CAPS was first launched at the 9th Africities Summit, in Kisumu, Kenya, in May 2022. Under the theme “Vibrant, safe, inclusive, and accessible African cities with quality context-sensitive public spaces at the heart of their development”. The meeting was attended by representatives from all spheres of government, academic institutions, private sector, civil society organisations and international bodies.
The second launch event of CAPS was hosted on the sidelines of the Eleventh Session of the World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland, in June 2022. The event of CAPS included the launch of Placemaking Africa Network in partnership with Placemaking X and various organisations (e.g. Public Spaces Network, Dream Town, Urban fabric Initiative, Kounkuey Design Initiative, Health Bridge, The City Space Architecture, The Journal of Public Space, Open Streets), that work on public space transformation in North, West, East and Southern Africa. Under the theme, “Connecting African community networks for participatory governance of public space”, CAPS and partners gathered public space enthusiasts and placemakers from across the world.
The establishment of CAPS is key to the efforts aimed at achieving the New Urban Agenda, advancing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). SDG 11.7 seeks to ensure by 2030, “universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces”, while Aspiration 4 in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 calls for “safe and peaceful spaces for individuals, families and communities.” Since 2020, UN-HABITAT Global Public Spaces Programme, GIZ Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention and Block by Block have been providing ongoing support and expertise to the City of Johannesburg in the establishment of Centre on African Public Spaces.
With the advent of climate change and other ecological, economic and social challenges on the African continent, the discourse on public space has become especially significant. How public space is imagined and shaped has implications for people’s ability to be resilient, for their capacity for livelihood generation, for economic development and for the very functioning of democracies. Public space can be a site of justice, empowerment, creativity and community-building.
Africa is the youngest and fastest-growing continent in the world. It is also the region experiencing the highest degree of urbanisation. Rethinking public space on the continent is an exercise in shaping a liveable, sustainable and just future for its people. Investment in African public space is an investment in the development and empowerment of African people and communities.
Vibrant, safe, inclusive, and accessible African cities with quality context-sensitive public spaces at the heart of their development.
To connect public space enthusiasts, urban practitioners, policymakers, community groups, and scholars to reimagine, advocate for, and create African cities filled with shared public spaces.