Know Your Block Toolkit: Work to Make a Great Place

This publication is the result of a collaboration between the South African Planning Institute (SAPI) and South African Cities Network (SACN) in preparation for the Planning Africa 2014 Conference held in Durban on 19–21 October 2014. The toolkit’s aim is to deepen community involvement in local spaces by exposing South Africans to planning and empowering them to improve their neighbourhoods. In so doing, it is hoped that citizens and organisations will be encouraged to drive change and take ownership of their neighbourhood by developing their own ‘Know your Block’ projects.


The aim of this toolkit is to help communities become more aware of and appreciate their neighbourhood, and to find creative solutions to the challenges facing them. Each situation is unique and will require its own strategy to suit the local conditions and needs. However, certain principles and steps are relevant to all situations. This toolkit offers a five-stage/10-step practical process for communities to follow in order to create their own great place. Some examples are provided that showcase and celebrate community efforts to improve their neighbourhood.


It is hoped that this toolkit and the ‘Know Your Block – Work to Make a Great Place’ campaign will stimulate simple actions in neighbourhoods, such as working together to keep a place clean and tidy, greening an area or making a place more safe and secure, as well as encourage greater and meaningful participation by communities in planning matters that affect their neighbourhood. This booklet also encourages people to get involved, act, organise and mobilise to make where they live and work into great places.