Walk- and rideability are the most familiar urban trends worlwide at the moment, due as much to the traffic congestion of big city life as to a rising environmental consciousness. More and more city dwellers opt for public transport or take to the streets on foot or bicycle. It’s vital therefore that Cape Town provides safe and accessible routes for walkers and cyclists. The City Walk has already proven to be successful, and 2017 should see great strides in Cape Town’s bicycle lanes.
Pop-up events and installations have shown themselves to be crucial in providing city-goers with entertainment without the limitations of city bylaws and red tape. An increasingly popular alternative to permanent installations, pop-up events such as Cape Town’s First Thursdays allow for both easy setup and continual innovation.
Affordable housing is greatly needed in a time in which city fringe areas are evolving into upmarket hubs. Gentrification of these areas is pushing low-income households to the outskirts of Cape Town, a problem faced by many world cities and one that has been a top priority for the City of Cape Town for over 10 years. The City recently put forward a R230m budget for social housing through the People’s Housing Process and there are plans to start developments in Woodstock and Salt River imminently.
Transit-oriented Development (TOD) encourages city dwellers to live, work and play near popular transport routes by improving the locations of new residential areas in relation to economic opportunities, thereby allowing all income households to save on transport costs. With Cape Town ranked as the most congested city in South Africa and 55th in the world, TOD aims to cut down on our considerable congestion.
Augmented reality (AR) came into the public sphere in 2016 with the introduction of Pokemon Go. While the game’s hype has died down, local developers have realised the technology’s potential in public spaces. “As design begins to mingle with this new tech, I see an increased demand for interesting and engaging physical spaces. Some of our greatest public spaces and landmarks have become the playground of this tech overnight,” writes urban planner and data analyst, Tom Seiple.
Fusion businesses have found the solution to simplifying busy city life by allowing customers to tick several tasks off their to-do lists at a time. 2016 saw a rise in the number of these multi-faceted businesses, such as I Love My Laundry, Revolution Cycles and House of H, and many more can be expected in 2017.
Connectivity has become increasingly desirable for cities across the globe, and South Africa is pushing for better access to Wi-Fi across the country which, while also a boon for citizens, is boosting the GDP. The City of Cape Town currently offers over 100 spaces with free access to Wi-Fi, including libraries, stations and Company Gardens.
Preserving old infrastructure is a priority that shows a return to mindfulness regarding the heritage of the old buildings scattered across Cape Town, some of which have begun to see the wear and tear of time. Developers are strategizing ways in which to repurpose old buildings while maintaining their historical and cultural value, rather than resorting to bulldozers. In early 2015, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation Centre donated R12m towards renovations for the Old Granary on Buitenkant Street in order to utilise it for its headquarters this year. The building is over 2oo years old and has been vacant for the past 20 years after serving as a customs house, a post office and the Department of Public Works.
Cape Town will see an art uprising in 2017, as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) opens its doors this September at the Grain Silo complex at the V&A Waterfront. Expected to be ‘Africa’s most significant museum in over one hundred years’, the Zeitz MOCAA will become the world’s largest museum dedicated to modern art from across the continent. This new art capital may change the contemporary art world as we know it, and Cape Town can expect an influx of patrons from across the globe. The museum will honour an Access for All Campaign, so that no one may be turned away due to inability to afford admission.