Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
Highlights from "Housing policies in the global south, shifting from a delivery to an integrated approach by Metropolis and UCLG"
In opening the session, Secretary-General of UCLG, Josep Roig, remarked that housing is related to the 7 elements that are generally considered necessary for dignified life.
The succeeding speakers elaborated on how housing for dignified lives is being pursued in Sao Paulo and eThekwini Municipality and on best practices and lessons learned.
Dr Neto observed that the Sao Paulo studies have shown that people want to be healthy then happy and having a home is required for this. His department checks monthly on slum settlements and intervention plans are activated.
In reflecting on the Welbedacht East project, Dr Neto said it was showing good results, there will be evaluation at the end of the project and that the lessons replicated. He also emphasised the key role of knowledge management as an element of the project.
Dr Neto announced that in recognition of the legacy of Nelson Mandela, and on the occasion of his 95th birthday, a new residential area developed to replace a slum will be named after him.
Ms Soobs Moonsammy the Head of Developmental Planning at eThekwini Municipality, gave an overview of the Welbedacht East project and remarked that it was progressing well and the input and good practices from Sao Paulo are key to this. In particular, the Sao Paulo use of social data and interaction with NGOs has been directional and a partnership with UNISA has been entered into so their social work department can assist in this regard.
Ms Moonsammy noted that eThekwini had won awards for developing settlements but whether they have all resulted in sustainable livelihoods is under review - social assets and economic opportunities are important for all and need to be equal significance with shelter. She observed that eThekwini is a biodiversity hotspot and the city has should not allow environment and human development to be in competition. Public realm investment as undertaken in Sao Paulo is an area that needs attention in eThekwini.
Ms Moonsammy said that the housing right needs to have a philosophical grounding/revision that conceptualises the opportunities and rigidity of the National/Provincial housing subsidy system as well as social needs and social capital and the best that an integrated project can offer.
Rovena Negreiros, Director of EMPLASA, remarked that there was a short time to achieve certain actions and the young people should be involved in housing developments. An interesting fact -  1 per cent of VAT collected in Sao Paulo is dedicated to housing projects. She observed that all spheres of government are required to contribute for results and international resources are also needed.
Xolile George of SALGA highlighted the problem of getting a better policy response to housing settlements while still battling with backlogs. Another challenge is to develop methodologies for mobilising social capital.
Mr George touched on the institutional constraints in the housing subsidy system but observed that if the Metros get accreditation to operate autonomously, this will be progressive.
He concluded his observations by recommending the partnership/mentoring approach and said we should act together with Brazil and India in finding solutions to deliver housing that results in healthy and happy citizens.
To view pictures taken at the Metropolis Annual Meeting click here.
Keywords: Metropolis, "Caring Cities", UCLG, eThekwini Municipality

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