Sunday, June 25, 2006

An African WAC would be good

UN Water for Asian Cities

HouseIT Built from Ma!

Ma - Cannabis in Chinese.

WuHu ! - I look forward to visiting, as well as the limestone pinnacles on the Yangzi, and Dongtan, and and Nanjing.... WuHu!!! I am excited about this trip already!!!!

The Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum in 2008 will be hosted by the Ministry of Construction of China and the City of Nanjing.

HouseIT & InternAfrica will be there...

China NEVER stopped growing MA!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dongtan Eco-city, Shanghai, China

British design consultancy Arup has announced that it has been tapped by the Chinese government to lead the construction of an "eco-city" expansion to Shanghai. Dongtan, the expanded development near Shanghai's airport, will eventually cover about 8,800 hectares -- roughly the size of Manhattan island. Shanghai claims that the Dongtan project will be "the world's first genuinely eco-friendly city," using recycled water, cogeneration and biomass for energy, and striving to be as carbon-neutral as possible.

The first phase, a 630 hectare development including a mix of transport facilities, schools, housing and high-tech industrial spaces, will begin construction late next year, and is expected to be completed by 2010.

So what does it mean to be a "genuinely eco-friendly city?" Arup gives this overview:

Priority projects include the process of capturing and purifying water in the landscape to support life in the city. Community waste management recycling will generate clean energy from organic waste, reducing landfills that damage the environment. Combined heat and power systems will provide the technology to source clean and reliable energy. Dongtan will be a model ecological city, and its buildings will help to reduce energy use, making efficient use of energy sources and generating energy from renewable sources.

World Changing

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh my National Security - SHIT! It's a ticking time bomb

South Africa's underfunded, badly managed sewage works in many towns are "ticking timebombs" that could lead to outbreaks of waterborne diseases, while drinking water in many rural towns fails to meet government health standards.

These were some of the startling submissions made to parliament's water affairs portfolio committee on Tuesday on the first of two days of public hearings on water quality.

Full story - Shit hitting the fan

From seed to Cannabrick

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Groups slam 'bylaw out of the Dark Ages' - More victimless criminals

Human rights and social welfare organisations have criticised the Cape Town city council's newly adopted prevention of nuisances bylaw, saying it will criminalise the poor and the homeless. Full Story...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fire fumes kill dad and 2 children

A father and his two children died in their sleep, apparently of asphyxiation, after the family neglected to put out a brazier on Saturday night.

"It appears the man and his wife used the metal bin found in their bedroom to make a fire to warm the house but left it burning when they went to sleep," Superintendent Billy Jones said on Sunday.

He said relatives who went to visit the family in Nyanga on Sunday had found the children - aged seven months and four years old - dead, and their parents unconscious. The two were rushed to hospital where the man later died. - Sapa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Idea: 5.10 The Ecological Footprint of Cities

A highly communicative indicator, the Ecological Footprint provides a measure of how much productive land and water a city requires to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb all the waste it generates, using prevailing technology.

Most cities live beyond their ecological means. The challenge is to understand the nature and extent of their ecological consumption and to undertake strategic actions that address their most damaging environmental impacts. Appropriate benchmarking tools and indicators help stakeholders measure progress.

The Ecological Footprint metric, pioneered by Rees and Wackernagel, is a comprehensive indicator as well as a framework for benchmarking urban systems.

When coupled with participatory processes, the Footprint can be used as a powerful tool to promote sustainable communities. World Urban Forum Actionable Ideas

Build your own ecological home another actionable idea.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Homeless woman forced to live in septic tank

The Breede River municipality, aware of the fact that Marieka Wiese, 58, has been living in a septic tank for three years, and kindly provided her with a 2mx2m corrugated iron shack - on va les planter! - but her situation remains unchanged as it has not yet been erected. Full Story...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bigup David! We can now slay the Goliath of a housing problem we face

Kiff Invention Boet! The STRAWJET Inventor Name: Mr. David R. Ward

The History Channel 2006 Modern Marvel of the Year Invention

The Strawjet is a farm implement that processes straw (wheat, flax, sunflower, tobacco, hemp, etc.) in the field (after the plant has been harvested) into a mat, similar to a large bamboo window blind. This is used to construct composite building panels in much the same way as fiberglass or carbon fiber; however, the Strawjet uses a binder made from paper pulp, clay and cement rather than plastic resin.

Now we can build many more cannabrick homes :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shooting Streetchildren - Molo R10 Tiago

An exhibition of photographs taken by street children in Rio de Janeiro opens in London on 15 June at Canning House in Belgrave Square. Cameras were given to the children with the aim of inspiring them to document their lives.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cape of Fire

Thigs sure were HOT last night!

Mom, daughters die in fire

Cape Town - A 40-year-old woman and her two daughters died when their shack in Mandela Park, near Hout Bay, caught fire on Friday.

Spokesperson for the Western Cape police, captain Randall Stoffels, said the woman was asleep with her daughters - aged four and six - when the fire started. He said the cause of the fire was unknown. "No foul play is suspected and a post mortem will be conducted today (Saturday) to establish the cause of the deaths," said Stoffels. SAPA

50 informal dwellers displaced after shack fire
About 50 people have been displaced after a fire gutted 12 informal dwellings in Khayelitsha. Cape Town Fire says the blaze took place last night in the P J Section of site B, but the cause is not yet known. The homeless are being accommodated with family and friends in the area. No-one was injured in the blaze. SABC

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Flying high AAFB

Bigup to the folk across the pond ! Thanks for stopping by - not many people can stomach what can be read here. Thanx for keeping the Eagle eye view!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Housing epidemic

Farm evictions are the new "silent epidemic" in the Western Cape, says premier Ebrahim Rasool, adding: "This is the crisis we are facing."

Rasool said housing was one of several key challenges identified at yesterday's Premier's Co-ordinating Forum in Stellenbosch.

The meeting, attended by all the provincial ministers as well as mayors and representatives of 30 municipalities and districts, was the first inter-governmental forum since the local government elections on March 1.

"We are on a treadmill when it comes to housing," said Rasool.

Build your own home

He said the "inhuman" daily evictions of "hundreds" of families from farms, in particularly the Overberg and Cape Winelands, would exacerbate the province's housing crisis.

The silent epidemic of farm evictions has pushed the housing backlog to the rural towns and we don't have a handle yet on how much this backlog has shifted."

He said that if the estimated housing backlog was 360 000 before the farm evictions, this number would now have increased significantly

Richard Dyantyi, MEC for local government and housing, said the farm evictions would compound the housing shortages created by migration to the province from the Eastern Cape.

Although it has been more than three months since the elections, Rasool said concerns about political instability were a recurring theme in discussions ... see Sodom (burnt) Cape Towns and Gomorrahs (Ruined Heaps) left by this premier sodomite's political and governing actions...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Oh shit! Stop Building

Authorities in the Winelands District have been advised not to approve new building projects until the overloaded sewage works in Franschhoek have been upgraded.

A Mr C Davids, senior environmental health practitioner at the Cape Winelands District Municipality, wrote a letter on May 26 saying that Franschhoek's sewage works was in violation of the department of water affairs's standards.

Partly treated and untreated sewage was being discharged every day from the Franschhoek sewage works into the Berg River, Davids wrote.

New developments approved by the planning and development department in Franschhoek were putting more pressure on the overloaded system. Properties that had been sold as single units had been subdivided and more houses built.

The new houses were being connected to the sewerage system, although it could not cope with the load it had. Davids recommended that the municipality "not approve any new building works until the sewage works have been upgraded". An upgrade "is of utmost importance". Full Story....

Here's a solution...

Waterborne sanitation is a luxury destined to be replaced by a more environmentally-friendly alternative. The 'e-loo' might just be a viable solution.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Man dies in shack fire

A man was killed in a shack fire in Ivory Park informal settlement near Tembisa today. Malcolm Midgeley, emergency services spokesperson, said the man, aged about 40, was found dead inside a shack gutted by the blaze.
Midgeley said the fire, which started at 9pm, had gutted one shack when it was put off. The cause of the fire was not known. - Sapa

Shack blaze leaves dozens homeless

At least 250 people were left homeless when 60 shacks were burned down in Langa, outside Cape Town, on Monday, the Disaster Operations Centre (DOC) said.
Six fire engines were called to the scene and firefighters brought the blaze under control. Two hostels were also partially affected by the fire.
The city of Cape Town will on Tuesday clear up the area to allow the 72 families to recover their valuables.Victims were registered and the housing department would issue building material to affected families. Emergency shelter was arranged at the Langa Civic Centre.
The cause of the fire was unknown, the DOC said. - Sapa

Life not a gas for poor households

Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin says it is "a pity" the price of gas has risen at the time Eskom is encouraging poor Western Cape households to exchange their electric stoves for gas, but says price regulation is problematic. Full Story....

Monday, June 05, 2006

2B that gr8 generation U can B1 or wait 4 the G8

"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great;

You can be that great generation!

Millions of people in the world’s poorest countries,
are trapped in the prisons of poverty

It is time to set them free

Poverty is not natural, it is man made

And can be overcome by the action of human beings" ~ Nelson Mandela

Watch the video appeal

Living with the dead - Cape Town shacks get waterproofing

Mildred Gigi is blind and obviously malnourished but she perked up when she discovered her shack in the Maitland Cemetery would get a waterproof cover. Full Story....

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Family burns to death in shack fire

A family of three burnt to death after their shack caught fire in Muvhango informal settlement next to Vanderbijlpark on Sunday night, Vaal Rand police said.

Muvhango residents were woken by a screaming Joseph Tsholo, 38, his wife Veronica, 35 and three-year-old daughter Tiisetso just before midnight, spokesperson Captain William Mcera said on Monday."We believe the fire was caused by a paraffin stove that they might have left burning when going to sleep. They were trapped inside the shack and called for help.

Their neighbours tried to put out the fire, but they eventually called the police on realising that the flames were too strong," Mcera said. - SAPA

More than effort bared for blankets

Rock on Radio Jacaranda!!!

It all started out as just a bit of fun doing a good deed for charity - but now a few listeners of Jacaranda 94.2 who stripped and braved the cold to donate a blanket are having regrets.

Breakfast-show host Kieno Kammies challenged listeners to participate in the Winter Warmer' campaign by donating a blanket. However, Kammies' twist was to persuade them to show up at the station on Tuesday morning wearing only the blanket they intended to donate.

No fewer than 70 people showed up at the station shortly before 6am, dressed only in their blanket, to be donated to Children of Fire, a service for children affected and disfigured by flames.

In less than an hour, about 400 blankets had been donated, along with about R1 000.

Friday, June 02, 2006

N2 Gateway claims threatens housing project

Democratic Alliance councillor Neil Ross says contractors have threatened to bring claims amounting to more than R100-million against the city of Cape Town for mismanagement of the N2 Gateway housing project. Full Story....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Another RDP housing project crashes in Limpopo

Yet another Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing project has crashed in Limpopo, and this time at extension 44 outside Polokwane at a cost of an estimated R32 million.

The project was stopped by the Polokwane Municipality after discovering what it calls 'blatant defects' and described the houses 'unsafe' and of 'shoddy workmanship'. A week ago, government announced that it was considering to demolish 1 000 RDP houses built on a flood line with poor quality costing R19 million of taxpayer's money.

Extension 44 is one of the projects where government continues to lose millions of rands. According to the municipality, the contractor's plans were not approved. Their designs also failed to be in line with those set by the National Building Regulations Act.

Simon Mokoatedi, the Polokwane municipality spokesperson, says the two contractors in these particular projects have failed to submit the building plans as required by law, and therefore a decision was taken to stop the project.

Despite all this, government has paid the developers. For over 10 years, the provincial department of local government and housing do not seem to be getting it right. The department says that there are still a lot of lessons to be learnt. SABC

Like let citizens build their own homes


Houseit & InternAfrica have been created to address this human habitat crisis in the Western Cape South Africa. We see the same human hardship and impending catastrophe, based on our local conditions, delivery and politics.

Described by President Robert Mugabe’s government as an urban renewal drive, the operation, which began in May, saw armed police and soldiers demolishing townships and backyard cottages in urban and peri-urban areas.

The satellite photographs commissioned by AI depict the destruction of Porta Farm, a large informal settlement established 16 years ago. Prior to being demolished, it boasted schools, a children’s centre and a mosque, AI said.

AI has also released video footage showing forced evictions taking place prior to the demolitions.
“These satellite images are irrefutable evidence — if further evidence is even needed — that the Zimbabwean government has obliterated entire communities —
completely erased them from the map, as if they never existed,” said Kolawole Olaniyan, director of AI’s Africa programme. M&G
InternAfrica (IA) & Houseit aim to empower citizens with the knowledge to delivery their own solution and to build their own homes.

IA & Houseit are steadfast in preventing a similar situation as in Zimbabwe, from happening here in South Africa. Your Support is greatly valued. Please visit for regular updates on developments concerning the Human Habitat and sustainable solutions we offer.

Build your own home: Demonstration

Amnesty International (AI): Satellite, Video and reports
InternAfrica is a not-for-profit organisation addressing the Cape Habitat Crisis through education of sustainable green building methods as demonstrated here on HouseIT