The MLS Story
This is the story of how Pam and her family and friends were involved in building a neighbourhood for themselves. It starts with Pam and some of her friends starting to save for their future housing needs, and then through the contacts they made finding land that a church was willing to donate to them. It also identifies all the processes that they needed to follow to get this land ready for development, including getting planning and environmental approvals.
Click here to view the MLS stotry in comic form
A flood, service delivery protest or something else triggers an interest in the Managed Land Settlement approach from the community and / or municipality.
Households in need of land and shelter organise themselves and elect a committee to represent their needs.
The committee negotiates with government and others to find land that is well located relative to communities needs and is suitable from a municipal planning point of view.
A broad framework plan is developed for the identified land and the necessary environmental and other approvals are obtained.
It is confirmed that a minimum level of bulk services is available or can be provided to the project area.
It is also confirmed that the project area is linked into the municipal wide public transport system.
Allocation criteria and process are agreed to by role-players and households are identified who will benefit from the Managed Land Settlement project.
The necessary finance is secured to undertake land feasibility studies, develop preliminary plans, buy the land (if required), and put in the bulk infrastructure.
Pam and her friends from the savings schemes now have approval to undertake a Managed Land settlement pilot project on the church land.
Attention now shifts to planning what the blocks will look like, how tenure security will be ensured and how to get some basic level of revives onto the land.
Households allocated to the piece of land establish block and/or neighbourhood groups that can make decisions on how to develop their blocks / neighbourhoods.
Organised groups, with support, determine what the plots and internal roads will look alike a mark out plots within a formally marked out outer boundary.
Households are provided with some form of tenure security that outlines their rights and responsibilities related to living on the land, and in relation to the owners of the land and/or those that have authority over managing the land.
Households are provided with access to at least a basic minimally accepted level of services, such as communal standpipes and toilets.
As soon as possible, from the start of the process, households are provided with access to rudimentary communal facilities and services like schools, clinics, community halls and building material yards.
The local pedestrian network is prioritised over the vehicular network through the provision of, for example, taxi shelters, pavements, and traffic calming features.
Government and other funds are prioritised for the provision of basic planning, tenure, services, facilities and access.
Finally Pam, her family and other savings scheme members are now on the land, in blocks, with basic services and tenure, and with access to opportunities beyond the neighbourhood. There challenge now is to create a nice home and neighbourhood for themselves.
Allocated households, at the local scale, organise themselves to be able to accountably represent their needs through the development process.
Households start saving money and material and conducting skills surveys so these resources can be channelled towards home and neighbourhood improvement.
The municipality or community structures administer agreed procedures to deal with the transfer of occupation rights and land use etc. so records for tenure rights is maintained.
Households organise the building of their own houses using their own resources, following rules for construction as agreed with land owner and municipality. Building support may or may not be provided by government and others.
Households, who want to, start using their plots to grow food and raise small livestock. Agricultural support may or may not be provided by government and others.
Households, if they want and after getting the necessary approvals, use their plots to run small businesses. Business support may or may not be provided by government and others.
The community, working with others, undertakes community policing activities; and creating an environment that is safe to and healthy to live in.
Households and community use their own and other local resources to start doing things for themselves on their plots and in their community, with government and others adding to what is already taking place.
Pam and her neighbours achieved a lot in the 7 or 8 years they were on the land without much further government support. They used what money and resources they could get to build themselves some very nice homes, even if these houses where not always of the type normally associated with low income housing.
The housing process has been turned upside down from one where people used to wait for government subsidies to come first and then use their own money to add to what government provided; to one where they first used their own resources (with a little support where possible) to build and create houses and neighbourhoods they could afford and used government money to add to what they had already started.
We now turn our attention to look at how government money and resources can be used to add to what people have started themselves.
Households who want too, with the support of government and others, arrange for their occupation rights to be converted to individual title deeds, communal title, rental or other form of tenure.
The municipality, in consultation with the community, uses housing subsidies and other funds to upgrade the water, sewerage, roads, storm water, electricity and other services.
The municipality, department of education, health, public works or any other appropriate agency, working with the community, upgrades the social and economic facilities in the community.
The municipality or appropriate authority, upgrades the pedestrian paths and shelters as well as the public transport system, improving access and movement within the community and to other parts of the municipality.
The municipality, a developer identified by the community, working with the community and others, using government subsidies upgrades the house that the household has already started building.
The municipality or developer identified by the community, accesses housing subsidies (usually Upgrading of Informal Settlement, peoples Housing process, or individual subsidy) and other subsidies to upgrade the tenure, services, houses and other community facilities.
Pam and her friends have now finally received government housing subsidies, which were used to add to what they had already started. This is not the end of the process as incremental settlement never ends. People are always maintaining, modifying and improving their homes to suite their changing circumstances. All of the aided support interventions started in the aided self development phase now continues into the future. Lessons continue to be learnt and applied in future phases and projects. The incremental settlement approach is replicated and expanded. Pam’s experience is shared with others in the town, province, country and world.
Households continue, using their own resources, to maintain and improve their homes, gardens, and local small businesses; and where possible to access housing, agricultural and small business support services.
Government, in consultation with the community, continues to maintain, improve and expand the spaces, services and facilities they have provided.
The community, municipality and others, regularly and throughout the incremental settlement process, reflects on what has been done in previous phases and uses this information to inform subsequent interventions.
Households are able to afford to stay in the house and neighbourhood; and government collects the necessary taxes, rates, service fees and intergovernmental transfers to be able to continue to provide and maintain the spaces, services and facilities at to an appropriate standard.
The government and community share lessons of their experience with others who also undertake develop land and settlements following incremental settlement processes.