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In Cape Town, Urban Design Reduces Violence

Using space design to reduce violence and create peace, and hopefully more play and sense of community.

THE DIRT

cape2 VPUU Khayelitsha / CST South Africa

One legacy of South Africa’s fragmented, racially-segregated society has been incredible violence. To change that story, the city of Cape Town and the German Development Bank are harnessing the power of design. Through an inventive program, Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU), these players and many local non-profits are transforming Khayelitsha, one of the most dangerous townships in South Africa, into a safer, more livable place. At the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia, the team behind the VPUU program said since the development of this 5-year, $11 million, community-driven project, murders are down 33 percent in Harare, one section of the township, and 22 percent in Khayelitsha overall. Furthermore, almost 90 percent of the area’s 250,000 residents say living conditions have improved.

The city assembled a team of local planners, urban designers, landscape architects, and architects to create four “safe nodes,” each…

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