VPUU is a participatory research-based approach, featuring a strategy that incorporates elements of international best practice of organisations including UN Habitat Safer Cities Programme and the World Health Organisation’s Life Cycle Approach. It combines these best practices with the concept of asset-based development informed by the context and community knowledge within South Africa.


The public health or life cycle approach aims to assist and enable a healthy and less violent community within the Safe Node. It does so by supporting targeted interventions over the whole cycle of human life, from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to adult employment and income-generating activity.


Puts the local assets, linkages and developmental potentials within a community in the centre of the development. The community-based social capital is key for the development of the area through participatory community processes and partnerships with communities to deliver services within the programme area. It is also essential in the support of on-going operations, maintenance and management of the public realm and facilities in the programme area.


Combines planning efforts by state institutions with community-based protection measures. This includes the local application of policy frameworks such as Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) measures, linkages between volunteer popular protection systems such as Neighbourhood Watches (NHW) and the access to justice for residents.

Research and Development

Research describes Knowledge Management efforts to enable evidence-led development processes, capacity building, sharing of knowledge and the ability to replicate and mainstream tested and proven interventions and processes.