The City of Cape Town has partnered with students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) to develop ideas for the redevelopment of the disused foreshore freeways in the city centre.
Cape Town’s incomplete foreshore freeways have been the stuff of legend for a number of decades. Built in the early 1970′s, the completed freeways are the main points of entry into the city – namely the N1 and N2 highways. But it is their incomplete neighbouring counterparts that have been a hot topic of discussion since, with rumours for their current state including everything from design/engineering faults to a lack of funding at the time. The official explanation, however, is that there simply was no traffic demand for the additional flyovers in 1970 and as a result the cost could not be justified. The plan has been to complete the foreshore freeways when deemed necessary.
But the city has begun investigating other ideas for their use. With urban planning trends having changed over the past five decades, there is currently a new-found focus on the pedestrianisation of cities. Public transport, walkable streets, large open public spaces and sustainable design have all become hot topics amidst global warming concerns and the soaring oil price. Just as it was difficult to justify the completion of the foreshore freeways in 1970 due to the cost, it is difficult to justify their completion as a result of the above concerns today – on top of the massive potential cost as well.
Late last year final year architecture students at UCT had the opportunity to develop and present proposals for the concept. Some of these included flooding the reclaimed area in an effort to extend the harbour/waterfront and bring the ocean back to the city’s residents. Water taxi’s, quaint cafes and more could make an appearance in the area if the proposal were ever to come into being. Other proposals are even less conventional, with massive skate parks and walkways spanning the length of the incomplete strip of freeway envisioned. Now, UCT’s Planning and Engineering students will have a chance to tackle the issue and present their own ideas for the future of the precinct, and it is these creative and ambitious designs that the city is hoping will be popular once again.
The concept has been submitted as a potential World Design Capital 2014 project – a title held by the city of Cape Town that will result in a year of design-related events being held in the city next year. Should everything fall into place, the face of Cape Town could soon look very different indeed!
Interested parties can keep up to date with the latest news and developments surrounding the project on the Future Foreshore Facebook page.