Top 20 articles of 2014

The top 20 according to our readers
Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Future Cape Town counts down the most-read articles of 2014. These articles had the most traction with our readers this year and were shared widely across social media platforms. We would like to thank all the contributors to Future Cape Town this year.

20. Designing African Cities: Urban Planning Education In Nigeria


We start the countdown with an article published on 5 March by our Future Lagos wing. Among Nigerians there is a belief that there is an observable disconnect between what the planners learn and know and what they put into practice for the general welfare and liveability of the populace. Most planning educators in Nigeria are products of top rate schools in Northern Europe and North America. Therefore they inevitably proceed to creating Euro-American cities on the African continent. These designs are at odds with the needs and realities of African cities.

Read more here.


19. Cape Town’s newest theatre rising in Langa


Recent comments by veteran actress, Janet Suzman have placed black theatre on the the news agenda in recent days. In June, Future Cape Town editor. Rashiq Fataar interviewed Nora Müller about an exciting new theatre development in Langa township. The theatre brings ethnic and cultural diversity to South Africa’s arts scene. The unconventional building and materials of the theatre also offers spatial opportunities for directors to transform spaces for their productions.

Read more here.


 18. Solutions from Copenhagen: Interview with the Mayor


Brett Petzer  attended the launch of the Copenhagen Solutions exhibition at The Bank, 71 Harrington Street, and briefly sat down with the leader of possibly the rich world’s greenest capital city. Lord Mayor, Frank Jensen explains that by making a a collective decision to go green, and you o-operate with business and research, you can create secure welfare systems, economic growth and a sustainable and environmentally just economy. Furthermore Denmark responds to long-term challenges, and climate change is not a new conversation for the nation. Practices have been put in place since the 1970s to combat this challenge.

Read more here.


 17. Top Design(s) Chosen for Naspers Centre


Cape Town’s CBD has seen a design renaissance in recent years and our article on potential facades for the Naspers Centre resonated with our readers. Media24 launched  Deisgn24 – a competition to find the best design for the planned facade of the renovated Naspers Centre. Among 94 designs, three winners were selected and the prize money was shared among them equally. None of the designs actually met all the requirements of the requirements. Work is currently underway on the the new facade of the Naspers Centre.

Read more here.



16. Cape Town’s biggest design market: an Interview with Trevyn McGowan


Anna Brown caught up with Treyn McGowan for an interview published in May. McGowan is curator of the The Watershed, the former Blue Shed craft market given R50 million to become a hub of craft, design and wellness. This will become the largest permanent design market in Cape Town with 150 stalls. The ends of the building are open, therefore rather than becoming an enclosed mall, the space becomes part of the street. McGowan promises that ‘You will be able to experience the Waterfront in a way that you never have been able to before.’

Read more here.


15. Vote: The Wescape Development 


In January, Future Cape Town asked readers to vote in support or opposition of the Wescape development. The proposed mini-city near Melkbosstrand is set to house 800 000 inhabitants and include 200 000 homes. Several of you joined the discussion, with many proposing high-rise developments in place of urban sprawl.

Read more here.

14. Future of Cape Town officially compromised: Is Wescape a band-aid solution?


We continue the countdown with Rebecca Nelson’s article on the Wescape development. The location of the proposed development may be unsuitable as it lies within the Koberg 16km radius nuclear red zone. If the power station is initiated this would potentially require the evacuation of more than 800, 000 people within 16 hours. The city might instead look at the densification of existing residential areas rather than expanding the urban edge of Cape Town.

Read more here.


13. Cape Town to get Museum of Contemporary Art



In November 2013 it was announced that Cape Town will the creation of a a museum of contemporary art. ZEITZ Museum of Contemporary Art Africa will be housed the Grand Silo Building at the V&A Waterfront. The Grand Silo Building was erected in 1921 and is considered one of the city’s landmarks. The museum will house the largest collection of African contemporary art on the continent. The project is being spearheaded and funded by the non-profit Zeitz MOCAA and the V&A Waterfront.

Read more here

12. Serious Games for Urban Planning


Urban planners are keen to find new, creative and fun ways to connect with audiences. Tyger is a company that creates serious games for urban development. Their games allow planners to conceptualise their designs before they are put into policy. The game inspires competition as competing teams are given planning challenges and certain time frames to adhere to. They must heed real-life indicators such as livability, heat stress and population densities while staying within allocated budgets and real-life governmental regulations.

Read more here


11. Future Nairobi: A 2030 City Masterplan – 6 new towns planned



The development of future cities continues to interest our readers. This year our Future Lagos wing has committed a series of articles to the Eko Atlantic city development. We also recently dedicated an article on the ”New Cities” phenomena in Africa. Although it does not form a part of our Future Cities network, we take a keen interest of development occurring in Nairobi. An earlier article continued to interest readers with it’s focus on the creation of six new towns to decongest existing urban centres.

Read more here

10. What is the future of the Sea Point Promenade?


2014 was a contentious year for the Sea Point Promenade thanks to the controversy of the Ray Bans public art monument. Earlier in the year Anna Brown looked at the famous promenade. One of the most successful public spaces in Cape Town, Sea Point Promenade also holds importance among the city’s Jewish and Muslim communities. After the World Cup in 2010, a seven phase plan was developed to give the promenade a makeover. Plans include the rehabilitation of sea wall defenses, playground upgrades and the replacement of bollards and railings.

Read more here


9. Development of the Week: Kirstenbosch Tree Canopy Walkway

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A development that has perhaps captured the imagination of readers more than any other is the Kirstenbosch Canopy Walkway. This article looks closely at the design that has breathed fresh life into Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The structure is comprised of a structural spine and ribs, inspired by the form of a snake’s skeleton. It is 11 metres above ground offering unparalleled views of the garden.

Read more here

8. R1 million public art competition launched

In celebration of Cape Town being the World Design Capital for 2014, the Western Cape Government has launched a competition for a permanent installation of artwork.  The theme for the competition is “20 years of Freedom and Democracy”, incorporating the “Live Design, Transform Life” mantra of the 2014 World Design Capital. Read more here.

7. What if Cape Town knocked down its freeways?

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What are some ways in which downtown Cape Town can be re-imagined?  A few key changes could fundamentally change the way the Cape Town bowl is integrated in with the harbour and sea. By moving the elevated freeway and current parking lots underground, the city gains not only space crucial to development, but also increased access to waterfront views. Watch the video here


6. Cape Town’s MyCiTi system

Adderly Street Station a week before its official opening to the public. Photo by @andre_wessels

Our updates on the MyCiTi schedule and changes have been a popular staple among our readers, the new passengers of the MyCiTi bus service. The service acts as a blue-print for safe, reliable and affordable public transport in South Africa. Parts of the city now offer a bus every 10 minutes during peak hours. This October the Adderley Street station also opened.

 5.How informal settlements are being transformed into dignified spaces

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In May this year, Walter Fieuw and Yolande Hendler wrote about new ways to reshape informal settlements. They look at Kuku Town informal settlement where space is utilized to provide improved service provision. Courtyards are also created, allowing a safe environment for women and children. The settlement also prioritizes productive spaces for the community.

Read more here

 4. Cape Town unveils 2032 transport plan 



The next twenty years promise major changes in the ways that Capetonians travel. The aim is to reduce a reliance on private vehicles and increase public transport provision. The process has begun with the city rolling out the MyCiTi bus service and cutting informal transport. The city has to to respond to a growing population. The morning rush hour traffic is on target to increase by 46% in 2032.

Read more here.

3. Top 20 cities for innovation


In January Rebecca Nelson took a look at what makes a city ‘innovative’. She looked at the criteria set out by the independent research group 2thinknow innovation cities. The group rewards cultural assets (from arts to sports industries), human infrastructure (mobility, start-ups, health, finance) and networked markets. According to their score card, Boston and New York are the world’s most innovative cities. Cape Town was categorized as an emerging innovative city.

Read more here.

 2. 10 examples of ‘Green’ architecture in Africagreenafrica

In April Future Lagos leader, Olamide Udoma investigated ten uses of green architecture on the African continent. Udoma outlines ten ‘feasible’ building projects across Africa. South Africa leads the way with highlights including pioneering sandbag houses in Freedom Park, Cape Town and a school constructed out of recycled shipping containers in Durbanville. Elsewhere there are innovative uses of green design in Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt.

Read more here

1. Gallery: Kirstenbosch Treetop Walkway 


We end out countdown with the Kirstenbosch Treetop Walkway. The 130 metre long walkway offers views from the treetops of Table Mountain and the Cape Flats. The construction was completely earlier this year and readers have been vocal about their approval. This story and accompanying updates enthralled out readers like no other story this year.

Read more here.