An update from Team South Africa and their internship with VPUU

By June 20, 2013 Blog, Internships 2013

We recently received an update from our students Monica and Diana who are wrapping up their internship with VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading) in Cape Town, South Africa. They’ve sent pictures from their visits to Monwabisi Park in the Khayelitsha township, where VPUU is developing an in-situ upgrading plan with the aim of reducing crime. The plan includes the Emthonjeni Outreach Programme, conceived as a multifunctional platform for children to play in a safe environment while their early childhood development needs are attended to free of charge.

VPUU was launched by the City of Cape Town in 2005 and works with multiple local and international partners to implement social engagement and urban design as tools in fighting crime. Their six urban upgrading initiatives to significantly reduce crime are:

  • Increased surveillance through neighbourhood watch patrols, 24-hour community watch towers (known as ‘Active Boxes‘), the use of multi-purpose work-live units, and the introduction of ‘Safe Node Areas’ – each of which caters to around 50,000 people;
  • Clearly defined boundaries between properties to encourage greater responsibility among residents;
  • Safer pedestrian passageways, through use of street lighting and paved walkways;
  • Aesthetically pleasing buildings and facilities to discourage criminal acts;
  • Well-kept buildings that are respected by residents and which deter illegal activities;
  • Higher physical barriers between properties in order to prevent criminal mobility.

Since its inception, VPUU has brought down murder rates by 39% and has been nominated for various international urban planning awards.

Enjoy the photos!


View of Khayelitsha township © Monica-Maria Chiriac


Houses of Khayelitsha township
© Monica-Maria Chiriac


Emthonjeni center
© Monica-Maria Chiriac


Emthonjeni center
© Diana Martínez Loredo


View of Khayelitsha township
© Diana Martínez Loredo


Schoolchildren, Khayelitsha township
© Diana Martínez Loredo


VPUU ‘Active Boxes’
© Diana Martínez Loredo


VPUU ‘Active Boxes’
© Diana Martínez Loredo


VPUU ‘Active Boxes’
© Monica-Maria Chiriac

For more information on VPUU, read:

The Violence Prevention though Urban Upgrading Project
Violence Prevention and Empowerment in the Township of Khayelitsha, South Africa

How citizens and urban design beat crime

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