Reimagining public spaces in Monwabisi Park

The Reclaiming the Night project is about getting residents involved in creating their own solutions
Posted 19 Jun 17 By Design Indaba Duration: 00:03:51 Design Activism Creative Work / Design News Comments

Informal settlements, home to thousands of South Africans, are usually a great way of judging how we are failing as a country. On any given day fellow South Africans are fighting through hopelessness, joblessness, crime and urban decay and nowhere is it more stark than in areas like these.

Monwabisi Park in Khayelitsha is one such area that inspired Danish multidisciplinary firm, Fundament Design to want to help with a public intervention.

Over the past two years the team, made up of co-founders Petter Thorne and Joshua Morrison, has been in collaboration with Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading to facilitate the improvement of a public space in Monwabisi Park.

Together with residents, the team cleaned up an area that was previously used to dump rubbish and they then transformed the space into a pop-up outdoor cinema. The team worked together to design the seating area, lighting as well as the screen.

With no marketing or advertising but relying only on word of mouth, the intervention attracted lots of family in the area to come enjoy outdoor cinema and be entertained by performances in the space during daylight hours.

“For us, and our own practice, this was a reminder and a huge learning curve for us. It reminded us what is possible when you allow people to get involved in their own public spaces ... in creating change,” said Morrison.