Delivering real solutions to South Africa’s housing crisis.

Urban Think Tank Empower (UTTE) is a Non Profit Company (NPC) dedicated to developing and implementing a ground-breaking public housing model with the potential to improve South Africa’s dire public housing conditions.

Ultimately, our Empower Model is set to define what public housing will look like in post-RDP South Africa. Providing residents of informal settlements in Cape Town and beyond decent and dignified homes along with economic opportunities.

Building 1000 Homes

Building 1,000 Homes is the next phase of the UTTE vision and mission.

Working towards the South Africa everyone deserves.

Upcoming events for UTTE

WCPDF Conference

Delana Finlayson will be a speaker at the 11th WCPDF (Western Cape Property Development Forum) annual conference, taking place from Wednesday, 8 to Thursday, 9 May 2024 at the CTICC in Cape Town.

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The annual Decorex trade show will take place on 06 – 09 June 2024 at the CTICC in Cape Town and UTTE will be one of the exhibitors. Come in to learn more about UTTE and how we are going to build 1,000 homes.

A brief history

UTTE is a non-profit organisation which emerged from Urban-Think Tank Design Group. This international collective uses the power of research, architecture and design to improve the lives of marginalised communities worldwide.

Urban-Think Tank’s association with South Africa dates back to 2012, bringing together an alliance of local and international partners and aiming to address the historical and social factors underpinning South Africa’s housing crisis.

These partners include local community members, government officials, built environment practitioners, impact investors, NGOs and international donors. Pioneering innovative approaches to driving impactful change by combining collective expertise and resources. Empower Khayelitsha was the first full community development built as a live prototype to demonstrate the ground-breaking alternative affordable housing solutions.

The UTTE NPC was formally registered in September 2022. UTTE is the vehicle that will now manage Urban-Think Tank’s future projects in South Africa.

UTTE Facets of our organisation

A better South Africa by design

Our Empower Model is designed to uplift the millions of lives in South Africa’s informal settlements by:

Building 1000 Homes

Building 1,000 Homes

Building dignified, safe and sustainable affordable housing across the country.

Creating a family asset to truly empower residents, while reaffirming a sense of belonging and security within the city through ownership models.

UTTE Empower Communities

Empowering Communities

Providing work opportunities and supporting sustainable economic activities through communities.

Strengthening existing social cohesion and celebrating community identity.

Empowering residents through democratic principles and community upliftment.

UTTE Sustainable Infrastructure

Developing Infrastructure

Creating socio-economic and environmentally sustainable practices within communities.

Generating renewable energy to simultaneously empower residents while addressing climate change, air pollution and residents health.

Our future vision for the Cape Peninsula

UTTE Empower Upgrade Model

A map of the greater Cape Peninsula indicating 15 identified sites for UTTE projects, planning new Empower homes for over 10,000 people in need.

“UTTE’s ground-breaking Empower Upgrade Model has the potential to end South Africa’s chronic public housing crisis.”

Project partners

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Riverside Consulting
On the ground Project Management

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Future Cities
Urban Strategist

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deVilliers & Hulme
Structural & Civil Engineering

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Urban Dynamics
Town Planning

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STBB Legal Council and Conveyancing

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Ikhayalami Community Partner

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Who is UTTE?

The UTTE team in 2024

UTTE is made up of a dedicated team of architects, quantity surveyors, project managers, community facilitators, economists, and strategists. We form a critical collective with a wide variety of additional experts to push the boundaries of what is possible through a blend of thought experiment workshops and physical built prototyping. A proactive, collaborative, and multifaceted approach fosters creativity, innovation and action in a tediously slow-paced industry.

Want to get involved? You can help.

Contact Us

Urban Think Tank Empower
76 Church Street, Holland House, Cape Town, 7780, Western Cape, ZA