Our Vision

The Safety Lab seeks to help create nations, regions, and cities that intentionally develop in a manner limiting violent crime through the management and reduction of inequality and systemic disadvantage.




The Safety Lab creates new and innovative solutions to violence using new and complex research, technology, programming, and practices. Through the leverage of resources and design, we seek a safer life for those living with high levels of violence and crime.




The Safety Lab was established in 2012 with a mandate from Western Cape Government to identify, develop and test innovative safety and security solutions. This reflects a ‘whole of society’ philosophy: solving complex problems requires cross-sector insights and commitment.

The Lab was designed as an ‘innovation hub’: operationally independent to experiment rapidly, cheaply and responsibly; and to navigate across government, private sector and civil society. We seek to establish ourselves as a creative, evidence-based and methodologically agnostic agency driving tangible social innovation in the context of safety and security.

At our core we manage a pipeline of ideas and localized research inquiries, a subset of which develop into projects. Our primary focus is on poorer areas, typically facing higher levels of violence but less able to mobilise community and private sector responses. The output of such projects are tangible ‘models’: designed and street-tested approaches to be operated potentially by the Lab itself; government departments and agencies; or other development or private sector partners.

Home Data Image.png


One Community Timeline



April 2013

The Lab was asked to join a multi agency program in Nyanga, South Africa’s ‘murder capital’. We conducted a high level diagnostic of local pathways to violence combined with ethnographic video chronicles to help build an understanding of the complexities of local violence. Through this process we identified a clear need for credible and consistent programming for youth over weekends and evenings. This was the nucleus of the program now branded One Community.

One Community Pilot

October 2014

Following the Nyanga Diagnostic and based on the inquirty's findings the One Community Pilot was implement. Then known as Nyanga Yethu it was setup to provide consistent pro-social programming for youth in the area in a safe space. The Safety Lab's involement in the pilot ended in September 2015 when the project was handed over to the Department of Community Safety. The experiance of creating and hosting the pilot was used to inform the One Community model.

One Community Blueprint

December 2014

Blueprint presentented to the City of Cape Town summarising the development, implementation, evolution and effective deployment of One Community projects based on experiance from the Nyanga Yethu pilot. Thereby allowing for the implementation of similar at-risk youth diversion projects in high violence urban areas.

Gugulethu inception

June 2016

Prelimiary process to launch the first fully formed One Community project at the request of the City of Cape Town. Established links with key partners, investigated possible locations, and initated the process of area and context familarisation begins.

One Community Gugulethu

October 2016

First established One Community project implemented in Gugulethu to provide pro-social youth diversion recreational activities.