SCC Cape Town, October 7, 2013

Our first official day working with the city of Cape Town was on Monday, October 7th. The Mayoral Committee and the Executive Management Team for the City was in attendance at the kick-off, which included close to 35 people.  The honorable mayor Patricia de Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) opened the Smarter Cities Cape Town engagement with an overview of the challenge, the expectations, and importance of this work to the city of Cape Town. Our project challenge is to better understand how the use of the city’s “social assets” can be better managed to ensure maximum effectiveness. Social assets include community centers, health clinics, libraries, and recreation facilities such as sport fields, parks, and swimming pools.

To get insight into the city and help us frame our work for the next three weeks, we took a tour led by Alastair Graham, Manager: Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading Program. We visited two distinct communities: Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and were able to see many different examples of social assets, their services, and the cross-directorate collaboration that is required to ensure the assets are used effectively.  During our tour, we saw several success stories.

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Situated in a community square with private businesses, offices, close to transport and within a suitable walking distance from the community was the newest library in the City of Cape Town, located in Khayelitsha.

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The library was full of children. Notice the Smart Cape sign above the computer stations.  Smart Cape is providing free access to the internet across the City in all the libraries.

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This modern soccer field in Khayelitsha, a gathering place for kids, is less expensive to maintain, and includes solar lighting to expand the hours of use.  It is a good example of reusing land that is needed for water collection, enabling access to walking routes, and designing with a focus on reducing the ongoing maintenance costs while also making it safe to use.

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Ongoing maintenance is a significant issue due to the funding constraints that most all cities experience.  Below, a recently completed upgrade of a soccer field from grass to synthetic grass will reduce maintenance costs while expanding capacity in Mitchells Plain.

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In technology terms the total cost of ownership (TCO) is part of all design discussions.  Ensuring a social asset can be utilized properly for its expected life is the goal.

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