What was once loftily called East City Design Initiative has gone street, and is now known as The Fringe - Cape Town’s Innovation District.
Stand between Roeland and Darling Streets, Buitenkant and Canterbury Streets, and connecting land to CPUT from Longmarket through to Tenant Street, and you’re in The Fringe: Cape Town’s Innovation District.
As a proposed design and informatics hub planned for the East City, the project first took shape in 2007. Stakeholders began conceptualising “the premier African environment for design, media and ICT innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship” and engaging government.
The project has important friends : the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Provincial Government of the Western Cape) supports it via its Cape Catalyst Initiative, a unit that recognises the importance of various creative industry sectors for growing the provincial economy through relevant infrastructure. Other supporters include City of Cape Town departments, The Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Faculty of Informatics and Design (CPUT’ FID) and other civil society bodies.
Kaiser and Associates’ recent interim business feasibility study showed that setting up such a district could have positive impact for the sectors growth.
The name relates to its peripheral ‘border’ relationship to the central city and proposed development strategies. Development must, therefore, be a careful mix of public and private investments supported by current research.
The Fringe is modelled on an urban“science park”– an organisation managed by specialised professionals for community prosperity, promoting innovation and competitive integration of education and commerce. Good role models are 22@Barcelona, Toronto Fashion Incubator and Design London.
The area’s entertainment and leisure setting – another criteria for an urban ‘science park’ – includes The Field Office cafe, Charleys Bakery, various eateries, The Assembly, and The Book Lounge.
Growth is evident, too. Heritage site, The Granary, is under renovation, and Bandwidth Barn (BWB) as imminent 2011 tenant. It is hoped that this international ICT sector-supportive facility will encourage the migration of more entrepreneurship and incubators, sector service bodies and educational institutions to the area. (We hear that Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking is moving in from Johannesburg, too.)
The proposed “Temporary Incubator Hub” is an exciting key project. Award-winning architect, Luyanda Mphalwa, with Ameena Desai from Design Space Africa, would be an entrepreneurial support hub and networking opportunity aimed at the design and media sector, targeting emerging professionals.
For more information contact Yehuda Raff at email@example.com or call 021-4191881