How a focus on asset performance might help ‘Breaking New Ground’ contribute towards poverty reduction and overcome the two-economies divide

  • Kecia Rust FinMark Trust, South Africa
  • Tanya Zack Icon group, South Africa
  • Mark Napier Urban LandMark, South Africa
Keywords: ‘Breaking New Ground’, BNG, informal settlements, South Africa


In 2007 the Presidency called for a review of second economy strategies1 contained within the national housing programme with particular reference to how it has fared in relation to the so-called ‘second economy’. This article draws from that review. The article reflects on the emphasis that policy places on the notion of the housing asset, and argues that while this is useful, it falls short in understanding the nuance of how housing assets perform for different stakeholders – individuals and the public. Within this, the persistence of informal settlements becomes a special challenge that might benefit from an understanding of asset performance. The article considers how state programmes and the intentions of Breaking New Ground have and have not facilitated absorption of the poor into the urban space economy, and what this means for the two-economies debate. 


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