Bridging the divide: Integrating the metro South East to the rest of the city through design

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Cape Towns current spatial construct still reflects the apartheid and modernist city planning regime. The result of this can be seen in the fragmented urban and social fabric of the city today. The apartheid planning regime had created a city of boundaries which was divisive and psychotic (Mbembe, 2008). The main objective of both apartheid and modernist spatial planning ordeals were to divide the city and restrict access and the freedom of movement based on race. It was a racial city (Mbembe, 2008). The act of place-making translated into race-making (Tayob, 2019) The marginalised population had been restricted access in all forms, physical, spatial and social. Access to economic opportunity, civic and recreational facilities, educational facilities land, and sufficient infrastructure had been restricted, and at times, dimished. Through the use of harsh infrastructure, such as railway lines and higher order roads (highways and freeways) certain portions of the population and the city were segregated and enclosed. This was a dominant determinant of of the present fragmented urban and social form. Decades after the abolishment of apartheid, very few advances have been made to systematically challenge the way the city's constructed and knit the city back together (Grutman & Patel, 2016). Cape Town still faces a huge disparity when it comes to social and economic inclusion. The marginalised urban poor still live on the periphery of the city having to travel great distances to access opportunity. Majority of economic opportunity sits within the CBD and large portion of Cape Town's population reside within the Meto South East. A large amount of movement happens towards to the CBD from the South East on a daily basis, resulting in traffic congestion and a large strain on the already limited public transport system. The formation of the current city alludes to very unequal, unjust and inaccessible city. This research project investgates the notion of 'Bridging the divide'. It explores ways in which we can spatially integrate the South East Metro to the rest of the city through spatial frameworks and design interventions at the sub-metro and precinct scale. One that allows integration across harsh infrastructural barriers in order to create a more socially and economically inclusive urban environment This allows for the creation of a spatial design model that can be implemented across the city, alluding to a polycentric model concept. This research explores theories from Susans Fainsteins 'Just City' (2011), David Harveys 'The Right to the City' (2004), David Crane's 'Capital Web' (1960) and Nabeel Hamdi's 'Small Change' (2004). Through the application of these theories, this reseach project adapts spatial Executive Summary Bridging the Divide concepts from each and applies them into its concept and design strategies. These theories promote the idea and vision of a just and equitable city which my narrative and aims alludes to. The aim of this research project is to create viable linkages across harsh infrastructural divides and connect the present urban fragmentation through a spatial design framework. In order to integrate the marginalised Metro South East, I look upon Hamdi (2004) and his theory on incrementality. Providing an interconnected framework that allows for infill from the every day life. Through these small changes and an adequate framework it can allow for access to the rest of the city through the idea of horizontality, networking and linkages. Through the creation of permeable networks and linkages, the city thus becomes inclusive and just, tapping on the theory from Fainstein (2011) and Harvey (2004) which will be further explored within this research project, and more specifically, this document. These linkages, spatial frameworks and design guidelines will connect adjacent suburbs across harsh infrastructural divides that will allow for the freedom of movement and equitable access. These principles and strategies will draw people into the MSE, towards these unique nodes. These linkages will consist of educational linkages, ecological linkages, recreational and civic linkages and movement / access linkages. The spatial model which consists of these linkages will create self sufficent nodes which work around the train stations throughout the city. These stations allow for that critical point of integration across the rail. This allows for the distribution of functions from the CBD to the rest of the city. Less of a skewed, monocentric economic hub, to a more polycentric city form. These nodes will be unique and self-functioning and will host various economic, educational, recreational, residtential and economic opportunity. To implement this spatial design strategy and model this design research works around the implementation of the Blue Downs Rail by using the new Rail and proposed train stations as a point of intergration and intervention. to “Bridge the divide” in a literal and theoretical sense. The study area is focused in Blue Downs, an area lacking integration and nodal activity. This design research devises a spatial development framework that will guide and inform the urban design rationale the precinct scale. This design research project then translates and tests the design strategies at the precinct scale further testing the notion of “Bridging the Divide” through the physical creation of social. educational, ecological and urban linkages