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In collaboration with the HDA, the National Association of Social Housing Organisations (NASHO) hosted an interactive workshop on 8 and 9 April about spatial and social housing design.

The workshop focused on the significance of social housing design.

It was attended by sector stakeholders, including the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), Social Housing Focus Trust (SHiFT) and SERI (Social Economic Rights Institute).

The overall aim of the workshop was to review and assess the nature and impact of physical design of social housing projects in South Africa, and its impact on tenants, neighbourhoods and our cities, based on the input sourced from experiences of the past 15 years.

The outcomes of the workshop are to be used to help craft a process for development of a framework that may include research, guidelines and capacity development for social housing design interventions.

Additional objectives of the workshop were to clearly spell out ways in which design processes can be enhanced and to agree on a framework, strategy and action for the period 2014 to 2019.

The sessions comprised presentations by sector experts, rental agencies, social housing practitioners, representatives of the built environment discipline, including Diane and Peter (head office) on behalf of the HDA.

Delegates were also separated into smaller breakaway teams, each team with a facilitator. Using a set of criteria identified in day one of the workshop, each team had to develop elements for an action plan based on the analysis of a given social housing project.

The workshop was also aimed at demonstrating the alignment with recent statements in the National Development Plan 2030 (Chapter 8 specifically), and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019 (23 January 2014) of the national Department of Human Settlements, about the intention to move toward sustainable human settlements.

By being part of this workshop, the HDA demonstrated its supportive role in this important national programme. It also demonstrated that the HDA recognises the differentiated response to residential markets, as well as housing options and choices for low- and moderate-income households in a spatial context within South African cities.

The workshop concluded with a short- to long-term action plan, which will be presented for final input in November 2014. And farewell was bade to Harmen Oostra, Dutch technical assistant to NASHO, who was the programme director of the entire workshop.

A final report will be circulated to all participants in due course.