01/RECONNECTING THE CITY
Woodstock and Salt River were once at the centre of the (now ailing) textile industry.Photos by Yasser Booley. Today it is the studio and manufacturing spaces of furniture designers like Pedersen and Lennard, fashion designers like Darkie and design stores and galleries like Art South Africa and Blank Projects.
For decades the clothing and textile sector, with a base in the suburbs of Salt River and Woodstock, was a robust industry and a major contributor to the Cape Town economy. When this failed, the area degenerated. But, like many cities worldwide that have used design to revive locales, this precinct is experiencing a process of regeneration, led in large part by the presence of designers and design-related businesses. Furniture designers Pedersen+Lennard and Haldane Martin, lighting designers Heath Nash and Brett Murray, fashion design company Darkie Clothing all have studios here. The area has also witnessed a proliferation of art galleries, advertising agencies and design shops. In the old clothing and textile district, a cosmopolitan environment has arisen, where design and lifestyle are key elements of its character. Cape Town is a city with a cosmopolitan offering of art, culture, entertainment and leisure, adding another string to Cape Townâ€™s marketing bow as a destination. Cape Town has also recently benefited from the beginnings of an Integrated Rapid Transport (IRT) system. A network of road, rail, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths, it has the potential of connecting people and giving them greater access to different areas, resources and opportunities. Through the application of design, the IRT could potentially unleash sustainable, economic development and densification in the nodes surrounding stations. Beyond the central city, there have been other initiatives that reflect Cape Townâ€™s commitment to addressing the fragmentation of its layout. The municipalityâ€™s Dignified Places Programme is one example and aims to create positive, inspiring, safe spaces in the most under-resourced areas of the city for people to meet, trade and relax. 24
Published on Oct 15, 2010