Between October 2018 and March 2019, the Open Streets Days, which entail the temporary closure of a major street in Cape Town, will encourage residents of the South African city to use and take ownership of streets as public spaces. This will happen on the last Sunday of each month – with the exception of December – to create a new mindset around urban mobility, to create shared spaces that embody respect and help to bridge the social and spatial divides in the city.
Open Streets is a citizen-driven initiative working to change how we use, perceive and experience streets. It was formed in 2012 to challenge the model of urban mobility by carrying out campaigns, temporary interventions, dialogues and walks that raise citizen awareness, spark public debate and ultimately drive behaviour change around the role of streets in the life of the city.
Open Streets builds on five years working to institutionalize itself as a programme across Cape Town in collaboration with local government. It is a 40-year-old global movement inspired largely by Ciclovía in Bogotá. Every Sunday and public holiday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., 120 kilometers of streets go car-free in Colombia’s capital city. An average of 1.5 million people (over 10% of the city’s population) step outside to enjoy the space.
Over 400 cities, on almost every continent, have joined the movement with their own Ciclovía-inspired programmes. Open Streets Cape Town is taking the lead in Africa. Last June, it was selected as a winner in the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) challenge. The award has placed mobility innovation in Cape Town on the global map.
“Winning the TUMI award will help to scale our programmes and to bring even more inspiration to Cape Town as an innovative city — and particularly in terms of mobility innovation.” highlighted Marcela Guerrero Casas, Managing Director and co-founder of Open Streets programme.
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