The World Design Capital distinction is awarded to cities which recognise design as a tool for social, cultural and economic development. In 2014 Cape Town will host over 460 design projects aimed at transforming the city. Use our Design Engine to learn more about the projects as well as the people and stories behind them.
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This project is about breaking down traditional barriers and instead building confidence and forging new, creative alliances. By bringing together participants across a broad spectrum (students, educators, city officials, and politicians) we hope to help individuals and groups find common ground and paths for collaboration. The project can open up participants to new ways of thinking and operating in their everyday lives. Particularly for our youth participants, we hope to inspire motivation, innovation and creativity, and self-empowerment and leadership. Most of all, we want to foster the principle that anyone, anywhere, with any means, can be a designer.
"Julie, on the inspiration for the project: In 2011, I spent several months interviewing City of Cape Town elected city councilors in a project regarding their knowledge of environmental issues and integration of these matters into their work. In addition to the information that I was seeking, I gained a deeper, richer perspective into Cape Town’s history, people, culture, challenges, and opportunities, as narrated by the people who are working to improve the city every day. In one conversation, I spoke with a leader in the social development portfolio committee, who described her work with many of the poorer, more resource-pressed communities in the city. She often gives lectures and church sermons in these neighbourhoods, and frequently engages the young people in conversation. She asks them about their thoughts, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Once, in a community located within sight of the air traffic of Cape Town International Airport, she asked a boywhat he wanted to do someday. “Someday,” he responded timidly, “I want to ride in a plane.” The official told me that she was heartbroken. “What I want to hear him say,” she said, her eyes sparkling with hope and energy, “ is, ‘Someday, I want to fly a plane.’” In this spirit, we have been inspired to create Youth Design Studio. It is to help Capetonians grow wings. "
"Youth Design Studio uses design as a process for empowerment. Typically, youth are not positioned to be leaders of change in their environment, nor are they encouraged to do so. This project places young people at the centre of the design process and inspires them to take charge. Youth Design Studio breaks down the notion that design is exclusive, and instead focuses on using design as a tool that can be used by anyone to solve challenges in one’s everyday environment.In this way, the project demonstrates that design is about more than just creating physical objects, rather, it can be used to create meaningful and lasting social effects in communities. "