The football field construction was completed in August 2012 with solar powered floodlights donated by Philips as part of their Cairo to Cape Town 2012 road show. Philips hosted an on-site launch event on 16th August 2012 at which the floodlights were formally handed over to the community by the international directors of Philips and Life Zone Soccer, a local NPO using soccer as a tool for personal and social transformation in schools and “high-risk” communities, arranged a friendly football match for local kids which everyone enjoyed.
You can watch a short video from Design Indaba about the day’s activities here.
Design Indaba (Interactive Africa) entered the project in the 15th Annual Business Day BASA Awards where it was awarded Best Single Strategic Project in August 2012 by an independant panel of judges at an event at WITS Art Museum in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
The next phase will involve the dancefloor construction as well as the community construction of the seating, built by recycling plastic bottles destined for landfill.
So far we’ve faced a couple of challenges in implementing this next phase:
As far as we can tell no-one has tried to make a permanent outdoor sprung dancefloor before. We spent a great deal of time trying to find a solution for this that was weatherproof, would last at least 7 years, fit in with our limited budget, and that would be theft-proof as theft of even fairly permanent fixtures, like large steel playpark equipment is a problem in this area – almost all of the existing play equipment in the park has been stolen, simply cut off at the base with an angle grinder and sold for scrap.
Although we explored countless options, from building a complicated layered dancefloor from marine ply and seasoned pine sprung with high density foam offcuts to recycled rubber outdoor sports mats, it looks like we’ll have to go with a lacquered polished concrete dancefloor. Although it won’t be sprung, it will allow the possibility of engaging with local youth in creating an artwork on the surface.
We arranged a community meeting at the local communiy hall on the 4th December 2012 so we could present progress to date as well as the next phase to the community and allow them to become more involved by signing up to support various activities in the park, such as netball, soccer, dance/performance and the community construction of the seating using recycled plastic bottles. The local sub-council and the City of Cape Town Parks has been very supportive of the project and has allocated some of their budget towards further improving facilities such as the netball court.
However, we were surprised when only 5 people came to the meeting. We found out that unfortunately several murders had taken place in the preceding days in the area as a result of gang violence and most people were reluctant to leave their houses to come to the meeting. This was an unfortunate setback, as we had hoped to construct the seating during the school holidays.
Albacore Park is a strongly contested space for the two major local gangs, the “VL’s” (Vatos Locos) and the “West Side” that each respectively “own” an end of the park. This is something we hoped we could in a small way help address with the project by providing infrastructure for alternative activities for youth. Gangsterism is a major social problem in some areas of Cape Town and is a complex social issue that will take more than ‘design’ to fix, but we hope projects like this might help inform future collaborative multi-disciplinary efforts to provide youth in disadvantaged areas an alternative.
On a more positive note, a few enthusiastic locals have managed to round up some volunteers who we’ll meet with shortly to plan moving forward with building the seating and we’ve rescheduled the community meeting for the end of January 2012. The local ward councillor, Derrick America, will be helping to get people to attend by doing home visits and engaging more with locals about the project.
From left to right: Hannah Williams, Dr Lorena Pasquini, Mayor Patricia De Lille, Caitlynne Francis and Mark Henning
Meeting the Mayor. The team was presented with a giant cheque by the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille, at the 2014 World Design Capital Stakeholder Forum held in February 2012.
An update on the Design Indaba Your Street Cape Town Challenge project:
Originally the project planned to use space adjacent to Acre rd in Kensington. It turned out that this land actually belongs to Transnet and not to the municipality as we had assumed. We entered into a lengthy period of negotiation with Transnet regarding the use of this vacant land, but in the end we were not able to secure permission to use it for the project.
City Parks, Cape Town, suggested the project be moved to Albacore Park – a public park about 100m away from the original site. We are currently busy with the public participation phase of the project, involving the local community in the rehabilitation of their public space. We’re working closely with Kenfac Parks, a subcommittee of the Kensington/Factreton Residents Ratepayers’ Association, a community initiative which strives to create a better community through building relationships with residents and community organizations.
Philips has generously agreed to donate a solar powered LED floodlight system for the football field as part of their Cairo to Cape Town Roadshow 2012 and we’re really excited to have Philips on board!
If you’d like to get involved, you can help this project by collecting plastic bottles to be used for the recycled bottle wall part of the project. If you do collect bottles, let us know, so we can let you know when you can pop past and drop them off.
If you think you might be interested in volunteering with the community for an afternoon implementing the project and helping to build the bottle walls please contact us and we’ll let you know closer to the time when you can join in! The more the merrier!
If you would like to get involved in this project in any other way please contact us. We’d like to give this community the best facilities possible, so if there’s any way you, or your organization, think you would like to get involved let us know!
This collaborative project involving Black hat and Nimbus, Dr Lorena Pasquini and Caitlynne Francis has been awarded the top prize in the Design Indaba Your Street Cape Town Challenge. The design contest requested proposals for improving a street in Cape Town using a budget of R50 000.
Acre rd in Kensington, Cape Town is an underdeveloped area that is adjacent to a large tract of vacant land that is currently neglected and covered in rubble and trash. The project aims to provide basic infrastructure to support positive activities that the vibrant community already participates in, but lacks any facilities for, and then build upon and augment this infrastructure to provide maximum benefit to the community and encourage ownership of the public space.
Currently children play football in the street and on the vacant land which is covered with broken glass and other hazardous materials. The community socialises on the street, sitting on the curb or piles of rubble. Dancing is another popular youth activity in the area.
Starting with the idea of creating a small six a side football field and a dancefloor / performance space, the concept was extended to include simple seating structures that also function as a low barrier between the football field and the road, as well as a space for public information and community artistic expression.
The seating structures will be constructed using a recycled plastic bottle wall building technique pioneered by Andres Froesse, founder of Eco-Tec Soluciones Ambientales, that has been successfully used in low cost housing projects in Honduras, Columbia, The Phillipines, Nigeria and Uganda.
The bottle walls are very durable, low cost and help take hazardous plastic out of the environment, as at present a fairly low percentage of plastic bottles are actually recycled. The community will be engaged in building the bottle wall seating, so this will also provide some short term economic benefits to them, as they will be paid for their work.
The design includes a slanted backrest which maximises space for public information, while minimising height so as not to obscure visibility and possibly compromise safety in the area. We’re really excited about collaborating with local graffiti artists to design this public information “infograffiti” – something that, as far as we know, has never been done before.