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Built environment

Climate Change/Resilience


Environmental management



Human settlements



Natural environment


Smart places

Social facilities

Solid waste

South Africa




Water and sanitation

Red Book

The Neighbourhood Planning and Design Guide

The Neighbourhood Planning and Design Guide is a comprehensively updated and revised version of its predecessor, the Guidelines for Human Settlement Planning and Design, commonly known as the Red Book. The Red Book, published in 2000, was preceded by a series of guideline documents aimed at improving the quality of settlement planning and design.

The understanding of human settlements has evolved significantly internationally and locally during the past two decades. This, together with substantial shifts in priorities and values, prompted the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) to embark on a process to revise and update the 2000 Red Book. The intention was to develop a document that would give guidance on local responses to global challenges, especially climate change and its relation to the built environment, and to bring the theoretical approaches to settlement making in line with the latest research and current thinking as reflected in various government policies, programmes, frameworks and strategies.

The DHS embarked on an extensive and inclusive process to produce a document that would provide practical neighbourhood planning and design guidance and contribute to the development of settlements that are vibrant, safe, integrated and inclusive. The DHS appointed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to manage the process of developing the new Red Book, coordinate the various contributors and prepare the final document.

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