For years there has been debate in Cape Town over the future of the incomplete Foreshore freeway. Should the built sections be dismantled and the land used in other ways? Or can the uncompleted sections be used in alternative, creative ways?
How could the entire area surrounding the freeway become a vibrant and exciting place where Capetonians and visitors will want to live, work and play? And how might this area accommodate new, safe, beautifully landscaped and pedestrian-friendly links and parks between the city centre and the V&A Waterfront?
Collaborating on the future of the Foreshore freeway
The City of Cape Town and the University of Cape Town (UCT) have embarked upon a partnership to develop an innovative approach to the future of the partially built Foreshore freeway.
Design is becoming an important tool to make cities more attractive, liveable, efficient, inclusionary and sustainable, and there is an opportunity for a Foreshore freeway design concept to be showcased as part of Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 campaign.
The World Design Capital initiative celebrates the accomplishments of cities that have used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and improve their residents’ social, cultural and economic life.
The conceptual thinking around the Foreshore freeway began in the 1940s when plans were developed for the Foreshore area, and through-city boulevards were proposed. In the 1960s, an elevated freeway structure along the Foreshore was proposed as part of a ring road concept for the CBD. Further investigations led to the evaluation of eight schemes. The preferred option consisted of freeway connections to Sea Point and Buitengracht, but not all of this was completed.
The first phases of the elevated Foreshore freeway were designed and constructed during the early and mid-1970s. However, none of this conceptual thinking considered wider urban planning and design issues, since proposals focused on unsustainable, and now outdated, traffic engineering solutions alone.
As a result, the CBD is physically, visually and socio-economically segregated from the seafront and port area.
Rethinking the space
The City and UCT’s Engineering and the Built Environment Faculty have joined forces to develop a creative conceptual future for the unfinished Foreshore freeway, its unbuilt remnants and its surrounding area.
Through this partnership, the City will harness students’ diverse talent from UCT’s engineering and environment disciplines to influence the future design of urban space in the city, as it relates to the northern foreshore area and the elements of infrastructure within it. This is an example of approaching a transport issue from a multi- and inter-disciplinary standpoint.
Students at UCT will produce proposals for the future of this part of the city. They will review existing proposed conceptual design reports and consider new alternatives, taking into account successful examples from other cities in the world, as well as the needs and priorities of the residents of Cape Town.
Ideas also need to take into account the long-term future of the metropolitan area as well as resource and environmental needs of the next decades.