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Tuesday Nov 13, 2012

Cape Town plans to create a 24hr city

Cape Town is set make a major announcement on student accommodation in Cape Town's centre, as part of a plan to bring more residents into the CBD.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said she wanted to make Cape Town more of a 24-hour city. She didn't elaborate on whether it would be linked to any particular university or college but said she would be making a detailed announcement early next year.

She believed this and improvements in public transport would bring more people into the city centre.

De Lille was speaking about the city's plans for the World Design Capital event in 2014. This month the city welcomed a delegation from Finnish capital Helsinki, which is this year's World Design Capital host.

On Friday De Lille, Helsinki mayor Jussi Pajunen and Stellenbosch mayor Conrad Sidego shared their views on what the event meant for host cities.

De Lille said the new World Design Capital implementing agency would advertise for a chief executive officer today. The board would be tasked with raising funds from the private sector with a goal of raising R60 million.

De Lille had a practical view on what the event meant for Cape Town.

"We need to look at how to use design to do more with less. (The price) of water and electricity is going up, how do we save that so that more money goes back into communities?"

She said 2014 would have five to six big events, but said the event would have to be a process, including "reconnecting the city" to deal with impact of apartheid spatial planning.

Pajunen said hosting the design capital gave cities "permission to think differently". Even the youngest citizens could make a contribution. He stressed the importance of keeping residents informed. He said all public works projects had the city's World Design Capital emblem attached.

Helsinki also generated strong investment from the private sector. The city raised about € 50 million for the World Design Capital. And many companies benefited from their association with the event: "The best companies know the value of's a two-way partnership," said Pajunen.

In Helsinki, the neighbouring municipalities were also involved in the event. Cape Town is taking a similar approach. Sidego said while design could be "academic or abstract", the World Design Capital would "create a vocabulary" of design which all could relate to.

De Lille also announced the members of the new board on Friday. The board includes representatives from universities, provincial government, design bodies, neighbouring municipalities and the City of Cape Town.

Professor Russel Botman, the vicechancellor of the University of Stellenbosch, will chair the board. The vice-chair is Christopher Whelan, the chief executive officer of Accelerate Cape Town. Other board members include Laurine Platzky, the deputy director general in the department of the premier, and Martin Smuts, the deputy mayor of Stellenbosch.

Anton Groenewald, the executive director of tourism, events and marketing in Cape Town, represents the city. At a media briefing on Friday, De Lille said the event would "unlock the creative thinking of Capetonians".

She said there would be input from residents in each of Cape Town's 111 wards. The new board would be tasked with forming a shortlist and this would be handed to the city for the final decision. From here R750 000 would go to each ward for the project.

Bruce Snaddon, another board member and senior graphic design lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said design was traditionally seen as "separate" or "exclusive". But World Design Capital 2014 would open up with participation processes, he said.

Talia Sanhewe, board member and managing director of Talia Productions, said design even had the potential to grow the fashion sector, This would have a "huge social impact" on the city's clothing and textile industry.

This could be done by encouraging the talent of young designers. In turn residents would support them by buying their products.

Cape Argus

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