EVENT : The Future of Public Space I : African cities and public spaces



Future Cape Town, and the Urban Design Institute of South Africa (UDISA) present the event series ‘The future of public space’.

The three-part lecture series on public space seeks to promote discourse on the contemporary challenges of the public realm against the backdrop of deepening inequality, fast urbanising cities and increasing socio-economic volatility. It will also seek to explore challenges of the future, where the changing nature of public-private ownership, aritificial intelligence, space travel, 3d printing and manufacturing present scenarios that few working in the field have grappled with.

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Image Credits : Skye Duncan/NACTO/ Global Street Design Initiative


17:30 Welcome and Introduction by Rashiq Fataar (Director, Future Cape Town)

Rashiq Fataar (Director, Future Cape Town)


Public Space in Cape Town 1980s to Now – WHO CARES? 

by Barbara Southworth, Director  (GAPP Architects and Urban Designers)

A quick tale of the history and custodianship of public space in Cape Town, from the elite, privatised spaces of the V&AW, the early years of the CBD regeneration projects such as  St George’s Mall, the City’s Dignified Places Programme in the townships of Cape Town, the VPUU, Co-Design Workshops and finally back to present efforts of the private and public sector in relation to public space.  The question running through this short narrative is who cares about, creates and takes care of public space in Cape Town, and why should we bother, especially given the state of public spaces implemented by the public sector in poor neighbourhoods?

We don’t think the same way about ‘public space’ 

by Olamide Udo-Udoma (Future Lagos)

If we are asked to think of a public space, we might think of a park, a square, or maybe a promenade with grass, water and trees, a space for recreation, reading and thinking. But are these the only ways we should picture public space? It is commonly thought that in Lagos, an economically driven city with over 20 million people, public space is over looked. Rookie mistake, public spaces have just taken on a different form. Necessity and creativity have led to the creation of spaces we may not all define as ‘public space’.

18:10 Video

Making cities together, Nairobi

Fast growing cities, like Nairobi, face serious challenges in developing into an inclusive and prosperous environment. The ‘Making Cities Together’ project aims to develop a sustainable, viable and long-term agenda for Nairobi’s public spaces as an entry point to urban development. In May 2015 the Placemaking Design Lab took place to develop new strategies for public spaces in the City centre, Dandora and Korogocho.

18:20 Pecha Kucha 

No street is lonely in Ethiopia

by Michael de Beer, Urban Designer (GAPP Architects & Urban Designers, UDISA)

Unpacking the qualities of the Public realm that defines Ethiopian city. Re-evaluating an understanding of what public space is and the pressures that develop from global aspirations.

Responding to inherent public space in Mamelodi, Tshwane

by Claire du Trevou (Architect & Urbanist)
The presentation will look at the differentiation between public and private space, within a particular informal settlement in Mamelodi; the transition between the two spheres and how new interventions into the space can speak a similar, familiar architectural language.

18:40 Panel Discussion

How to get to the future

19: 25 Closing remarks


Speakers and panelists

Barbara Southworth

Barbara is a spatial planner, urban designer and architect with over 20 years spatial planning, urban design and sector integration experience, half of this in the public sector. She has been a Director of GAPP Architects and Urban Designers since 2014, when her urban design practice, City Think Space, merged with GAPP.

She has been the recipient of numerous urban design and spatial planning awards including the International Ruth & Ralph Erskine Award, two UIA awards as well as project awards from the South African Planning Institute. Barbara holds professional registrations with SACPLAN, SACAP and UDISA.

Olamide Udoma

Olamide Udoma is a researcher, writer and filmmaker holding degrees in BSc Architecture, MA Design and MPhil Infrastructure Management. At Our Future Cities NPO, she is the Lagos representative. She has worked in London, South Africa and Nigeria with various organisations focusing on transport management, slum upgrading and housing rights in urbanising African cities. Currently based in Lagos, Olamide is engaged in projects that bridge the gap between communities and their environment.

Michael de Beer

Michael de Beer is a an urbanist and practising Urban Designer in Cape Town. He is also an active steering committee member of the Urban Design Institute of South Africa.

Zahira Asmal

Zahira Asmal is the managing director of The City and the founder of Designing South Africa. As an editor, curator and publisher, her projects address design, democracy and inclusive city making. In doing so she has collaborated with governments, designers, architects, academics and the media globally.

Michal Korycki

With a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Natal 2003, Michal worked at several firms in Durban before moving to Cape Town where he established COA with his partners in 2007 – current. Michal believes that creativity thrives in an environment of experimentation, invention and surprise. In design, he explores the delicate balance between playfulness and sophistication. Michal presents expertise in team leadership, visual communication & 3D modelling and compliments this skill set with a strong inspiration from nature and an inherent attention to detail, proportion and scale.

Rike Sitas

Straddling the academic world of urban studies and creative practice, Rike is fascinated by the intersection of culture cities, and more specifically on the role of art in urban life. Currently she coordinating the following projects at the ACC: Public Art and the Power of Place; Mistra Urban Futures; Cities Alliance Think Tank; and urbanafrica.net.

Rashiq Fataar

Rashiq Fataar is an urbanist and the director of Future Cape Town and the Our Future Cities network which includes Future Lagos.

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