The South African Informal City @ Planning Africa

SAIC 2012

On 17 September 2012, ‘The South African Informal City’ was launched at Planning Africa in Durban. The book is the latest component of the South African Informal City project, and was displayed alongside the SAIC Exhibition, which was featured at the conference courtesy of Ethekwini Municipality and the SA Planning Institute.

First showcased at the Bus Factory in Newtown in 2011 as one of the Technical Site Visits offered by the Local Government Programme for COP17, the SAIC Project explores and showcases the important work being conducted in South Africa around informality, some of which is unique to the local context and some of which shares questions and concerns with other developing countries.

The initiative is a survey of South Africa’s most relevant and innovative design and research projects around urban informality in cities from across the country, in five categories: In-Situ Upgrading; Backyard Interventions; Inner City Informality; Catalytic Projects; Un-built Projects.

To further the project’s outcomes, the ‘The South African Informal City’ book was realised with the support of the SA Cities Network and Urban LandMark. The objective is to open up dialogue and discussion around the critical issues of informality and urban development, in order to further cooperation, information sharing and positive action between policy makers, built environment professionals and the public.

Geci Karuri-Sebina of the South African Cities Network, one of the SAIC partners, says, “The success of South Africa’s cities will require an enhanced capacity for policymakers, planners, built environment professionals, and the supporting knowledge infrastructure to engage constructively with the reality of informality in enabling productive and inclusive cities.”  

The SAIC Exhibition is an initiative of the Architects’ Collective, and was started in 2011 with the support of the Johannesburg Development Agency, the Neighbourhood Development Programme (National Treasury), the South African Cities Network, and the NRF Chair in Development Planning and Modelling. In 2012, the project was selected as a finalist in the Arts & the Environment category for the 15th Annual Business Day BASA Awards, supported by Anglo American.

For more information or to order ‘The South African Informal City’ book, please visit

The book is available from the Architects' Association offices in Braamfontein; First Floor, 19 Henri Street, between 9am-4pm. Price R350.00