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Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-free World




Posted: 06 October 2021

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day. World Habitat Day aims to reflect on the state of our cities and everyone's basic right to adequate housing. It also aims to remind the world that we all have the power and responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.

The theme acknowledges that cities and towns are liable for 70 percentage of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions with transport, buildings, energy, and waste management being the biggest contributors.
Humans also impact the physical environment in many ways such as overpopulation generally and in certain localities, pollution in various forms including carbon emissions. Deforestation and alien plan species have been particularly problematic in creating imbalances between humans and their respective living environments. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor quality of air quality and drinking water. These negative impacts can affect human behaviour and can prompt mass migrations or battles over clean water.  

Municipalities have extensive responsibilities in the development of sustainable habitats. While the delivery of housing is a function that is ascribed primarily to national and provincial governments, the delivery of houses without municipal infrastructure and services such as water, sanitation waste management, electricity, air quality management and public transportation and local economic development would not be habitable. 

It is within the context of the complementarity of housing and municipal services that, SALGA advocates for building municipal capabilities to deliver housing. This will assist to facilitate the creation of sustainable human settlements and improved quality of life within South Africa’s diverse populations, especially for the poor and vulnerable.

SALGA and its partners have recognised numerous challenges and opportunities confronting the ability of the poor to access adequate housing while also contributing to improved socio-economic development. Many poor people in South Africa’s have sought to seek various forms of rental accommodation. The rental accommodation market has thus grown as an investment option for entrepreneurs across various income brackets. Backyard rental accommodation has provided huge opportunities to address a housing need while also enable lower income communities to begin participating in the real estate market.

It is in this context that we will convene a webinar on Backyard Dwelling on 14th and 21st October 2021.

  • Build awareness of the opportunities and challenges confronting backyard accommodation
  • Assist Municipalities and its partners to create a more enabling environment for this housing opportunity while also empowering participants in this market to do so in procedurally prudent ways
  • Creating a peer learning platform where municipalities, other spheres of government, entrepreneurs in the backyard rental market, research agencies and civil society organisations to share knowledge, experience es and insights
  • Find amiable solutions to the challenges while harnessing the opportunities for all key stakeholders
As we celebrate World Habitat Day, SALGA calls upon all of us to be mindful of our environment and actively try find ways on how we can contribute towards carbon free cities. It is also in this regard that SALGA is working with C40 to support four metropolitan municipalities; City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and eThekwini Metropolitan municipalities to develop policies and By-Laws that will ensure new buildings within their respective areas of jurisdiction are carbon free by the year 2050. It is anticipated that this will be replicated to other urban centres and eventually across all municipalities in differentiated context appropriate ways.

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