Metropolis: Focus on KHAYELITSHA VPUU

Harare Library PaulMakovsky(C)

An innovative program that looks to reduce crime through urban design.

To reduce crime in the sprawling suburb of Khayelitsha—a township with roughly one million inhabitants, about 18 miles from the center of Cape Town—city officials and the German Development Bank created the Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) program.

Using detailed crime mapping and consultation with the community, four “safe nodes” were created with physical, social, and institutional improvements, such as enhanced streetscapes and recreational facilities, leading from the railway station to Harare Square—a vibrant area of houses, stores, trading stalls, and the Carnegie Corporation–funded Harare Public Library, designed by Charlotte Chamberlain and Nicola Irving Architects.

While the city says its crime-prevention efforts are working—estimating that since the $55.6 million project began, crime is down 24 percent in Khayelitsha—some community activists remain skeptical of its long-term effectiveness.

The enhances streetscapes (above) and the new recreational facilities (below) created by the VPUU program

See related blog about Metropolis: Eyes on Cape Town

PHOTO CREDITS: Lead image: Paul Makovsky. Copy images Bruce Sutherland l CoCT