Cape Town’s bid story

The City of Cape Town's successful bid for World Design Capital 2014 was coordinated by the Cape Town Partnership, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders and supporters.

TEDxStellenbosch: How to design African cities

How are African cities growing and being designed to ensure that tomorrow is a better day than today? Three notable speakers confront the topic of Africa as one mega-city as part of TEDxStellenbosch.

The TEDxStellenbosch 2011 event that took place in July considered Africa as one mega-city as its theme. Three speakers from the event - featured in the videos below - invited the audience to reconceptualise the African urban space and to think about how it can be transformed.

The power of quiet encroachment

Mark Swilling, the programme coordinator of the University of Stellenbosch's Sustainable Development Planning and Management programme, looks at the prevalence of urban slums across Africa and how the people who inhabit these slums can become co-producers of the urban environment. Drawing on an example from Malawi, he shows how South Africa can rethink its approach to these spaces.

"My dream is that we have a TEDx in Stellenbosch in five years' time, where we have people speaking here from 50 - maybe 100, maybe 500 - projects across the continent of Africa that have built a pan-African movement of co-producers of the urban environment."

Developing a community economy

"The empty buildings of Africa's cities provide the perfect platform for the creation of the new community-based economy." Property developer Jonathan Liebermann, who created an artistic community - the Maboneng Precinct - within the city of Johannesburg, proposes that abandoned factories and buildings can be revitalised and reinvented to create new communities where the residents can "live, create, and collaborate".

Lessons in owning a city

Providing a slightly different angle, author Jonny Steinberg tells a story of a tailor from Liberia who managed to break the shackles of his 'street' and forge a path of success for himself and members of his community. Steinberg goes on to relate this story to some of Cape Town's more impoverished communities, before putting forward a solution that he believes will help South Africans move beyond the confines of their 'streets'.

"You live on a street and the street is closed in around you... who you are doesn't resonate anywhere else into the world. The sound just bounces back to you. I think that that's one major, major reason for gangs. I think that if what you do, if the way you express yourself is locked up in your neighbourhood and finds no expression in the world, then the way you show yourself to the world is to be ugly."

Find out more on the speakers and their interests