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RWTH Aachen – One World Development (2003-2018)

Since 2003, the Chair of Landscape Architecture (until 2008 Chair of Landscape Ecology) at RWTH Aachen University has produced student planning contributions and design work on the development of townships in Cape Town under the title ‘One World Development’.

WS 2003/2004 ASA project: “Out of the city” (Planning of the Monwabisi Beach recreational area in Khayelitsha)

For three months, three ASA scholarship holders worked in the planning department of the Cape Town City Council in the township of Khayelitsha with the support of the chair. The project dealt with the urban development of a previously unplanned area on the coast with a focus on tourism and local recreation and the participation of the local population. The results of this investigation were compiled in a study.

WS 2004/2005 Design planning: Klipheuvel

In the winter semester 2004/2005, students were given the task of planning the design of a sustainable township in Klipheuvel (approx. 40 km north of the city centre). Half of the approx. 2000 inhabitants lived in shacks and the other half in a new part of the settlement with small, simple houses. There was an almost complete lack of infrastructure and utilities. An Eco-Agri-Village was to be built there to give the residents a new perspective on life. The aim of the design was to plan around 300 residential units and to upgrade the urban development of the residential area.

SS 2005 Cape Town excursion

During the excursion week from May 13th to 24th, 2005, the department offered an exciting and very rewarding excursion to Cape Town for 14 architecture students. The main topics were: Life in the townships, tourism and new architecture in and around Cape Town.

WS 2008/2009 Impromptu design: Bus stops

The aim of an impromptu design on this topic was to develop ideas and, derived from these, spatial and functional concepts for the redesign and multiple use of a bus stop in the township of Manenberg, which meet the socio-cultural requirements of the users, living habits and demands on open space. 43 students worked on this design topic. Selected works were presented to the Department of Transport in Cape Town.

WS 2009/2010 Seminar: Kickoff (Football World Cup in Cape Town)

With a focus on the urban development of Cape Town, the participating architecture and business administration students jointly examined current plans and projects for the staging of the World Cup and worked through them in the form of presentations. The areas covered ranged from overarching goals, organisational structures and packages of measures to individual projects.

WS 2010/2011 Impromptu design: Speelhuis (Playhouse) in Manenberg

Particularly important in this student task was the design of a multifunctional building for children with the corresponding open spaces, which creates the balancing act between creating identity on the one hand and the possibilities and conditions of the Manenberg township on the other. The playhouse was intended to serve as a pilot project for other projects of this kind to be built. For this reason, there had to be a certain flexibility within the organization on the site so that the concept could be transferred to other locations. The aim of the design was therefore to develop a viable concept for the building and open space of the playhouse in Manenberg.

SS 2011 Seminar: Take 5 – Children in Manenberg

Following on from the previous semester’s impromptu seminar, the topic of play for children in Manenberg was taken up again. The seminar dealt more intensively with the living conditions of children in the township and also more clearly addressed the high proportion of violence against children in this part of town. The aim of the seminar was to develop a simple structural element for the benefit of children in the public open space. At the end of the seminar, the students were able to discuss their design results with young people from Manenberg, who were on a school exchange in Heinsberg, not far from Aachen, at the time.

SS 2018 Good Hope Lab – Cape Town summer school

32 students from the universities of Stuttgart, Cape Town and Aachen took part in the international DAAD summer school in Cape Town from the 24th of September to the 3rd of October 2018. The focus was on urban farming as a catalyst for sustainable urban development.  The challenges, problems, potentials and opportunities that a metropolis of millions like Cape Town has to face now and in the future for resilient and sustainable planning and the role that urban farming can play in this were explored during the 10-day stay. The results were presented in an exhibition at the Faculty of Architecture at RWTH Aachen University in December 2018.