Together with our local partner, the African Centre for Cities (ACC), the International New Town Institute (INTI) has initiated the Density Syndicate, to study the possibilities for increasing Cape Town’s urban density, by using the combined design intelligence of Dutch and South African architects and planners. The Density Syndicate will organize strategic partnerships between 5 Dutch and 5-10 South African architects (and urban planners) to connect these creative thinkers to Cape Town’s most urgent urban planning challenges. Density Syndicate is supported by the City of Cape Town, the Dutch Creative Industries Fund, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Consulate General, Cape Town. It is also a programmatic component for Department of Design, an initiative of the Netherlands Consulate-General in Cape Town as part of the World Design Capital 2014 Cape Town.

Cape Town suffers from extensive urban sprawl, due to a combination of the legacy of Apartheid spatial policy and the middle-class ideal of single-family homes on individual plots of land. These societal divisions result in a fragmented city: a patchwork of disconnected business districts, affluent gated communities and poor townships, spread out across an area far beyond the city bowl defined by the bay and Table Mountain. There is a clear necessity to increase density. The current situation is socially, economically and ecologically unsustainable.

By choosing three different sites in Cape Town and developing design proposals that will be exhibited at the ACC exhibition Çity Desired’ opening on October 30th 2014, the project aims to offer innovative, alternative strategies as a starting point for the future urban development of Cape Town.

We were very pleased to receive a great amount of high quality reactions on the Open Call for the Density Syndicate. Though not an easy choice, we are confident we selected a complementary group of designers which will create innovative and realistic plans for the future of Cape Town.

The participating organizations in the Density Syndicate are:
NL Architects
Doepel Strijkers
h+n+s Landschapsarchitecten
Land + Civilization Compositions
dhk architects
Japuka architects
Matthew Gray Architects
Violence Protection through Urban Upgrading (VPUU)
Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC)
City of Cape Town Urban Planning Department
Province of the Western Cape
Cape Town Partnership
Greater Tygerberg Partnership
University of Cape Town
John Spiropoulos strategies and solutions