This has been a special year for Open Streets – the movement and the organisation. We are celebrating our five-year anniversary of registering as an NPO and we concluded an amazing summer series of Open Streets Days. 2017 is also the 200th anniversary of the bicycle, and the year the City kicked into high gear its commitment to low-carbon transport. It released its draft cycling strategy, which aims to increase commuter trips by bicycle from 1% to 8%, and reaffirmed its support for Open Streets.
The concept is strong and momentum is growing; we feel now is a good time for us to share our knowledge. This is why we are producing an Open Streets Toolkit. Our aim is to help communities who would like to host their own Open Streets Days; so the toolkit will include info on how to get started, how to engage stakeholders, how to get exposure, and much more.
Importantly, it will acknowledge there is no magic formula for a successful Open Streets Day. But you need to put in lots of hard work and get as many people involved as possible!
We have facilitated Open Streets Days in a number of areas in Cape Town. To date, we have done this by mobilising local communities to get involved and engaging with the authorities to fulfil the regulatory requirements for putting a road closure in place, as well as organising the logistics of each Open Streets Day. The toolkit will include all our learnings from this, and will join a global canon of similar how-to guides, including the following:
- Streets for All Toolkit (India)
- Open Streets Project (US)
- Ciclovías Recreativas Manual (Latin America)
- Healthiest Practice Open Streets Toolkit (North America)
We will be unveiling the first draft of the Open Streets Toolkit at a workshop on Wednesday 28 June and inviting input from people who have been involved in Open Streets previously or are planning to organise their own. This is a crucial step in ensuring it has the right info and tone, and is easy to use.
Once complete, the toolkit will be open source and available online on our website and for anyone who asks us to share it. We have used our own context in Cape Town and experience to put it together, but are designing it to be useful to anyone, anywhere. We hope to inspire similar movements abroad, particularly in other African cities.
To this end, we are also co-hosting a Twitter chat with UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign. Join us tomorrow (Tuesday 27 June at 14h00 Cape Town time and 15h00 Nairobi time) to discuss if and how Open Streets can benefit cities in Africa. Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #UrbanThinkers to get involved.
This content was made possible through the support of the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.