Open Streets Festival returns to KwaDukuza

  • 04 Jul 2023 | by Ryan Hoffmann (GIZ)

Open Streets Festival returns to KwaDukuza – Blog

The Open Streets Festival returned to KwaDukuza on KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast on Friday, 23 June 2023, to commemorate World Environment Day and envision the future of the city.

The Festival was supported by the GIZ Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention (VCP) programme, which is commissioned by BMZ and co-funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). With this support, the initiative tapped into the international peer-to-peer learning programme on integrated urban development measures, the GIZ -  Dialogues for Urban Change programme (GIZ-D4UC) which set its focus on social cohesion and safe public spaces.

KwaDukuza is one of the  four South African and four German cities participating in the network that meet every six months to discuss and share their projects through the Urban Living Labs implementation. The programme is endorsed by the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG).

The festival saw one of the city’s main roads closed to motorised transport as residents reclaimed the space and shared their vision for the future of the historically-significant town. As part of the festival residents, young and old alike, transformed the precinct into their playground as they cycled, skated, danced and played in the street.

Through a pop-up community participation measure, residents were also able to share their vision for a more inclusive, safer and more resilient KwaDukuza. The idea boxes situated in the middle of the road allowed residents to share their vision for the future of the city, which will soon be transformed by the municipality’s Central Business District (CBD) regeneration plan to design and build infrastructure that will transform the area into a safe and inviting pedestrian-friendly space for everyone in the city. There was also a model site detailing what the precinct could like in the future. On the idea boxes, the community shared the desire to enhance more seating, lights, and bins but also ideas on how to make the space more attractive to spend time in the CBD and enhance the sense of ownership, such as art, regular markets or greening of the area.

The Festival was opened by KwaDukuza Local Municipality Mayor, Lindi Nhaca, leading an awareness walk around the precinct to draw attention to the municipality’s plans for the long-term rejuvenation of the city centre.

“We are not only raising awareness today but also want to provide communities with the opportunity to contribute towards the revival of the CBD. We want to transform this city in line with Vision 2030, which calls for KwaDukuza to be a vibrant city competing in the global village economically, socially, politically and in a sustainable manner,” said the Mayor.

According to Siyabonga Khanyile, Executive Director for Community Services in the Municipality, the model site created in the precinct provides a glimpse into the future.

“We are showcasing what the CBD can look like with this model site, which simulates how the municipality intends to create a people-centred space and public square. This includes new paving, benches and streetlights which can transform the precinct. It is also intended to link the precinct with the nearby “People’s Park” which was recently opened and uplifts the area with quality public space for our communities.”

“We want a city that is more vibrant, safe and inclusive to all, sustainable and climate resilient,” he explained.


How Open Streets Contribute to Safer Cities

People-centred public spaces are created and maintained for citizens. They are owned by the public, serve the public good and promote social cohesion. They should be accessible to all citizens, regardless of their income, personal circumstances and beliefs.

If used effectively, public spaces can be a powerful tool for social inclusion as they give residents a sense of belonging and ownership. A physical environment that is welcoming, safe and visually pleasing can play a significant role in the perception of safety.

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