How should cities transform public spaces and streets to support post-Covid city recovery

November 24, 2021

The discussion Public spaces and streets for post-Covid city recovery explored the barriers and opportunities for cities to ignite their post-Covid recovery using tactical urbanism approaches in the public realm. The session invited a group of diverse panelists from different sectors, fields, cities and contexts and included Alfredo Brillembourg from Urban-Think Tank, Carolyn Daher from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Teddy Awori from Critical Mass Kampala, Chiara de Grandi from the Municipality of Milan and Tony Garcia from Street Plans.

Chiara de Grandi begins the session by discussing the case of Milan and the use of tactical urbanism to transform Milan's public spaces. With 'tools' such as paint, bicycle racks, and street furniture, they were able to transform sites into spaces centred around people. Carolyn Daher then highlighted the health benefits provided by public spaces. Designing cities to encourage more physical activity and provide green spaces will have enormous health benefits for residents. Teddy Awori, the CEO of Critical Mass Kampala, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to make the streets of Kampala safer for cycling and walking, discusses the organization's mission to design and advocate for inclusive and cycling-friendly infrastructure.

Urban ThinkTank's Alfredo Brillembourg then discusses the Empower Shack initiative, through which Urban ThinkTank has created a new type of housing in Khayelitsha centred on shared community spaces. Additionally, Brillembourg discusses the innovative financing options available to facilitate these developments. Tony Garcia concludes the session by discussing the philosophy behind post-pandemic street redesign and offering suggestions for this redesign. Conventional project delivery focuses excessively on large projects, is sluggish, expensive, lacks transparency in participatory processes, and employs static design approaches. Garcia offers five suggestions for addressing this difficulty.

This session was moderated by Our Future Cities CEO, Rashiq Fataar during South Africa’s 2nd edition of the Urban Festival.

Rashiq Fataar
Rouen Smit
37 Parliament Street
Church Square
Cape Town City Centre
Cape Town, 8000
Find us on Google Maps