Local and international experts as well as City officials discussed how this approach could best be incorporated in existing and future plans for the city. As Cllr Herron pointed out, to ensure that we bring our residents closer to their workplace and that we improve the access to and efficiency of public transport across the city.
Given the natural beauty of Cape Town, issues of rapid urbanisation and inefficiency may sound slightly remote unless you have to travel the type of distances most people, living in the outskirts of the city, have to face on a daily base to access the work place. And that is precisely why this discussion is relevant not only to the Transport and Special Planning Unit but to other departments inside the City, the private sector and to civil society more broadly. It is ultimately an issue of access and equality.
If a Transit Orientated Development (TOD) delivers all the results outlined at this summit: namely, urban quality, street connectivity, traffic calming, mixed use of land, reduced parking space, more comfortable and convenient transport stations and more cycling and walking infrastructure, there is no question this is the way forward. As stated by Frank Cumming, one of the presenters: TOD provides Cape Town with an opportunity to restructure itself.
The gathering engaged participants in discussions about how to make such a vision sustainable and efficient; how to best maximise on-off peak trends, how to revisit land use to increase density, diversification and intensification. The anticipated result: a walkable city where more people are using public transport, property values increase and ultimately more have access to economic opportunities and freeing up income for other purposes. In other words, an inclusive and economically viable citya dream come true!
For such a bright future, as Ms. Whitehead pointed out, the city must support bold and courageous land plans. Furthermore, to genuinely create a connected city, we will need more than a digital app. We will need to be daring in challenging transport systems and behaviour in this city. We will need to create streets that embed respect for all regardless of who we are or how we move.
With transport orientated working groups; land/transport advisory boards; inter modal planning committees inside the City, how can civil society engage in this discussion more proactively If, as Ms. Whitehead stated, there is no opinion and no suggestion that should not be considered then we must gather input from a broad spectrum of the citizenry. It begins on the street!