Every big city has a financial district, an art district, even a fashion district. Now Cape Town – as part of its bid for the The World Design Capital 2014 (WDC2014), is repositioning itself as a design destination, to rebuild the city and reconnect communities. ‘The Fringe’, situated in the East City between The Castle and Parliament (Roeland Street), is earmarked to become Cape Town’s official design district.
“The Fringe”, says Yehuda Raff, co-ordinator of The Fringe Project, “is the angel at the top of the Christmas tree in this big project of repositioning Cape Town as a World Design Capital”. As a design district, it aims to develop a new kind of environment, an innovation hub with its own personality to show its diversity within the city. The Fringe has the financial commitment of Provincial Government, but The City of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) are also involved.
The Fringe Project will create both ‘soft and hard infrastructure’. The former to bring communities together and reconnect them, for example, District 6 and its redevelopment are very important aspects of The Fringe project. The role memory and history plan and the need to include this in the visioning of the future are all front of mind for The Fringe management. It is also exploring ways to attract young fashion designers, architects and graphic designers. The latter, will concentrate on making pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, like pavements by closing off certain roads to cars, and creating parking outside the area to make it more livable.
The Fringe Project is a real economic development initiative, helping small companies grow and making a place where designers can showcase their work. It wants to inspire people to be entrepreneurial, innovative and creative.
Asked why Cape Town has to win the WDC2014 competition, Raff said, “We have to transform the whole city. South Africa is a baby country in terms of development. The opportunity is in its repositioning, (which will) give access to design for all people.”
The WDC2014 international jury start their election process on July 25, and conclude their visit with The Fringe on July 26.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Yehuda Raff on email@example.com to propose ideas for The Fringe.
See the online Bid Book: http://www.capetown2014.co.za/gallery/
International Council for Societies of Industrial Design: http://www.icsid.org
Cape Town 2014: http://www.capetown2014.co.za/
World Design Capital: http://www.worlddesigncapital.com/