Fire Response: Re-blocking Workshops

On the 22nd of August a shack fire broke out in the region of the settlement decimating approximately 40 informal homes in Denver. On the morning following the fire AT was contacted by a community volunteer to help with resettlement planning for the affected area.

To this effort AT engaged the South African Shack Dwellers Alliance throguh CORC on a detailed level to start planning for a re-settlement workshop with the aid of FEDUP members to assist with the enumeration process during the workshops. Amidst this planning a second shack fire broke out on the 10th of September destroying a further 45 homes in Denver.

Since then AT have been in on-going discussions with the local ward councillor, the settlement leadership and active NGOs to support technical advice and re-settlement planning workshops.

These workshops aimed to focus on planning a new settlement layout with residents to primarily combat and control the spread of fire but with a deeper intention of implementing a layout of equitable land use and the possibility of development over time.

This plan aimed to ‘plug in’ to the Community Action Plan developed in the July site studio. We are then planning to hold an additional 2 workshops in November. Workshop 2 will focus on technical support for rebuilding homes and verifying the population data of the affected areas. Workshop 3 will be the implantation of the Positive Numbers ‘address’ (numbering and location linked to the verified enumerations).

AT directed efforts of the 2016 studioATdenver to the areas affected by fire, which we are seeing as pilot projects in the settlement. It was the intention that if this was conducted successfully residents from other areas would be able to leverage this energy from the pilot project enabling projects to be self-implemented in areas other to those affected by fire.

AT was committed to fostering productive relationships with local governance and management towards encouraging better relationships and more productive processes between these agents and residents on the ground.

The land parcels for the affected areas (pilot projects) are on COJ
owned land. For the pilot project AT summarised the critical points for partnering and support:

  • Can the city provide material (or assistance in sourcing material) for the re-building of homes in a better planned layout?
  • Can the city enable temporary electrification projects?
  • Can the city provide technical assistance for workshops?
  • Can the city enable temporary base services of water and sanitation?
  • Can the city offer representatives/contacts for sanitation, water, emergency services to be