Originally posted on the GTP website: http://gtp.org.za/is-open-streets-to-coming-to-bellville/
Open Streets is a global movement that seeks to maximise the power of streets as public space and public resource. One arm of the Cape Town-based operation is the implementation of Open Streets days, which are aimed at creating shared public spaces that embody respect for all, and help to bridge the social and spatial divides of our city. It involves the temporary closure of a road or network of roads to motor vehicles, in order to open the space for people walking, on bicycles, skateboards, playing and simply enjoying the street in a new way.
Open Streets have facilitated several successful Open Streets days over the last couple of years (with generous support from the City of Cape Town), in neighbourhoods as diverse as the City Bowl, Observatory and Langa. The success of these days, however, rests with the willingness of local communities to take ownership of the opportunity and use the platform to enjoy their public space and showcase local projects, culture and recreational activities. Furthermore, the Open Streets platform has the potential to draw in people from other parts of the city, connecting different communities and encouraging the use of public transport.
Over the course of the next two months, Open Streets and the GTP will be engaging with a broad variety of local community members to explore the potential for rolling out this successful model in the Bellville CBD, including the VRCID, the local ward councillors and community-based organisations. Together they will host two Talking Streets walks, as well as two community meetings which local residents, businesses and other community members can attend to explore how they can support the initiative and get involved in making the day a reality.
CEO of the GTP, Chris O'Connor explained "We are working towards the ideal of streets being public spaces that allow people to share the space in a way that is safe and provides fun for everyone. Well managed public spaces can provide ideal opportunities for building a sense of community and enhancing the quality of life of people living in city centres.
The Open Streets initiative forms part of our Desirable Spaces Programme and it offers us the opportunity to explore how the streets of the Bellville CBD can be used to breathe life into the Bellville CBD by taking vehicles out of the street and opening it to everyone to share and enjoy this often overlooked public space. We encourage all members of our community to take ownership of their public spaces, we cannot implement this Open Streets programme without the community on board.
The Greater Tygerberg Partnership and Open Streets are eager to roll out an Open Streets day in the first two weeks of October 2015. Two Talking Streets walks will take place during July 2015.
For more information:
Lauren Uppink Calderwood
Marcela Guerrero Casas
Picture: Lauren Uppink Calderwood (GTP), Rebecca Campbell (Open Streets Cape Town), Marcela Guerrero Casas (Open Streets Cape Town)