South Africa has a complicated history – and so do its public spaces.

Cape Town is no exception to the rule, with people of all races and backgrounds often spending their leisure time isolated from each other.

Some excellent initiatives have been launched in recent years to re-integrate a city that was forced to be separate during the Apartheid years. While the private sector should be encouraged to play a role alongside government, we believe that the commercial property sector can and must do its part to promote integration and citizenship across ethnic lines.

Here are some ideas for transforming the Mother City’s public spaces in the coming years.

An integrated city is a safe, trusting environment

The pain and inhumanity of Apartheid is something that many of us are keen to forget – but its effects still linger in our society. One of the most damaging things about the Apartheid system was its forced separation of people who wanted to coexist – simply because of their colour.

  • The legacy of separate development and group areas can still be felt in public spaces, where many South Africans feel uncomfortable lingering for longer than is absolutely necessary.
  • The discomfort we sometimes feel with our fellow citizens keeps us separate and not united – and we can end it by creating and promoting inclusive public spaces.

Public spaces should cater to everyone – and make everyone feel at home

Cape Town’s public spaces of the future should include residential and commercial property developments, markets that give opportunities to Capetonians of all walks of life to sell their wares. To this end, the very definition of public spaces can be extended to include a broader public area such as streets, markets, sidewalks and even bus and train stations.

Art installations and performance spaces, and comfortable seating for anyone who needs to take a rest should also be an integral part of our public spaces. This will foster an atmosphere of relaxation, community and familiarity among all Capetonians.

Keeping our public spaces safe – not keeping them off limits

Security concerns about public spaces, and the potential they have to attract criminal elements, are understandable. However, restricting access to public spaces is not the solution – what’s needed is an initiate to keep everyone safe in public.

Cape Town’s inner city provides an excellent example of public safety in action. Over the past decade, the CBD’s crime rate has dropped to among the lowest in all of Cape Town – thanks to the great efforts of the business community and CCID.

With the right commitment from all of us, we can create future public spaces that draw Capetonians together to build a bright future. We look forward to seeing the city’s public spaces evolve and go from strength to strength in the future.

If you’d like to do your part by investing in a commercial property in one of Cape Town’s vibrant urban areas, contact us today.