Event October 14, 2020

Growing the walking and cycling footprint in Tshwane - Indaba, Day 1

Children Cycling and roller blading in township
Screenshot 2020-10-14 at 15.46.17
  • DATE October 14
  • HOSTED BY City of Tshwane C40 Cities Finance Facility

Transportation meets a need for people to access services and opportunities. Access to these services and opportunities is the basis of economic development in cities. The more accessible and available transportation is within cities, the more economic benefits can be unlocked for the community. Walking and cycling represent more than low-carbon modes of transportation: they enable all communities to actively participate in the economy, access education, health care and other services. In addition, walking and cycling have multiplier effects such as improved health, improved air quality, lower congestion, increased life expectancy, amongst many others. All of the above is well documented and acknowledged by transport practitioners, decision- and policy-makers; however, walking and cycling still lag behind in South African cities, including Tshwane, due to their association with poverty and under-development, and the impact of apartheid spatial planning. Despite various pronouncements and policy documents, budgets and implementation are skewed in favour of private car users. 

To counter this narrative and create new opportunities for walking and cycling, the City of Tshwane and the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) hosted today a virtual Indaba on growing the footprint of walking and cycling in Tshwane. The Indaba is being held over two sessions on consecutive days, Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th October from 10h00-13h00 SAST. The Indaba, entitled 'Growing the walking and cycling footprint in the City of Tshwane: It needs all of us', aims to grow the circle of support and advocates for walking and cycling in Tshwane. It is designed to build alliances, empower more voices and co-create a vision for walking and cycling. To shift the perception on walking and cycling and make the case for greater integration of these low-carbon modes of transportation in the capital city, Tshwane, all voices are needed at the table. The event builds upon a multi-year collaboration between the City of Tshwane and the CFF and last year's Indaba.

The video for the song 'These Streets' by MI CASA was shown to kick-off the Indaba.

Day 1 of the Indaba was attended by 50+ city officials from Tshwane and other cities, walking and cycling activists, and representatives from think tanks, donor agencies, embassies, and the public at large. The Indaba is facilitated by the team at The Barefoot Facilitator, including Rehana Moosajee and Noluthando Mthimkulu. Day 1 included a panel discussion addressing the question of 'Capital City for walking and cycling: Dream or reality?', with contributions from several thought leaders including Mathetha Mokonyana, Rozina Myoya, Ofentse Mokwena, Nahungu Lionjanga, and Sindile Mavundla.

Key points raised during the discussion include:

  • Walking and cycling are not just transport issues. Considering the needs of those who move on foot or by bike entails addressing questions of social justice, public spaces, economic opportunities, etc. To enable greater walking and cycling, we all need to just as much learning as 'unlearning', a cultural change away from car-centric planning.
  • One of the speakers shared the experience of someone who had just moved to Tshwane and said that, even though in their previous place of residence they did not own a car but felt that they had access to opportunities, they did not feel the same in Tshwane, where not having a car deprived them of the ability to make the most of the city.
  • Walking and cycling programmes and infrastructure must be tailored to the reality of South African spatial apartheid planning and the urban form of the country's townships. Some parts of South African cities are most suitable for walking and cycling, but this should not stop planners and activists from imagining and creating ways of enabling these trips in more challenging areas.
  • For walking and cycling to become widespread and have inter-generational benefits, there is a need to rollout educational and awareness-raising programmes that target children and the youth. That way, walking and cycling will become embedded in South African culture and encourage a shift away from a car-centric city.

The event then continued with four breakout sessions, on community support, stakeholder engagement, funding and partnerships and the environment. The second day of the virtual Indaba will take place tomorrow, Thursday 15 October from 10h00-13h00 SAST, and will begin with a summary of the discussions in the breakout rooms. If you haven’t yet registered and would like to join the discussion, please click on the link here!