In order to offer the residents of the township Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa, a better future, OKRA works with ETH Zürich in the Empower Shack project. The initiative is intended as a pilot project that can boost further development in townships. The goal is to achieve a healthy microeconomic economy in the future, with safe and green streets, good homes for all and integrated urban agriculture.
ETH Zürich has developed model houses, which residents can build through micro-credits and with the help of people from the district. As the houses rise two floors, space will be available for semi-public surroundings. OKRA’s contribution is to develop a strategy for urban farming, which is connected to the collection, filtration and reuse of rainwater. The conceived system for urban agriculture goes from XS to XL: small-scale in gardens at the houses (XS), somewhat more extensive in semi-public space (S), integrated into school and church complexes (M/L), and large scale urban farming in the zones between the districts (XL).
The first demonstration project, consisting of four houses as part of a larger project, has been completed. The first trees were planted in 2016. In addition to the houses, so-called ‘gravel swales’ have been made for the capturing of rainwater. This facility is linked to the irrigation system of trees and vegetable gardens. The next phase consists of building 80 houses with integrated urban agriculture.