Handbooks and Guides

Many research and policy organizations produce free ‘how-to’ materials to guide planners and other built environment professionals in their research and practical activities.

This page is intended to help planning students, educators and practitioners to access free online resources to enhance their research and practical competencies related to African planning. Click on the links below to read more about the available resources.

AAPS case study research and teaching toolkit

From 2009 to 2010, AAPS operated a ‘case study research and documentation’ project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, aiming to increase case study research and teaching capacity amongst African planning academics. The project involved the development of materials to assist future learning and research, as well as the dissemination of documented case research produced by African urban scholars.

One project output was a set of guidelines or a ‘toolkit’ for case study research and teaching. Comprised of a resource document and an interactive CD, the toolkit synthesises the content and learning outcomes of three regional workshops held in East Africa (Dar es Salaam), Southern African (Johannesburg) and West Africa (Accra) in 2010. The workshops were designed to enhance participants’ theoretical and practical understanding of the case study research method. The toolkit contains many practical insights offered by the workshop facilitators as well as responses to issues and questions commonly raised by participants.

The toolkit provides:

  • An introduction to the overall philosophy, purpose and strengths of case research.
  • Practical advice and tips about the application of case research, including case selection, research design, fieldwork, and drafting.
  • Guidance on how a simple case study can be incorporated into a planning education programme.
  • Further resources to help planning educators develop case teaching approaches, or use case studies as teaching aids.

Please click here to download the AAPS toolkit for case study research and teaching.

Urban LandMark handbooks

‘Urban LandMark’ is shorthand for the Urban Land Markets Programme Southern Africa. Based in Pretoria, the programme was set up in May 2006 with seven years’ of funding from the UK’s Department for International Development, lasting until March 2013. The initiative is now hosted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.

Urban LandMark published outputs from their research and project activities as handbooks aimed at practitioners working in government, private firms and non-governmental organizations involved in the fields of housing, urban planning, engineering, architecture and related areas.

Handbook on African urban land markets

In 2010 Urban LandMark and UN-Habitat jointly published a handbook entitled ‘Africa’s urban land markets: Piecing together an economic puzzle’. The following is an extract from the preface:

This handbook introduces key economic and related concepts explaining the functioning of urban land markets. By introducing key classical economic concepts, the handbook provides foundational economic terms that are often referred to in relation to urban land markets. In doing this, we do not imply that African land markets should or ought to ‘fit’ into neo-classical economic theories, nor do we propose that ‘perfect’ markets exist. Rather, we hope to provide the tools for engaging in a critical analysis of conventional economics, particularly in our understanding of African urban land markets.

Please click here to download the document.

Handbook on settlement upgrading and tenure security

In 2010 Urban LandMark published a handbook entitled ‘Incrementally securing tenure: An approach for informal settlement upgrading in South Africa’. The following is an extract from the preface:

Informal urban land markets are operating in the parts of our cities in which poorer people live. Although they function well in the short term and provide access to land, their effectiveness is limited, including locking poor people into marginal locations. Urban LandMark advocates opening up more officially recognised channels of land supply as a primary means for improving the pro-poor functioning of urban land markets. Increased tenure security in informal settlements is the first step towards official recognition. Once greater tenure security is in place, opportunities increase for access to the economy, infrastructure services, social facilities and microfinance. This document summarises Urban LandMark’s approach to incrementally securing tenure in informal settlements. This approach emphasises practical mechanisms that allow land rights to be upgraded over time. It has been developed from a range of activities, including input from research papers, a considerable number of interviews, and the testing of different processes with municipalities.

Please click here to download the document.

Resources for community-based planning

The resources below provide a basic introduction to community-based planning processes and techniques. In addition, the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights has developed a number of similar resources, available here. Click on the titles below to download the resources:

SACN township renewal sourcebook

The township renewal sourcebook is a product of the Training for Township Renewal Initiative (TTRI) – a joint project of the South African National Treasury, the Department of Provincial and Local Government and the South African Cities Network (SACN). The purpose of this initiative is to promote and support development and renewal in South Africa’s townships, where some 40 per cent of the country’s urban population resides. The initiative focuses on training, helping to build local expertise to conceptualise, design and implement township development projects countrywide.

The township renewal sourcebook is the foundation material for all practitioners entering the TTRI programme. While TTRI products are developed primarily for an audience of public sector officials with tertiary qualifications, the sourcebook has been designed as a practical tool that is readily accessible to a nontechnical audience.

The sourcebook can be downloaded in the following sections:

  • Module 1: Introducing and contextualising the township renewal challenge in South Africa
  • Module 2: Unlocking township markets
  • Module 3: Restructuring the township physical environment
  • Module 4: Packaging township development projects
  • Module 5: Improving urban management in townships
  • Case study: Inanda-Ntuzuma-KwaMashu
  • Case study: KwaMashu
  • Case study: Mitchells Plain
  • Case study: Bakubung-Ba-Ratheo and Wesizwe
  • Case study: Khayelitsha Business District
  • Case study: Retail centres and township development

SWOT analysis guide

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis is a methodological tool designed to help workers and organizations optimize performance, maximize potential, manage competition, and minimize risk. It is used extensively as an aid for analysis and decision-making in strategic planning.

This free, user-friendly SWOT guide has been developed by Justin Gomer and Jackson Hille (University of California, Berkeley), and is posted here with their permission. It gives comprehensive information on the history, rationale and techniques of SWOT analysis, and provides a number of real-world examples to illustrate the method.