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Open access city

The Integrated Rapid Transit System is an example of how good design thinking can help Cape Town address its developmental challenges, writes Andrew Boraine

The 2010 FIFA World Cup has left South Africans with two types of legacies: physical and attitudinal. On the physical side, Cape Town has gained R14 billion of infrastructure, mainly relating to improved transport systems. This includes the upgrade of the airport, railway stations and highway intersections. In particular, we have been able to fast-track the implementation of an Integrated Rapid Transit System (IRTS), or MyCiTi. The IRTS is a twenty-year programme to bring reliable public transport within reach of all communities in Cape Town, to improve access and mobility. The expansion of the IRTS, and parallel improvements to the existing commuter rail system, carries with it the potential of transit-led development. In future, if public authorities can better align public transport routes with human settlements planning (in particular, well-located affordable housing) and more strategic land use management, there will be an opportunity to promote appropriate densification, more intensive economic development and a more compact city, which in turn will support more sustainable public transport systems. These issues will no doubt be debated in the City of Cape Town’s forthcoming City Development Strategy (CDS) process. The second World Cup legacy relates to changing perceptions and attitudes, both of locals and visitors. Some of the global stereotypes towards Africa have been challenged. More importantly, we have increased our local self belief – that we can think big, meet deadlines, and work together for a common purpose. When asked about their experience of Cape Town during the World Cup, many visitors responded that they enjoyed being able to walk the streets freely and explore the city. They also commented on the open welcome they received from Capetonians. It makes sense therefore to adjust our tourism marketing message, which for years has focused almost entirely on promoting our natural environment. Instead of the traditional focus on “escape from the city”, the new message needs to rather be, “engage with the city and its people”. Similarly, many locals experienced the World Cup on the streets of the central city – on the Fan Walk, in the FIFA Fan Fest on the Grand Parade, in upper Long Street and various other public spaces. Instead of driving to the stadium and trying to find parking, many spectators used public transport (and enjoyed it) and walked through the city at night (and enjoyed it). 40


Creative Cape Town Annual 2010  

Creative Cape Town Annual 2010