Inclusionary Housing in Johannesburg


Inclusionary Housing in Johannesburg

Mismatches Segregation Diversity
Policies and regulations Local policies Planning
Urban Design Inclusion
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Private promotion

Main objectives of the project

In 2019, the Johannesburg City Council approved the Inclusionary Housing project, making it the inaugural inclusionary housing policy implemented anywhere in Africa. This initiative aims to ensure that every development includes a percentage of social housing units. The objective is to augment the availability of smaller units in strategically situated areas of the city, thereby alleviating the housing backlog, gradually lowering housing prices, and diminishing travel times, expenses, and emissions in a city where these factors are excessively high.


  • 2019: Implementation


  • City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality


Continent: Africa
Country/Region: Johannesburg, South Africa


The framework works as follows: Inclusionary housing is mandatory for any development application under the jurisdiction of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality that includes 20 dwelling units or more. Different options (and associated incentives) are given for inclusionary housing that developers may choose from. In each option, a minimum of 30% of the total units must be for inclusionary housing. When inclusionary housing is applicable, it will be implemented as a condition for development (in land use/development approvals) by the City of Johannesburg. The City may take action against developers/owners who do not comply with the conditions for inclusionary housing outlined in land use/development approvals, as with any condition of approval. Yet, a developer developing below the threshold of 20 units, but who meets the criteria for one of the inclusionary housing options detailed in the framework approved, may still benefit from the incentives associated with the option chosen.

The incentives are, usually, the possibility to build extra units, hence, an increase in the allowable residential floor area, densifing the area in development. All the incentives depend on the options that planning allows and that the developer choose. Each option have some mandates regarding the 30% of inclusionary housing and some incentives. For example, Option 1 asks to have social housing units, hence, it has greater incentives than other options. Yet, in some options they can be sold in the open market. In those cases, incentives are tighter and the main goal is to densify the area and generating mixed communities by allowing a diverse typology of housing units.

Indeed, a primary objective of the program is to foster a compact city by densifying urban developments. By transitioning towards a more condensed urban landscape instead of perpetuating urban sprawl, the aim is to safeguard the remaining natural and biodiverse areas on the city outskirts, preserving the ecosystem services they offer. This approach is anticipated to enhance air quality by enhancing city efficiency. A compact city model is both environmentally and economically sustainable. It promotes increased density and proximity, resulting in reduced energy consumption for transportation, optimized land use management, and the conservation of rural land and biodiversity. Medium to high-density settlements in a city also lead to decreased service costs, improved accessibility to public facilities, and more efficient infrastructure provision, thereby enhancing economic sustainability and feasibility.