The World Bank in 2022 deemed South Africa the world’s most unequal society. Cape Town is widely considered to be the most segregated city, while apartheid is still present in spatial planning.
But a network of open streets, the first formal programme in Africa, aims at bridging the spatial and social gap.
Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) is a citizen-driven initiative founded in 2013 and working to change how we use, perceive and experience streets.
Since then, they have enjoyed the support of the City of Cape Town, civil society organisations and individual volunteers.
Through street action and research, they try to challenge the paradigm of urban mobility by carrying out temporary interventions, campaigns, dialogues and walks to raise citizen awareness, spark public debate, and ultimately drive behaviour change around the role of streets in the life of the city so that they are:
– Trigger for safer and more cohesive communities
– Platforms for creative expression of local cultures and values
– Places for recreation and social interaction
– Contributors to job creation and local economic activity
– Safe spaces with freedom of choice in how we move around the city
They believe that streets belong to the people, so they close arteries to road traffic on certain days, mainly Sundays.
Food stalls, installations, music, street performers, games, yoga, dancing, and more, help bringing inclusion, integration and connection to Cape Town.
Photos by: @openstreetscapetown