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Service learning projects

Service-Learning is a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organised service activity that meets identified community needs and reflects on the service activity in such a way as to get further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility (Bringle and Hatcher, 1995, p.5).

Service-learning projects are governed by written partnership agreements that have clear roles and responsibilities. In 2013 Town and Regional Planning (TRP) registered a Service-Learning project to collaborate and maximise technical support towards a partnership between the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and CPUT Department of Town and Regional Planning, that aims to assist communities within informal settlements to achieve community owned and driven development processes. ISN is a network of representatives of residents of informal settlements and backyards at metropolitan level in South Africa that is committed to partnering with government in the incremental improvement of informal settlements and backyard precincts and the improvement of livelihood opportunities for their residents, while CORC is a Non-Profit Organisation (NGO). The partnership aims to ensure a holistic and collaborative approach that will at all times encourage community participation wherever possible and keep as its central focus, that the residents of informal settlements shall be the determinants of their own development agenda.

Upgrade to Flamingo Crescent

Next year will be more comfortable for residents of a Wetton informal settlement thanks to a year-long community engagement project by Town and Regional Planning students. Students worked together with residents of Flamingo Crescent squatter camp to redesign the settlement in a more usable and space saving way. The end result was a newly mapped layout and recently saw individual shacks being broken down and rebuild according to the plan. Lecturer Nicholas Pinfold says the project was an overwhelming success and will be replicated in future. “During the project community confidence was established and students gained an extended understanding and appreciation of living conditions in the settlement,” he says. The project was recently recognized by World Design Capital 2014 and forms part of a collective of 450 successful missions to be rolled out next year.