Urban Land Justice Map

Welcome to the Cape Town Urban Land Justice Map; a map that aims to visually represent spatial development and affordable housing opportunities in the City of Cape Town.

This is an ongoing project and we hope to include more datasets soon, as well as update the current ones. Our focus for this iteration has been the “inner city”, which we see as the best place for affordable housing to be built due to its location.

The map shows that there is a lot of government-owned land in this area on which housing can be built. And, in fact, some of the sites have been earmarked for affordable or social housing by local and provincial government already. These are projects that need to be monitored and the officials in charge of development must be pushed to deliver in an appropriate time frame.

In the map we have included the following datasets:

  1. Cape Town’s “Inner City

To live within the inner city of Cape Town not only means access to employment opportunities and various modes of public transport, but also high quality and well-resourced social services, such as schools, health-care facilities, police services and open spaces such as parks or the promenade.  An individual’s life and well-being is allowed to flourish in these well-located neighbourhoods.  But, what do we mean by the inner city?

In the map we demarcate the central business district (CBD) as well as the suburbs that immediately surround it as the inner city. This allows us to make a distinction between what developments are happening (or can happen) inside this golden economic zone or outside of it. Yes, there are other economic hubs in Cape Town, like Bellville, or Claremont in the southern Suburbs, but we are currently focussing on the city centre as it is the largest economic hub in Cape Town, but is currently only accessible to the rich.

  1. Government-owned land parcels that are either earmarked for development or are unused and can be developed for affordable housing

This is the most important layer on the map. It demarcates sites where government at the National, Provincial or local sphere can build affordable housing.

A common excuse as to why more housing isn’t built by government in Cape Town is that there is no land. Our dataset shows that this is not the case. There are many sites across the City and in the inner city which have either been earmarked for develop by government themselves, or have been identified as unused land or buildings which are suitable for housing.

This layer can be seen as a list of sites that land justice activists need to watch and put pressure on government to develop with social, affordable and mixed-income housing. Please click on the sites to see further specific information about each site.

Note: We have only included sites in the inner city, but will add sites in the greater Cape Town metro soon.


  1. Social Housing in Cape Town – this includes new social housing develops that are being built or are being planned

One of the few options for affordable renting in the well-located suburbs of Cape Town is Social Housing. Social Housing is a rental or co-operative housing option for households earning between R1 501 and R7 500 per month. Social Housing projects require management by an accredited social housing institution (who is NOT government). Social Housing projects should be developed within areas that contribute to spatial, economic and social development.

This layer shows where existing social housing in Cape Town is located, as well as projects that are in the pipeline. You will see in the map that there are currently no social housing developments within the inner city, but there are some in the pipeline.

This is another area of struggle that activists must be aware of and make sure these proposed projects are completed in order to create more affordable housing close to the inner city.

  1. Developments by private developers for the open market (this dataset is not exhaustive)

While government development of affordable housing is our main focus, it is also important to know what the private sector is doing. Land speculation and lavish apartments owned by people who don’t even live in Cape Town increase the price of housing and renting in Cape Town. Knowing where new developments are going up gives us a picture of the market and how it is evolving.

If you know of private developments that aren’t on this map, please forward this information  to shaun@nu.org.za.


  1. Urban Development Zone (UDZ) – these are areas where developers get tax incentives to build, refurbish, and densify targeted parts of the city

The Urban Development Zone (UDZ) is a tax incentive administered by SARS that aims to encourage private sector-led residential and commercial development in inner-city areas with developed public transport facilities.

This layer shows where these zones are and can be used to find public land which can be sold to private developers on condition they make a certain percentage of the new developments affordable units.

For more information about UDZ go to: https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Planningportal/Pages/UDZ.aspx

Ndifuna Ukwazi DARE TO KNOW
18 Roeland Street (behind City Varsity)
Cape Town
South Africa

Telephone:  +27 (0)21 012 5094
Email: contact@nu.org.za