Skip to main content?

Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading

Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) is a non-profit based out of Cape Town that works with low income communities to build sustainable neighborhoods by tackling issues of social, economic, cultural and institutional marginalization.

The program began in the sub district of Harare in 2006, using urban planning as a crime-fighting tool to develop both small and large interventions in spots where crime rates were the highest. Those initial efforts resulted in a 20 percent decrease in violent crime between April 2008 and March 2009. The murder rate dropped 32 percent. 

Since 2013, after registering the VPUU Non Profit Company (NPC), it has served as an intermediary between the public sector and locally organized citizens, working along with them through participatory methods of engagement, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Their more recent projects include building capacity of local communities through early childhood development programs, introducing technology based solutions to collect data and report lack of services and amenities to local authorities, securing tenancy rights by building community registers and nurturing local talent through social development funds.

We had a chance to speak with Kathryn Ewing and Don Shay of VPUU on our podcast, Social Design Insights. There, they shared with us their strategies for community development, and how to make communities stronger. Listen to the episode below.

47 | Using Design to Bring Down Crime


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2017 is "Sorry" by Comfort Fit. The break music is "Wangizonda" by Juluka from their album "Musa Ukungilandela."