Cities of the future designed to fix men’s mistakes

29 June 2017 - 14:14
Image: iStock "Cities of the past have been quite male-dominated in their planning," says Rashiq Fataar, founder of Future Cape Town.

Future Cape Town is a leading platform on rethinking future cities. Through its online presence, research and projects, the organisation works towards the creation of more democratic, visionary and inclusive cities.

We spoke to the founder of Future Cape Town, Rashiq Fataar, about its Constructing Future Cities project.

Fataar said the goal is to "use artists to give expression to what women think, feel and hope future cities could be - to provoke ideas and interesting possibilities for cities if they were entirely conceived by women, particularly young women".

The project recognises the need to challenge traditional approaches to understanding urban living and planning for the future, said Fataar.

"Cities of the past have been quite male-dominated in their planning and using unsuccessful modernist-led approaches. This has perpetuated inequality and produced economic, justice, health and environmental systems which do not improve the quality of life for millions of people."

Future Cape Town's approach to research includes new informants and mediums to engage with these complexities. This has been put into motion through the Constructing Future Cities project for which five female artists were selected to open up the discussion on re-imagining future cities.

"It is essential that in this complex, intertwined world where we have been working in silos, limiting ourselves to our particular fields or professional education, that the future city will require people to grapple with working with new people. Art and artists play a critical role early on in the process to challenge that way of working," said Fataar.

The project will include architecture graduates Amina Kaskar, Sumayya Vally and Sarah de Villiers from Counterspace (a Johannesburg firm), "critical spatial practitioner" Michelle Mlati and current masters student in landscape architecture Thozama Mputa. They have been invited to create work that captures visions for cities, drawing on input from women in Durban, Cape Town and London.

Rashiq said an enriched relationship has emerged between Future Cape Town and the women artists through their collaboration.

"We see this part of the programme as more of a catalyst, and we hope to deepen our engagements with these artists and other artists to continue to push forward the idea of the South African city of the future led and designed by women." -

This article was originally published in The Times.