On 12 and 13 June, SERI participated in a national housing conference hosted by the Isandla Institute entitled, “Urban citizenship as a verb: Facilitating action through coalitions for change”. The conference brought together 80 academics, practitioners, activists, and government officials from various sectors to explore ways in which to expand and sustain urban citizenship. Participants included representatives from various non-profit organisations, social justice organisations, universities, municipal housing departments, the Department of Human Settlements, and the Department of Cooperative Governance.
The event focused on examining various issues through an urban lens including: governance, land reform, sustainability/resilience, dignity and safety, employment and food security, and communities of practice. Over two days, the presenters reflected on advances made within each focus area and on how collaborative approaches have advanced the work of urban development. Participants engaged in deep discussions about the disconnect between policy and implementation and on the challenges facing the holistic development of sustainable human settlements in urban areas. The varied perspectives from the conference participants provided for deep discussion, debate and knowledge sharing.
The 2-day conference also served to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Isandla Institute as a key role player in local governance and development issues in South Africa.