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City of Johannesburg's housing strategy shifts toward resource efficiency

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The focus of the strategy is the effective, efficient and sustainable use of scarce resources such as water, energy and land.

A high population growth, climate change, economic downturn, natural disasters and the socio-political landscape are challenges affecting both the City of Johannesburg and other similar cities globally and nationally.

Responding to these challenges the City of Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS 2040) defines the goals and objectives for the way forward for Johannesburg.

The focus of the strategy is the effective, efficient and sustainable use of scarce resources such as water, energy and land to achieve not only a visionary but a ground-breaking plan that is both realistic and implementable. At its most basic, it means getting the most out of what we have.

The objectives for Liveable Communities under the GDS strategy aims to reduce urban sprawl, adopting an incremental tenure approach, increasing small-scale rental supply, transformation of townships and building an inner- city that can provide much more housing for the future.

Positive trends
Achieving these objectives would result in improving the health and wellbeing of all communities. If implemented as the primary thrust of the urban housing strategy would result in numerous positive new trends such as:

  • the City’s ability to invest in sustainable mass public transport systems thereby reducing energy consumption, emissions, and road congestion

  • reducing the pressure on municipal budgets caused by the installation and maintenance of public service infrastructure out to the sprawling periphery of cities

  • the improved ability to manage and conserve its resources such as water resulting from storm water in more formalised environments, energy and waste management, etc.



Johannesburg’s greatest asset is its people—resilient, diverse and cosmopolitan. Although Johannesburg is considered to be very dense the reality is that the population growth is less than 2% with approximately 520 people on average per square kilometre.

Population growth and population migration provides an opportunity for economic growth and innovation. Social Housing is a key ingredient of a sustainable and competitive City and the demand for housing must be met through more sustainable high and medium density quality and affordable housing developments.

JOSHCO’s role
JOSHCO, the Municipal Rental Housing Entity of the City of Johannesburg, is such a pivotal player in providing quality, affordable and sustainable social housing to the people of Johannesburg.
This is achieved through the delivery of a range of housing products which comprise of the conversion of council-owned hostels to family units, management and improvement of service delivery to council- owned public stock, development of new units and the refurbishment of inner-city bad buildings.

JOSHCO’s medium and high density projects are ideally located with convenient access to schools, health- care, transport, employment opportunities and easy access to Johannesburg’s city centre. JOSHCO can already measure the tangible successes with their approach to economic development, community design, resource use, transportation and other aspects of sustainable, efficient liveable communities.

JOSHCO believes that through consistently and reliably doing all basic things well, the quality of affordable rental housing in the city will can be maintained—Issued by JOSHCO—Johannesburg Social Housing Company:
Lindy-Anne Steeneveld—Communications and Marketing Officer
Gugu Mkhize—Corporate Support

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as an advertorial

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