At the 12th Annual General Meeting of the Cape Town Partnership today, Chairperson Kevin Roman described the reporting year as one of “transition” for the organization, expanding beyond its traditional mandate to chart new territory.
“When I took up office as Chairperson of the Cape Town Partnership board, I set my sites firmly on making the Cape Town Partnership model for the Central City a catalytic one. I remain steadfast in my belief that we need to use what we have achieved in the city center to benefit more of Cape Town,” he said.
While the first decade of the Cape Town Partnership was about delivering on the core mandate of managing, developing, and promoting the Central City – together with the Central City Improvement District (CCID) – the new decade has seen the scope of work of the Cape Town Partnership expand beyond the boundaries of the Central City.
This expanded mandate is highlighted by two new projects coordinated by the Cape Town Partnership – the establishment of an Economic Development Partnership (EDP) for the region and the World Design Capital 2014 designation.
Said Roman: “We can confidently say that our Central City is presentable and attractive to investment, despite a global recession. Furthermore, I am happy to report that the city has harnessed much of the exceptional World Cup experience, and the Partnership has been instrumental in that process. Now is the time to connect ‘town’ and ‘township.’”
Cape Town Partnership Chief Executive Andrew Boraine echoed these sentiments: “Partnerships change over time. They need to have the ability to expand on their original mandate. I see the second decade of the Cape Town Partnership as fundamentally different from the first. The challenge facing Cape Town is how to unite a divided city. We need new city-wide partnerships for change.”
Reflecting on the successes and challenges of the reporting year, Cape Town Partnership Managing Director Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana said: “It is not sustainable to have an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty. In order to remain relevant and sustainable as an organization, the Cape Town Partnership must respond to changing circumstances and new opportunities.”
Boraine cited the establishment of the EDP and the World Design Capital designation as key opportunities to extend the successful cross-sector partnership model pioneered in the Central City to the broader city and region. Speaking of what the World Design Capital designation means for Cape Town, he said: “World Design Capital is about putting our city on the map and on the move. It’s not just about hosting a series of events in 2014. It’s about projects that will make our city more liveable and inclusive. We need to see design as problem-solving, where designers and design processes are embedded into city development processes.”
Makalima-Ngewana outlined the Cape Town Partnership priorities for the year ahead, namely to ensure that the transformative potential of the World Design Capital designation is maximized through collaboration and partnership – both national, regional, international, and global – as well as to focus on issues of affordable housing and homelessness, optimizing Cape Town’s public spaces for the enjoyment of all citizens, and the development of The Fringe in the East City as an innovation hub.
The AGM guest speaker was designer Heath Nash, known for his ability to “upcycle” trash into high-end, hand-made products and installations that are in global demand. Speaking about designing for “people and posterity,” he concluded by emphasizing the importance of making a city more liveable and people-friendly through design: “If you can rely on your surroundings and your city to work for you, then you will work for your city.”
The Cape Town Partnership Annual Report, titled “Designing Our Future,” is available online at www.capetownpartnership.co.za .