Our bid, “Imagine Princess Vlei”, is for a community-led collaborative design process to transform the land around Princess Vlei into an urban nature park that will honour its natural and cultural heritage, submitted under the WDC theme of Bridging the Divide.
Our campaign to save Princess Vlei from the proposed mall development has always been driven by a bigger vision of transforming the space into an asset that can serve all citizens for generations to come. This vision has been deepened and strengthened by years of tireless and passionate engagement by local and broader communities in rehabilitating, cleaning up and re-imagining this space.
We believe that our proposed project holds valuable lessons for the community-driven transformation of public space throughout Cape Town, opening the way for the evolution of a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive city driven by a dynamic partnership between civic authorities and engaged citizens. We take heart that the merits of our project have been recognised by the curators of the WDC process, who have listed it as one of six that “demonstrates the calibre of projects being sought in the second call for submissions”.
We hope that the authorities will follow their lead and support the development of a people’s park at Princess Vlei, rather than a shopping mall. We also hope that World Design Capital 2014 will be used as an opportunity to deepen civil society involvement in shaping our city – the Princess Vlei story well illustrates the importance of public engagement in significant planning decisions.
We are very proud that Imagine Princess Vlei has been shortlisted as an official WDC 2014 project. This brings well deserved recognition and institutional support to this worthy cause, and we have every confidence that this project will go on to be accepted in the final round . It is high time that the historically marginalised communities around the vlei are rewarded with development appropriate to this context. Princess Vlei is a magnificent location with cultural, environmental and ecological significance. If developed appropriately, it holds the potential to heal Cape Town’s divisions in myriad ways.
Our proposal for a community-driven design process to re-imagine the space around Princess Vlei can be downloaded here. View the press release from the WDC.