The Social Development Research

The social development team focused its efforts on researching how best to facilitate a sustainable relationship between the many different stakeholders in an upgrading project. The ultimate purpose of this was to ensure that the needs of the affected community members are best reflected in the re-blocked settlement. To accomplish this, research was divided into four main phases, (1) building trust, (2) getting community input, (3) planning a community based improvement project, and (4) implementing an upgrading project. The full research proposal from the social development team can be here.

Building Trust

The first category – the issue of trust – is vital to an upgrading process. In order to promote this, cultural exchange – in the form of sharing our different languages was explored. The concept of photography was also examined – by sharing pictures of the important things in our own lives, community members might reciprocate with stories about themselves. The third of the three key methods for promoting trust was facilitating a community activity, such as making name tags, in the hopes of prompting a meaningful conversation.

Getting Community Input

The second category was how to get community input into the upgrading process. Previous re-blocking attempts took a strict third party view – generally that of the government planning projects, rather than a grass-roots movement. Various meeting styles and interviewing techniques were explored for strengths and weaknesses amongst the many settings which might be encountered during our time in Cape Town.

Networking with Stakeholders

The third category researched dealt with using the ideas of a community to plan a project. This capacity primarily focused on created networks amongst different stakeholders and organizations, to create both a feasible and sustainable project. To facilitate open communication, the topic of project steering committees – their creation, their sustainability, and their empowerment – was studied.

Implementing a Project

The fourth and final category focused on the implementation phase of a project. Once a plan of action is created, the community must be involved in the construction process to promote either communal or individual stake in the project, helping promote longevity in the end product. Research into various public participation processes, both in Cape Town and other countries, was examined to accomplish this.