Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Urban benefits for South Africa in times of the World Cup

Master plan for the urban park around Green Point, site of the new Cape Town Stadium. 

The following are excerpts from the great article by Nate Berg published at Pictures are from the article.

Next month's World Cup in South Africa will bring a lot of attention to the country, and a lot of opportunity. Though many hope the country will see an economic benefit, the biggest impact is likely to be the creation of urban infrastructure.
New airports and expanded terminals have opened in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Bus rapid transit systems are under construction in cities across the country, most notably the Rea Vaya in Johannesburg. The first segment of the Gautrain regional rail system in the Johannesburg area is set to open June, meeting its deadline to open before the Cup's opening match on June 11. Major road projects are being undertaken in every host city, updating access and circulation. New train stations have also opened in many host cities. The National Treasury has invested more than $2.1 billion on transportation and infrastructure projects, in addition to local funding sources.Transportation will be the main legacy of the World Cup, according to South African Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele.
But even with all this in the works, buildout of that transportation legacy has not been an entirely smooth process. Projects have gone vastly over budget, past deadline and beyond feasibility. The cost of Cape Town's BRT system ballooned from an estimated $171 million in 2008 to more than $600 million. It was recently announced that one section of the Johannesburg Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system would not be ready in time for the tournament  as had previously been planned. Benchmarks for the Gautrain have been scaled back. Planned BRT systems have been delayed or called off in Durban, Bloemfontein and Tshwane.
Tunneling Johannesburg for the new regional rail system
Cape Town stadium
A new public space 
These troubles highlight some of the problems with South African transit in general. Most cities are dominated by cars and minibus taxis. As a result, the cities are often congested and hectic with car traffic. Unsafe drivers are a constant menace on South African roads, where crashes claim thousands of lives every year. And for the rail systems that do currently exist, underinvestment and aging infrastructure have some concerned that the entire passenger rail system could collapse within a decade.
Public space in South Africa also stands to benefit as a result of the World Cup. Like previous World Cup host Germany, South Africa's host cities are creating fan parks during the tournament where the public can view games on big screens. A new concept first tested during the 2006 World Cup, these public viewing areas are seen as a way of spreading the event beyond the edges of the stadia and opening the games up to those who can't afford tickets for the matches. Each of the nine host cities has a public viewing area planned, as do a handful of other cities.
Though most of these venues will be temporary establishments during the event, there are some examples of permanent improvements to the public realm. One example is in the city of Cape Town, where planners have turned the public space surrounding the city's World Cup stadium into a huge urban park.
But recognizing that actually getting to that park could be difficult for the poorest of this city's 3.5 million people, officials have also taken advantage of the World Cup as an economic engine to build a series of public spaces in some of the less advantaged parts of the city. Officials are building 23 new public parks and community facilities all over town. Not directly related to the World Cup events per se, this program uses the event as a springboard to invest in the creation of much-needed public spaces within underserved sections of the city.
"The popular belief that this World Cup and the infrastructure associated with the stadium will, of necessity, yield a benefit to the public and leave a legacy that will have meaning for the poor is a bit of a pipe dream," said Cedric Daniels, manager of the Urban Design Branch of the Cape Town Planning Department. He says the city wanted to use the World Cup to edge in some public projects aimed at helping the city's poor, but which it hadn't previously had the opportunity to do.
The city's Quality Public Space program is building amenities like playing fields, community centers, and public plazas. Daniels says these facilities are likely to have a bigger impact on the city's poor population than the spaces created specifically for the World Cup, 8 games of which will take place in Cape Town.
"Public space is central to public life," said Daniels. "Civic life wouldn't be possible without public space, and good quality public space at that."

Read the full article
The Infrastructural Benefit of South Africa's World Cup

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails