Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cape Town Design City 2014

I've just had the most glorious day - a lot of good friends over for brunch: lots of food, laughter and running around with everyone's kids. This is what this time of year is for! And I am so blessed, with good friends like the one who knows me well enough to bring me the most magnificent flowers (easiest way to make me happy), the other one who knows me well enough to know I am overwhelmed with getting food ready so she puts them in water for me, and yet another one who quietly does some washing up while no one is looking so that clean-up time goes quickly when everyone has left.

The perfect ending to our 2011 Thanksgiving weekend.

Weekends aside, there is something I've been meaning to look into for a while now, and that is that Cape Town has been chosen as the World Design Capital for 2014.

Of course my first reaction on hearing this was woohoo! And then, a second later, what does this mean?

I did some checking on the Cape Town 2014 website. Here's some info (all from the website, but put together by moi):

The World Design Capital title is awarded bi-annually by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to give global prominence to cities that use design for their social, economic and cultural development. The World Design Capital title is awarded in advance, allowing winning cities sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events for their designated year.

Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid concept, “Live Design, Transform Life”, focuses strongly on socially responsive design.

The year 2014 represents a significant milestone for Cape Town and South Africa, marking 20 years since we embraced freedom in 1994. For this reason, 2014 will be a momentous year, as we take stock of the challenges and gains of our transformation, and celebrate the achievements of the past two decades, both as a City and as a country.

Our bid recognizes and mobilises Cape Town’s considerable design resources towards addressing the legacies of our City’s apartheid past. It is aimed specifically at dealing with the vast imbalances that exist in our society and is organized into three broad themes: Rebuild Cape Town through community cohesion; Reconnect Cape Town through infrastructural enhancement, and Reposition Cape Town for the knowledge economy.

The global landscape has changed irrevocably in recent years. Devastating economic and natural disasters have had a sobering effect on all aspects of life, including design. There is a growing need for practical design thinking, participatory methods and people-centred solutions to real problems. In this context, Cape Town has much to inspire the world. Ours is a proudly African bid, with the ultimate goal of achieving a sustainable, inclusive and more liveable African city, rooted in the strengths of our people and communities – to ‘Live Design. Transform Life.’

It just blows me away - its all that I love about design, and it seems to address a lot of the needs that South Africa has at this point (you can read more info on this page). Right now there doesn't seem to be too much info on the year-long programme of events in/for the city, but the website itself is already showcasing some inspiring stuff.

Just in one competition - Design Indaba's Your Street - three great ideas were considered, and I believe these are the kind of projects that will get more traction because Cape Town is 2014 World Design Capital.

Acre Road in Kensington, Cape Town, won the R100 000, which means a community that needs uplifting will get a new soccer field, and dance area, using recycled rubbish.

Your Street CT winners - Acre Road, Kensington from Design Indaba on Vimeo.

Growing and greening the city was a proposal to deal with urbanisation and feeding the city.

And a simple idea of painting fire retardant paint that could prevent fires in squatter camps and save lives also was one of the finalists.

I'm excited to see what else this means for innovative design that works for Cape Town, and hopefully for South Africa as a whole. I'll keep a watch on the World Design Capital Bid 2014 website but if you see anything interesting, let me know!

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