Cape Town 2025: Towards a Normative Approach to City Development - Concept note

Isandla Institute
PDF, 2005

The Cape Town 2025 project takes a normative approach to city development as its starting point. What this means is that we envisage a future city which is firmly founded on a set of core social values and, more specifically, that these core values serve to guide what paths and tools we choose and construct to bring about this vision.

These images of the kind of city we want to create, in the interest of our own quality of life and for future generations, are not static, nor are these images without contestation. In fact, a key characteristic of a vibrant local democracy is that such images are open to political challenge and engagement, giving rise to the following kinds of questions:

  • Whose image of the city is promoted and whose voices have not been heard in the process? 
  • How should values, or guiding principles, and actions be prioritised and sequenced?
  • What are the most appropriate actions to help bring about the desirable future?
  • How is progress evaluated and how does one determine whether the goal (vision) has been realised?

The project Cape Town 2025 seeks to initiate a process of discussion and reflection on the future of Cape Town and, more explicitly, on the values that will guide actors in the city to collectively strive for this preferred future. To facilitate this process of engagement, the project sketches the provisional contours of a vision and outlines tentative steps that are likely to help bring about this vision. 
The following core values serve to guide the project:

  • Social equity, i.e. the reduction of inequality and poverty
  • Sustainability
  • Integration
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