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Planning for Informality - Isandla Institute's new web-tool

Isandla Institute has developed a tracking system, the Planning for Informality web-tool, which enables communities and civil society organisations to monitor government commitments and delivery in informal settlement upgrading. 

The National Development Plan (Vision 2030) calls on municipalities to develop robust strategies that address challenges associated with informal settlements. Informal settlement upgrading policy has also shifted, perceiving upgrading as a ‘participative, integrated, flexible and incremental approach’ to housing delivery. However, unimpeded and democratic upgrading policy implementation across the South African urban landscape is lacking. Within this context, Isandla Institute identified the need for a tracking system enabling communities and organisations to hold government accountable.

The web-tool focuses on informal settlement upgrading as pursued and reported on by eight identified metropolitan municipalities, making relevant data publically available, easily accessible and easily understood. It has been developed through an intensive and robust analytical process. Informal settlement upgrading data and strategies from local government strategic documents were reviewed and distilled into approximately 40 indicators. This data was then used to design a scorecard system that gauges commitments and performance of metropolitan municipalities.

The Planning for Informality web-tool’s key functionalities include:

  • A Data Index where the categories and indicators are presented and can be accessed according to evidence obtained from core municipal documentation, this data is updated annually
  • City Profiles that offer descriptive profiles for all eight metropolitan municipalities as well as key demographic information
  • Insights in the form of blogs posts which encourage commentary and which are shared on social media platforms
  • A Contribute section that invites local practitioners and communities to share more fine-grained information about local initiatives in order to strengthen collective understanding of local realities and share prospects for change

The Planning for Informality web-tool is not only a useful in assisting to deepen accountability and transparency on informal settlement upgrading, but also offers an unconventional yet potentially strategic platform for knowledge-sharing and meaningful dialogue.

Click here to access the Planning for Informality web-tool.

For further information or to provide feedback on the web-tool, please contact Palmira de Almeida at Isandla Institute on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Written by: Palmira de Almeida

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