SA's affordable housing sector ailing [262KB]
The affordable housing sector remains under pressure, even as demand for urban accommodation remains at a staggering 1m homes. Of the country's four major banks, most indicated they were in the process of devising ways of assisting potential homeowners who don't currently qualify for state housing subsidies.
Sexwale aid for poor seen as boon for banks [202KB]
The government's new Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) is intended to make it easier for low-income buyers to get loans by reducing the initial home loan amount for first-time buyers of properties that cost R300 000 or less. Banks are counting on the subsidies, together with a government mortgage guarantee programme due later this year, to help revive lending, stagnant since 2009.
SA's vision of sustainable cities revealed [257KB]
Government recently unveiled a plan that authorities hope will turn the country's major cities into sustainable economic hubs. Part of the new strategy would be to unlock the mineral beneficiation potential in the country's mining cities, speeding up the building of new human settlements closer to where people work and building an integrated public transport system that incorporates rail, taxis and buses.
How satellite cities are reshaping East Africa [270KB]
East Africa hasn't urbanised at the same rate as the rest of the world. While over 50 per cent of the world's population now lives in cities, the East African region of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi - the members of the regional intergovernmental organisation East African Community - will only reach an urban population of 31 per cent by 2030.
What happens when slum dwellers put themselves on the map?
The April 2012 issue of the journal Environment and Urbanization reveals how organisations of the 'illegal' urban poor have made themselves matter to city governments by mapping and documenting their informal settlements and the people and businesses in them.
Edge of sustainability: why Rio+20 mustn't ignore people on city fringe [345KB]
Cities are the centres of growth, dynamism and opportunity, but they are vulnerable to pollution and disasters, and their poorest people lack basic services. Fiona Marshall and Lyla Mehta of the Steps Centre argue that it is the duty of Rio+20 to ensure the poor don't lose out from rapid urbanisation.