A Dialogue between South Africa and LAC countries

COVID-19 and Slum Upgrading:

Dialogue between South Africa and Latin-America & the Caribbean countries


Housing Laboratory on 7 May 2020 - from 3 to 6 pm CET.


Watch the video:



Both South Africa and LAC countries have a long-standing experience with informal settlements, yet different approaches. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges but also opportunities for more focused and targeted dialogue towards appropriate, sustainable and inclusive slum upgrading.

Density in informal settlements has risen higher on the agenda in the wake of the COVID-19 virus as a potential area of concern for driving infection rates. Responses include de-densification and resultant relocation, including temporary housing, among other measures, to address health concerns. What can be learnt from approaches implemented in South Africa and Latin America?




On 7 May, Cities Alliance and Habitat for Humanity together with a working group of experts is holding a Housing Laboratory (LAV) to foster dialogue and exchange of experiences between South Africa and countries from Latin America and the Caribbean. The event will focus on the strategic responses to the COVID crisis in informal settlements from both regions, as well as how these immediate measures can pave the ground for permanent changes in the post-pandemic.

The working group is formed by South Africa’s Department for Human Settlements, PLANACT, Isandla Institute, The Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Development Action Group (DAG), The National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP), the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance Africa, the UHPH, the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, the Global Platform for the Right to the City, Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

The discussion will count with the participation of government representatives from South Africa, Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil, among other key urban actors from both regions.


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The Housing Laboratories (Laboratorios de Vivienda - LAVs, in Spanish) are dynamic spaces for the exchange of knowledge, on pressing urban and housing issues, among experts from multiple sectors (public, private, academic, NGO, communities and others). They are supported by the Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (UHPH) and their partners. 

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