I recently attended the official launch of the Cape Town Skate Park, which last October, was announced as the winner of the  international design competition in the professional category. It is located under the Mill Street Bridge in Gardens (along with the adjacent Gardens MyCiTi station) and I managed to get some photos of the incredible transformation of the previously derelict area.

The project is made possible by the City of Cape Town, but with the collective work of a number of skateboarding activists like Marco Morgan, and the commitment of Gerrit Strydom at the City of Cape Town. Some would even go as far as saying that an intervention of this nature speaks to a new era of public space and place development currently taking place across Cape Town, playing a key role in the integration, reconciliation and city-building process of Cape Town.

I previously wrote about how other cities are embracing and reclaiming abandoned and derelict spaces in innovative ways , and Cape Town now joins that list.

“Big infrastructure”, in particular freeways and major roads interchanges, are a part our cities whether we like it or not. While largely inherited from the “freeway rush” of the 50′s and 60′s, some of these pieces of the urban puzzle are necessary (and many unnecessary).  Demolition may also not also not be an option. But where these pieces of infrastructure do impact on public life, it is often in a negative manner, characterised by dark, unsafe, barrier-filled, unwelcoming spaces, which with some thought could engage more constructively and positively with public life.  Many cities, nay, people and communities, have been realising this.

Read more about the skate park at the FUTURE CAPE TOWN website here