WeDesign2016 Conference calling for a ‘national spatial revolution’

Conference organisers have announced that Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, will be one of the keynote speakers at the one-day WeDesign2016 Conference taking place in Durban on 8 July 2016. Gordhan will be joined by international speakers, Felipe Leal, immediate past Minister of Urbanism for Mexico City and Kelvin Campbell, chair of Smart Urbanism in London.

Hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture (KZNIA), the prime objective of the conference is to put the radical transformation of our cities, towns and villages at the very top of the national agenda, and embed it in the popular and collective consciousness.  Also on the podium is an impressive line-up of South African business and property specialists and leading practitioners in Urbanism, Architecture and Urban Planning.

“It is clear that widespread, vibrant and sustainable economic growth and accessible opportunity is central to meaningful job creation, poverty reduction and narrowing of the wealth disparity gap. These are essential to attract financial investment, build social stability, and significantly reduce non-renewable natural resource consumption” says Ruben Reddy, President of the KZNIA.

Conference organisation committee member Andrew Makin from DesignWorkshop, says, “almost every South African is preoccupied with the single, important question of how things will realistically and radically improve in our country, but the answer might be in a very different place to where we’re all looking.”

“South Africa is currently estimated to have just 0.5% economic growth, which is a generous way of saying zero. It means only one thing. Joblessness will increase, poverty will deepen, inequality will widen, and social antagonisms like unrest and crime will worsen.  The future is dramatically less optimistic than it was any time between 1994 and today.”

“Physical distance is ‘enemy number one’ of infrastructural efficiency. Idea-sharing which leads directly to innovation and job creation, public service provision and social cohesion, especially for small entrepreneurial business, could turn 0.5% to 5%. If this does not become the singe gathering nation vision of all our efforts, there is zero chance of a better future for any of us in South Africa.” 

Other speakers exploring the potential of a comprehensive National Spatial Revolution [NSR] in South Africa include:

– Michael Deighton, Managing Director of Tongaat Hulett and President of SAPOA.

– Musa Mbhele, Deputy City Manager, Head of Urban Renewal of the City of Durban.

– Lynette Ntuli – CEO Innate Solutions

– Malijeng Ngqaleni, Head of Intergovernmental Relations of The National Treasury.

– Edgar Pieterse, Head of African Centre for Cities AND

– Paul Wijgers, Design leader of the Urban Design Framework for the Inner City of Durban.

“By removing so many of the physical and spatial barriers between current reality and a prosperous, egalitarian, stable, safe and secure South Africa, we can radically transform into a sustainable powerhouse of economic opportunity, underpinned by cohesive social networks and celebrated in compellingly vibrant centres of unique urban cultural expression. We invite interested parties to join us on this paradigm-shifting journey,” says Reddy.