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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  14 Feb 2014

CAPE TOWN PARTNERSHIP: Leading with our heads, our hands – and our hearts


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It feels like yesterday that I was signing off for 2013 and planning for a time of family and friends, rest and respite. I should’ve known that by bringing the year in Delhi (an extraordinary place – crazy, colourful and frenetic – with a population of over 22-million) that the year ahead would arrive, fast, furious, and frenetic. 2014 is here indeed, says Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana CEO of the Cape Town Partnership.

At times like this, it’s good to remind yourself what you’re about, and what’s matters most. In the context of the Cape Town Partnership, that comes down to people: the importance of people and human relationships in our work and to our city. What does that mean, in the year of World Design Capital and 20 years of democracy? IDEO CEO Tim Brown defines design as a human-centred problem-solving process; whereas self-taught local designer Stephen Lamb goes one step further: He speaks of human-hearted design that begins with and builds on a profound sense of empathy and connection. It’s about work that builds bridges and crosses divides. And perhaps this is closest to what I mean when I speak about our work in the context of World Design Capital and the year of elections: work that doesn’t just have people at its centre, but at its heart. Work whose legacy is a shared future and a more cohesive, accepting, welcoming city – a place where people can live a life of dignity.

This year will be about work done – not just for people, but with them – using our heads, our hands and our hearts.

At an event on 24 February we’ll be hosting a debate on design, democracy, active citizenship, and ultimately, World Design Capital legacy and African liveability. But more than conversation, this year is also about taking action. As such, at the same event, we’ll be sharing more plans for our nine World Design Capital projects, and suggesting ways you can get involved. We’re also working hard this year to make our processes and projects much more visible and accessible to you, so that where you’d like to get involved, or take work or research we’ve done and build on it or better it, it’s that much easier for you. After all, as an institution funded in large part by the public sector, focusing on Cape Town’s public places and the spaces between the buildings, it’s important that our research, ideas and findings are similarly public. Visit us in our virtual public space, our new website (launching between now and the release of our March newsletter) to hear, see and be a part of it.

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