OSCT is based on the successful Ciclovía movement from Bogotá, which transforms streets into car-free public spaces every Sunday. This movement has spread to more than 400 cities worldwide and was first introduced to Cape Town in 2012. Since its launch OSCT has grown into a popular and powerful movement for social inclusion as well as a strong advocate on issues of just and inclusive public space, transport and mobility.
According to OSCT co-founder and managing director Marcela Guerrero Casas the decision to package their learnings into a toolkit was motivated by the desire to inspire and empower communities and cities across the continent to replicate the Open Streets movement. “We receive numerous requests from communities across Cape Town to organise Open Streets Days in their area. We are a small organisation and our aim is not to single-handedly manage the process,” says Guerrero Casa. “We want others to consider organising their own. While we are willing to provide guidance where possible/needed, ultimately, we believe Open Streets works best when communities feel ownership of the programme.”
The nifty open source toolkit covers the full scope of planning, organising and funding an Open Streets event including guidance on how to choose a street and time, how to engaging stakeholders and press, how to activate the streets and issues of safety and security and much more.
Reflecting on Open Streets as a way to shift paradigms, Guerrero Casa reflects: “We (humans) share a desire to connect with each other and this seems to happen naturally and powerfully when we turn the norms upside down and create a shared platform that invites people to come together. We often say that Open Streets ‘suspends reality to get a glimpse of the future’ and taking cars out of the street for a few hours gets us thinking, feeling, and therefore, behaving differently.
We are all creatures of habit and the last few years have shown me that a disruption, no matter how small, to what we accept as normal is precisely what’s needed to change our social patterns. So, the journey continues!”
Download the toolkit here.
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