Cape Town’s Street Life makes the City’s Big 6 the Big 7

A new urban attraction in the CBD, The City Walk, will be co-created through multi-level stakeholder engagement, announced the Cape Town Partnership at its AGM on Wednesday 5 November. Unfolding in 2015, it will bring the city’s Big Six tourism attractions (Cape Point, Robben Island, Groot Constantia, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch and the V&A Waterfront) up to seven.

The City WalkPrioritising the very DNA of Cape Town – its people and street life – The City Walk will see the cultural, economic and social upliftment of the city’s interconnected public space. This pedestrian spine of the city starts in the Company’s Garden, proceeds down Government Avenue and St George’s Mall, before turning onto the Fan Walk and ending at the Prestwich Memorial in St Andrew’s Square.

Starting at the cultural precinct, people are encouraged to experience:

  • Iziko Bertram House
  • Iziko South African Museum
  • Iziko Planetarium
  • Iziko South African National Gallery
  • South African Jewish Museum
  • South African National Library
  • Centre for the Book
  • St Georges Cathedral and the Crypt.
  • There is also potential to add in Parliament
  • The various experiences at Company Gardens currently include the Lions Gate, Rose Garden, heritage story boards, feeding squirrels and enjoying the bird house. The imminent addition of a vegetable garden (replicated from the original VOC gardens), children’s play area, and Madame Zingara restaurant as well as the outdoor chess area will add to these offerings.
  • Public art, including:
    • General Jan Smuts memorial, Company Gardens, near National Gallery
    • Mark O’Donovan’s “Man Running from Lion”, in front of National Gallery
    • Bruce Arnot’s “Niminous Beast”, in front of National Gallery
    • Rosenclaire “Soap boxes”, in front of National Gallery
    • Iain Redenlinghuys, Untitled (Stainless Steel), in front of National Gallery
    • Brett Murray’s “Aids Memorial”, Company Gardens Rose Garden

The route then takes the visitor to St Georges Mall, a pedestrianized route where visitors can experience African art and curio traders, and an offering of formal retail shopping and casual al fresco dining.

Public art along the route includes:

  • Piece of Berlin Wall, St Georges Mall near Wale Street
  • Fritha Langerman and Catherine Bull’s “Come to Pass”, Compass on the floor at St Georges and Shortmarket Str intersection

Diversions from the St Georges Mall route include:

  • Along Bureau Street to Church Square, where there is public art (Wilma Cruise and Gavin Younge’s “The Cape Town Memorial to the Enslaved”, Church Square; Oom Jan statue and the remembrance of the Slave Tree”. Here, visitors can also visit the Iziko Social History Centre (appointment only) and Slave Museum.
  • Along Longmarket or Shortmarket Streets to Green Market Square, where an authentic African market experience can be enjoyed, along with markers of the colonial history of Cape Town, including the original cobble stone flooring, and the Michaelis Collection, housed at the Iziko Old Town House.

At the intersection of St Georges Mall and Waterkant, where the iconic Brett Murray sculpture titled “Africa” stands, the route takes a turn along the “Fan Walk” – a pedestrian route developed in the city’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup hosted in 2010.  Along this route, more street traders, retailers and fast-food stores can be enjoyed, culminating at the Prestwich Memorial, where according to a plaque at the space “ossuaries house the remains of people who had been buried in and around the burial grounds of the Green Point area – between the second half of the 18th century and the late 19th century.  The human remains placed in these ossuaries are from unmarked graves, many of them being slaves and the poor who had been buried outside the formal graveyards”.

Public art can also be enjoyed here, including:

  • Kommetjie Environmental Action Group, “Full Circle Tree”, opposite Prestwich Memorial
  • Ettienne de Kock’s “Dancing in a Melting Pot”, opposite Prestwich Memorial
  • Conrad Hendricks “Implements”, opposite Prestwich Memorial
  • Heath Nash’s “ It’s Beautiful Here”, opposite Prestwich Memorial
  • Felix Holme’s “Wind Tree”, opposite Prestwich Memorial
  • Willard Musarurwa’s “Wired”, opposite Prestwich Memorial

The precinct will feature free wireless and the evolution of informative signage to assist in peeling back the layers of Cape Town’s hidden stories. The introduction of more public ablutions, experimental street food offerings, permanent as well as temporary public art, and event activations will form a practical aspect to developing the space as a lively destination.

Recognised for its safety, liveability and tourism desirability, the Cape Town CBD is steeped in heritage, public art, retail and events – both informal and formal. The City Walk will thread these elements together across all the layers of the Cape Town CBD story into an informative, engaging precinct to captivate both locals and visitors.

More than responding to the growing tourism trend for authentic urban experiences, the City Walk is key to activating Cape Town’s CBD as a 24-hour city. The Cape Town Partnership envisions the route as an extension of the daytime foot traffic in the area, with spin-offs for the surrounding businesses, residents and commuters.

“The development of a curated route or cultural precinct is something that will involve the stakeholders and participants in this story,” says Cape Town Partnership CEO, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana. Speaking at the AGM, she appealed to the public to work with them to co-create the route. “We envision a team of stakeholders who will be able to engage with us about the narrative of this route. We want it to be authentic, and to include diverse voices and perspectives.”

These voices would include those of both formal and informal retailers, cultural and historical landmarks and institutions, and organisations concerned with contemporary development and public life, as well as residents, visitors, students, scholars, artists, entrepreneurs and everyone who finds themselves engaging with the city.

The project has already been endorsed by the City of Cape Town. “For visitors such a route will immediately provide an accessible and coherent means to experience Cape Town as a city destination. For locals such a route can open up the city, provide a sense of inclusivity and encourage the sense of Cape Town being a ‘crossroads’ or meeting point across divergent histories, cultures and demographics,” enthused Tim Harris, head of the City of Cape Town’s Investment directorate.

The Cape Town Partnership is welcoming conversation through an email address or social media hashtags #CityWalkCT.Cape Town

Cape Town’s City Centre/CBD
As the commercial hub of the city, 40% of Cape Town’s total business turnover takes place in the CBD. Home to a number of provincial and national government offices, it is also the cultural heart of the metropole.

Urban and cultural tourism now accounts for 70% of global tourism. City brands have an increasing importance in attracting and retaining talent, visitors and citizens, as well as in the definition of our national consciousness.

Guided by the Central City Development Strategy, the Cape Town Partnership strives to create a city that is:

  • a more competitive business location
  • a quality sustainable urban environment
  • a popular destination for Capetonians and visitors
  • a leading centre of knowledge, creativity and innovation
  • a crossroads that connects people to the rest of the city

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