The HDA and SHIFT co-hosted a workshop ‘Approaching neighbourhood development planning in relation to informal settlement upgrading’ on 23 March in Johannesburg. The workshop was a great success with over 60 delegates attending and highlighted the need for stakeholder engagement, knowledge-sharing and the value of partnerships. 
According to the Housing Development Agency Act, one of the Agency’s roles is assist organs of state with informal settlement upgrading. To this end the HDA has established an Informal Settlement Programme that is investigating various approaches to ensure long-term neighbourhood planning, integrated project structuring and planning, and community participation. The workshop was the first in a series of planned engagements with sector partners, academic institutions, communities and other stakeholders to start the process of defining and agreeing a new approach for spatial design. 
The workshop started with input from the HDA CEO, Mr Taffy Adler, who provided strategic insights and the need for re-think and new approach for informal settlements upgrading. He also highlighted the reality of issues of informality.  Maki Thellane, HDA Programme Manager for Informal Settlements Upgrading, provided a context for the workshop and highlighted the Agency’s long-term vision and approach for informal settlements upgrading, specifically:
Long-term neighbourhood spatial design taking into consideration the existing interests of informal settlements dwellers, future of neighbourhoods, and possibilities per settlements.
Projects structuring and planning
Involvement of community, livelihoods and sustainable developments in order to ensure that communities become partners in the development process.
A draft terms of reference for an urban design framework, intended to serve as a guideline and checklist for informal settlement upgrading, was presented by Monica Sack (Albonico Sack). Some of the key comments raised for consideration and inclusion in the terms of reference included:
Increasing resilience and reducing vulnerability
Integration with the city and issues of gentrification and market displacement 
Tenure and security issues 
Validity of data gathered in areas that are constant flux
Understanding specific histories of settlements, as well as social structures and power relations 
Community consultation and what does it mean
Institutional arrangements and mapping of how communication and consultation takes place, including conflict resolutions
Community consultation to inform solutions 
Rural development emphasis needed
Role of the private sector and aligned of their corporate social investment programmes with local plans 
Practical approach needed to address the shift from housing to creating sustainable human
Developing project pipelines for municipalities
Funding for project preparation 
The three case studies were presented to inform different experiences to project planning and structuring, and best practise urban design approaches to informal settlement upgrade. Kosovo in the Western Cape was presented by Gita Goven (ARG Design); Kennedy Road in KwaZulu-Natal presented by Susanna Godehart (S Godehart Consulting) and Mark Misselhorn (PPT); and Hangberg also in the Western Cape by Helen McGregor (DAG). The case studies, terms of reference and input from the workshop will be packaged to provide a neighbourhood design review series to assist the negotiation with informal settlement dwellers to maintain spatial integrity, to meet affordability, and to minimise relocations.

Going forward, Maki shared key activities that the HDA is focusing on in order to implement the programme. The HDA has started to profile informal settlements across South Africa in order to understand the status quo and trends. The HDA is engaging with municipalities and provinces to conclude implementation protocols to enable the Agency to provide support. The HDA is working directly on informal settlement upgrading in its projects, i.e N2 Gateway. The Agency is also gearing up capacity for implementation by working with sector role players including DAG, CSIR, Urban LandMark, Planact and PPT. The programme is aligned with the national informal settlement programmes of the Department of Human Settlements and NUSP. 

Click on the links below to download presentations and the draft terms of reference for an urban design framework for informal settlements from the workshop:

Presentation 1: HDA's mandate, role and approach to informal settlement upgrades (Maki Thellane, HDA Programme Manager for Informal Settlements Upgrading)
Presentation 2: Towards guidelines for neighbourhood development: urban design framework for informal settlements upgrading (Monica Albonico, Principal Urban Designer, Albonic Sack)
Presentation 3: Kosovo case study - Western Cape (Gita Goven, ARG Design)
Presentation 4: Kennedy Road case study - KZN (Mark Misselhorn, PPT)
Presentation 5: Kennedy Road case study - KZN (Susanna Godehart, S Godehart Consulting)
Presentation 6: Hangberg - Western Cape (Helen McGregor, Programme Leader for Informal Settlement Programme, DAG)
Presentation 7: Consolidation of the programme discussion areas (Dianne Arvanitakis, SHIFT)

Draft terms of reference - urban design framework for informal settlement upgrading

Photos from the workshop can be viewed here.