Public view plans for future District Six

Deputy mayor and mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews and Liezel Kruger-Fountain, an official from the City’s urban planning and design department, examine a draft plan for District Six.

Plans showing what a future District Six could look like have been presented to the public.

In four design workshops, held over the past few months, the community’s nominated representatives, or caretakers, worked with the City and architects to design a post-apartheid District Six.

Maps, models, and drawings of what they came up with were displayed at the City Hall, from Thursday till Saturday to give the public an opportunity to comment on the designs.

Khalied Jacobs, the director at Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers, said: “Each of the four workshops was very productive. We had difficult conversations, struggled through concepts and had lengthy conversations on the merits of various decisions. We systematically worked through issues so that ideas were translated into plans that gave depth and meaning to the District Six community.”

Two more co-design workshops will take place next year to include public comments and feedback in the final designs.

Mr Jacobs said District Six residents, with their memories of the community, were best suited to capturing the spirit of the area and lending authenticity to the way it looked in the future.

“Those who worked on the designs gave our work depth and meaning well beyond what would have been possible without them,” he said.

District Six Working Committee spokeswoman Karen Breytenbach said: “The caretakers come from many different organisations and backgrounds, so they were able to contribute very diverse ideas about what the District Six community needs. For example, they contributed many ideas about how the public transport, cars and pedestrian systems should be balanced to create a neighbourhood that is practical but also a nice place for kids and families.”

Ms Breytenbach said it had been challenging listening to everyone’s views and frustrations while also accommodating all viewpoints. It had been important to get everyone to focus on the future with an open mind and to find the best way forward for District Six.

Hassan Khan, the CEO of the Haven Night Shelter and also one of the caretakers, said: “We had enough time allocated for the workshops. However, due to the many underlying issues, hurt and reserved trust, we ate into the allocated time. The outcome of the necessary diversions led to a better understanding, which motivated participants to reach a common purpose and do the best we could for a liveable and walkable space where people can come before cars.”

Mr Khan said the linkages between District Six and the surrounding areas were explored to make the streets more pedestrian-friendly and open for small-business activities.

Many residents attended the first day of the exhibition at the City Hall.