What are Open Streets Days?
Open Streets is a worldwide movement of citizens who are reclaiming their streets as public space. On an Open Streets Day, a street or section of a street is closed to traditional motorised transport, creating a temporary network of routes for walking, cycling, skating and other forms of non-motorised transport or just relaxing. Open Streets Cape Town holds Open Streets Days periodically across the city.
What is Open Streets Cape Town?
Open Streets Cape Town is a non-profit organisation (with Public Benefit Organisation status) working to created shared streets that embody respect for all and help bridge the spatial and social divides of our city. Its flagship programme is the periodic opening of a network of Open Streets Days across Cape Town that take place periodically in different areas of the city. It is our aim, with the support of the City of Cape Town, to hold these as a regular programme.
Why is Open Streets Cape Town doing this?
The founders of Open Streets Cape Town believe that many of our streets could be used more effectively as shared places that embody respect for all and help bridge the social and spatial divides of our city. In addition to Open Streets Days, our programme includes a range of activities that improve our understanding of how streets work or don't work, and that aim to change the design of streets to treat all users fairly.
Who is behind it?
Open Streets Cape Town is a citizen-led organisation that has the support of the City of Cape Town. It relies heavily on the in-kind support of volunteers, local residents and businesses as well as partners such as Cape Town Magazine, African Arts Institute, National Skate Collective, Pedal Power Association, Elemental Kids and Bicycling Empowerment Network.
Why should I support it?
Because the street belongs to you too and by supporting this initiative you help to foster stronger communities, healthier citizens, sustainable transport, an improved quality of life, economic opportunity and recreation.
Is an Open Streets Day legal?
Yes, all applicable procedures are followed in planning and holding Open Streets Days, which are designated as "events" under relevant laws and municipal regulations, and must meet the requirements for such events. Open Streets Cape Town, however, does not run the activities that occur on Open Streets Days, and cannot be held responsible for those activities. We are also engaged in the formal processes of the City of Cape Town for the redesign of streets that encourage respect for all people. The City of Cape Town supports the creation of a network of Open Streets through regular Open Streets Days.
How can I participate in Open Streets Days?
- Organise an activity. You could host anything from a yoga class to a street soccer match, give live drawing demonstrations or have poetry readings. All you need to do is register your activity with the Open Streets Cape Town team to ensure that space along the street is allocated to you, and that your activity adheres to the principles stated in the Open Streets Cape Town Manifesto.
- Spread the word. Open Streets Days depend on the community to get the word out and to make them vibrant and fun.
- Attend the day. Bring your kids, the dog (on a leash) and all your friends to enjoy the activities, vibe and sense of community.
What happens on an Open Streets Day?
Open Streets Cape Town seeks to encourage spontaneous activity on the street. Open Streets Days are not festivals or markets in the normal sense, but opportunities for residents to gather, interact and discover their neighbourhoods from the vantage point of car-free streets, and to welcome visitors from other neighbourhoods. Certain activities are planned ahead of time and allocated spaces on the street for setting up. Anyone wishing to have a space allocated is welcome to contact the organisers.
What is your trading policy?
Open Streets Cape Town seeks to encourage local economic development; however, Open Streets Days are not markets. The current events permit issued by the City of Cape Town does not allow for trading stalls; therefore, our policy only allows for local licensed businesses and vendors with a Certificate of Acceptance (COA) to trade on the day. For those who are not trading commercially but want to give away goods, the only policy that applies (in addition to relevant laws and municipal regulations) is on branding (see below).
Where will activities be located?
During Open Streets Days, businesses with access to the street are invited to take over the sidewalks and set up additional tables etc, but they may not do this on the road surface. That space will be allocated to activations and mobility only. In this regard, it should be noted that it is a requirement of the events permit that clear passage be maintained for emergency vehicles, so all activities on the road surface must be able to be moved quickly. For this purpose, and to allow the movement of bicycles, skateboards and other small-wheeled vehicles, an informal "lane" will be maintained where no structures will be allowed to be set up.
How much does it cost?
It's free. Gratis. Mahala.
Who is paying for it all?
The City of Cape Town funds Open Streets Days. In addition, we have secured in-kind contributions by local residents and businesses and have the support of other organisations such as Cape Town Magazine, Elemental Kids, Bicycling Empowerment Network, Pedal Power Association and many others. However, we are always looking for new sources of revenue to run our other campaigns to make streets safer, more inclusive spaces.
Is there money for my activity?
Unfortunately, there are no funds available to allocate to activities on Open Streets Days. The budget only covers the essential, hard costs incurred to create a safe event that meets all legal and regulatory requirements. We encourage you to be resourceful and collaborate with others to host your activity. Hosting a fun event doesn't have to cost a lot of money.
Can I print banners and other branding for my activity?
An Open Streets Day is a community event and, therefore, branding should be limited. No big banners or posters are allowed but t-shirts, hats and bibs are. While we respect your business and appreciate your involvement, we want to avoid an overly branded event and encourage a community vibe where everyone feels welcome.
Are there advertising opportunities?
Corporations with an interest in advertising should contact Open Streets Cape Town directly as there are opportunities to become formal sponsors. Please be aware that we engage in other campaigns besides Open Streets Days, and there may be other opportunities for partnership. Contact us to find out more.
Will there be amplified sound and stages at Open Streets Days?
The presence of amplified music varies from one Open Streets Day to the next, depending on the local community. There are restrictions in terms of the event permit, but it is also important that we respect the wishes of residents.
Will alcohol be allowed?
Normal laws regarding alcohol will apply, which means that only businesses with applicable liquor licences will be able to sell alcohol, and alcohol must be sold and consumed on their premises, not on the street.
Are Open Streets Days family friendly? Can my children come?
Yes, there will be activities for all ages.
How will I get there?
We encourage you to use public transport such as taxis, MyCiTi buses and Metrorail trains. Alternatively, you can cycle with a Bicycle Cape Town "bike bus". To find out if a bike bus is organised for the day, and what route it will take, check the Open Streets Cape Town Facebook page. Out of respect for local residents, if you must drive, please use the allocated public parking spaces.
What do I bring?
Comfortable shoes, sunscreen, water or juice, and all your friends.
What if it rains?
Come rain or shine, Open Streets Days will carry on. Bring an umbrella if you don't want to get wet.
Who do I contact about Open Streets Cape Town and Open Streets Days?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, drop a message via the website or connect via our Twitter and Facebook pages. And sign up for our newsletter (here) to receive news of upcoming Open Streets Days and campaigns.