The People's Land Map



land in Cape Town

The motivation for this project is rooted in the lack of publicly accessible data on public land - owned by the state at all levels, as well as state-owned enterprises or companies - in Cape Town.

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About this project

This map aims to raise awareness around the vast amount of available public land in Cape Town and invites the public to participate in imagining how these underutilised and vacant spaces can and should be used differently. It attempts to challenge the government’s lack of transparency, poor public participation around decisions on land, and the way in which it traditionally engages with issues of housing and land. By raising awareness and making this information publicly available and accessible, people are empowered and equipped to influence the use of public land and hold the government accountable for their empty promises.

Overall aim of the map is to show visually the failure of the state to use public land to provide well-located affordable housing. This is necessary to counteract the state narrative that the shortage of well-located land is one of the main barriers to the delivery of well-located affordable housing. At a time when we need well-located land for land restitution, redistribution and housing provision, the state needs to unlock / release the land it has available to serve the public. By conducting our own audit, we can hold the state to account for its failure to redistribute this land.

The process included first collecting, verifying, and cleaning the data. This took many months and some painstaking work by a number NU staff. We then took the data and structured it for analysis and for use in a GIS system. We build NU an in-house map that can be used as a reference tool for their litigation and advocacy work, and we built a public facing map to be used for public awareness, education and advocacy. We declined to use an off-the-shelf platform like ArcGIS, as we wanted to keep the tool simple and customise to more specifically to NU's needs.

The map should capacitate the general public in decisions and debates around the use of public land by providing them will a tool to understand the amount of public land that is vacant or underutilised and the lack of urgent delivery where commitments have been made. It will stimulate the public imagination around how this land could be used differently and therefore, how our city could be different. A future potential use or objective of the map is to identify further sites for well-located affordable housing.

Project details

Ndifuna Ukwazi
Project start:
September 2021
Project status:
No items found.

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