One of the salient challenges in upgrading informal settlements are the densities of informal spaces. City engineers were also concerned that no in-situ upgrading solution was viable for the informal settlement of Mshini Wam, located in Joe Slovo, Milnerton, Cape Town. However, through a community-based planning and design process, supported by the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) and Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), the community has come forward with situation responsive designs that inform better service delivery. By opening up communal and neighborhood spaces, the community has showed the City that through re-blocking services can be installed in closer proximity to households, thereby increasing ownership of the services.
The City has committed to building a circular access road, install more sanitation and water service points, and collaborate on possible long term formalisation. This project has been instructive in the way local, provincial and national government thinks about upgrading dense settlements. Not only have people upgraded their shelters, but there is also an enhanced governance arrangement between the community and the City, which was confrontational in the past.