Open Streets focuses on water crisis

This years Open Streets will focus on the water crisis.

Observatory Main Road is set to become common ground for Capetonians when Open Streets returns on Sunday February 25.

However, this time, the focus will be on the ongoing water crisis, with several discussions and activities planned along the route.

Marcela Guerrero Casas, managing director of Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT), said: “Cape Town is under great strain. And while apprehension continues to build, it is our responsibility to find ways of responding to the water crisis as a society. Open Streets can contribute to that process.”

Main Road, running through Observatory, Salt River, Woodstock, leading towards District Six, will alive, when the road is closed to traffic.

As usual, the invitation is to move around the city differently by experiencing non-motorised and public transport by taking up the #AtoBChallenge.

The organisers are inviting everyone to join a street conversation about water.

“One of the big fissures that has become apparent during this period is the distance between local government leaders and citizens. Thus, engagement between citizens and authorities is also crucial and this will be a unique opportunity to create a conducive environment for that,” Ms Guerrero Casas said.

One example is the “Hack the Water Crisis” co-hosted by the Cape Town Science Centre, which will coincide with Open Streets Main Road.

The two-day event, on Saturday and Sunday February 24 and 25, will bring people together to share information, develop new technologies, ask the important questions and, find and share DIY solutions that work for the average citizen.

Julie Cleverdon, director of the Cape Town Science Centre, said: “We are convening the hackathon to harvest designs and identify promising water conservation and harvesting technologies”. Stop Reset Go is co-hosting the hackathon. Its coordinator, James Gien Varney-Wong, added: “The aim is to develop the viable solutions into real manufacturable open-source designs that can be locally produced but also shared around the globe.”

Jodi Allemeier, programme lead at the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, said: “Open Streets can be a great platform. On one level, that means business, civil society, NGOs, faith-based groups and so on getting together to exchange information, identify needs, monitor progress, support communities and establish some level of predictability and equality in the system.

“I believe that this is starting to happen and will ramp up significantly.”

Ms Guerrero Casas invited all Cape Town’s residents to create further awareness around the water crisis.

“In a city like Cape Town, where divisions run deep, we need to start by creating the type of spaces that encourage and nourish solidarity. Open Streets has successfully created this in the past. Let’s maximise it.”

For more information you can email
marcela@openstreets.co.za or visit www.
openstreets.org.za, or Facebook, or follow on Twitter @OpenStreetsCT.