PSI researchers in Durban for informal settlements project fieldwork

Dr Isis Nunez Ferrera and Dr Pete Barbrook-Johnson arrived in Durban, South Africa last week with colleagues from Westminster and UCL, to start their third two-week fieldtrip for the ISULabaNtu project on informal settlement upgrading.

ISULabaNtu project Durban

On this trip, the focus is on exploring opportunities for more collaborative upgrading efforts, as well as including a workshop with municipal officials in which the team will present preliminary findings. Finally, the team will use the visit to present some of their findings back to the communities that took part in the project.

Across Africa, informal settlements struggle with poor housing, limited services and environmental hazards. Despite an increasing emphasis on participatory upgrading, communities are often constrained by lack of resources or technical knowledge to lead these processes, particularly when urban policies are designed and implemented without a clear understanding of local conditions. ISULabaNtu seeks to support communities by strengthening their capacity to guide urban development themselves. With a focus on Durban Metropolitan Area, ISULabaNtu will undertake research, capacity building and community mapping, in collaboration with residents, to feed into the creation of an integrated environmental and construction management toolkit.

The project will also explore how findings can be applied elsewhere. These activities will not only build the capacity of residents on community-led approaches to construction management and service provision, but also promote the creation of partnerships with other stakeholders such as local businesses, policy makers and academics.

Read more at and follow the project on Twitter @ISULabaNtu