An open day at the City Hall last Thursday unveiled concept designs for a future District Six.
They were the result of six workshops held over the past year that drew on the contributions of urban planners, architects, City and heritage officials as well as various interest groups and representatives of the District Six community known as “caretakers”.
“The exhibition of the six workshops really gave insight into what the community wants from their public spaces, how they are keen to come together as a community and, with the City, work towards making these a reality,” said mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews.
The workshops considered, among other things, open spaces, murals, benches and the use of buildings, parks and public transport infrastructure.
“We have ideas of what District Six will be in our mind, though we were guided in the process by the City’s urban planning and design,” said Shahnaz Arnold, one of the caretakers and an executive member of the District Six Civic Association (D6CA).
Now that the workshops were over the caretakers wanted to make sure the City’s urban planning and design department did not cut any corners and that all the ideas from the different groups were included in the draft public realm strategy document, she said.
Another caretaker, Mandy Sanger, the head of education at the District Six Museum, said the workshops served as a model for how cities should work with communities on decisions about major developments.
“We also need to ensure that public space in District Six, quality housing precincts and innovation hubs are not excuses to displace ‘poor’ people from the expanding inner city.”
Mr Andrews said planting a sense of community in a place that had been torn apart by apartheid would not happen overnight but would require cooperation and the rebuilding of trust.
Consultants would now compile the information from the workshops, along with their professional findings, into a draft public realm strategy document, he said.
The public can email D6publicrealmstrategy@capetown.gov.za to comment or visit the City’s website to find out more about the spatial planning of District Six.