, but could see fewer dwellings in Woodstock available to middle income groups, potentially resulting in an inner-core of low income and high income, while the middle class remain in less well-located areas relying in improvements in mobility to access the inner city.

This article is part of our 80:20 series.

Prepared by the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, with support of Future Cape Town

Read other articles about housing in our 80:20 Series: