Executive Director of the CDI since Oct 2001
Board Member of the National Arts Council of South Africa since 2011
Fine Arts Degrees from the universities of the Witwatersrand and Cape Town Enrolled with the Berlin School of Creative Leadership for an EMBA
Over 300 000 households are currently living in informal dwellings in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Of these, 35% are living in backyard informal dwellings and 65% within informal settlements. 95% of these have incomes of below $437 per month. The BLC has run for seven years and was initiated as a flagship project for Cape Town’s designation as a World Design Capital in 2014. Using design-led processes, the BLC has helped in surfacing innovations and solutions for the low-income housing sector.
The first phase of BLC assisted the development of affordable, environmentally-friendly products for home improvement: water saving and harvesting, insulation, fire warning systems, alternative materials, and off-grid energy use.
The second phase involved extensive research and user-testing using design process methodology. Research revealed that people needed home improvement products, systems and services as well as access to information (i.e. how to improve their dwelling and where to access support) and skills development (how to build better, how to design better building processes, and how to use different materials and solutions effectively).
Phase two culminated in a first-of-its-kind Design + Build Incubator – a human-centred intervention which supported 15 small scale builders operating in the informal housing sector the chance to develop their technical design and building skills, as well as their business acumen.
All 15 participants completed the incubator and are now supported through a mentoring programme – and they are applying their new knowledge as they build/upgrade dwellings. The Incubator met its intended outcomes for participants: Design and build better dwellings; Grow and run their businesses better; Become more productive members of the community. The BLC will run two additional incubators in 2020. Phase 2 also includes development of an online Building Materials + Tools bank with the support of an engineering firm; and an online Knowledge Platform to enable sharing of useful information to small-scale builders and home dwellers.
This is more than a training programme as it empowers those who will practically build the shacks so improving the quality of life in the slums and learning how to reduce the environmental impact through appropriate design. It is very scalable.