The highlights of a residential survey conducted earlier this year by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) were released this week, showing overwhelming support for the “downtown” lifestyle that the area has to offer. The first of its kind, the dipstick survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey among 220 residents living in and in close proximity to the boundaries in which the CCID operates, and an infographic with the highlights appears in the latest issue of City Views (October/November 2013) – the CCID’s bimonthly publication.
Based at the CCID and Cape Town Partnership, researcher Andrew Fleming came up with the idea of the residential survey in order to assist the CCID to develop a better understanding of exactly who lives in Cape Town’s Central City area, what they do for a living and how they add life to the CBD when they hit the streets afterhours.
“Also,” says Andrew, “this survey helps us to understand how the CCID can better match its services to the needs of residents to best live up to its motto of ‘safe, clean and caring.’ It told us what people like as well as what they would like to see improved. Through this survey we’ve started a two-way conversation with residents that’s an important step towards ensuring long-term engagement.”
According to the latest SA Census, there are just over 5 000 people now living in the CBD. “So it’s important to remember,” notes Andrew: “that this survey (the first of its kind, with 220 respondents) is, at this stage, a dipstick of opinion rather than a survey that represents the majority of residents. But nevertheless it reveals a number of very interesting facts among those that responded.
“For example, what really surprised me was the length of time some people have lived in the CBD, along with the length of time they still anticipate living here. This shows confidence in the urban lifestyle of the CBD. People really emphasized that there was a ‘vibe’ here that you didn’t find anywhere else in Cape Town. It’s important that we ensure this vibe keeps growing and that we really promote what we have.”
Another factor that surprised Andrew was the large number of people who use cars to travel short distances. “However, as MyCiTi rolls out further and the CBD incorporates more non-motorised transport options, such as bicycle lanes and pedestrian corridors, it will be interesting to see whether the number of local drivers drops over the years.”
Indeed a very promising indicator showing the potential of the MyCiTi service, is that the survey showed that while only 9% use it to get to work, 30% of all respondents indicated they using in one way or another.
Commenting on these figures in City Views, Cllr Brett Herron [the Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town (TCT)] notes: “We’re looking to eventually achieve a 60/40 percent split – public transport vs private vehicle – so we’ve still got a long way to go, but I think that if, within the Central City, 30% are already using MyCiTi, that’s very encouraging.”
The survey also revealed the fluidity of movement through the CBD, notes Andrew: “Residents clearly knit the city together; they’ll shop in one part of town, work in another and then go to restaurants situated throughout the area. To residents, the CBD is more about a vibe, as opposed to a bounded space.”
The survey also demonstrated a love of public space such as The Company’s Garden and pedestrianised thoroughfares such as St George’s Mall. “It would be wonderful to see more of the latter in particular. The results of the property investigation conducted in the last issue of City Views (October/November 2013, The lowdown on property in the Central City) showed just how popular retail was in the areas that had the highest pedestrian footfall.”
-Infographic and article via CCID