Why 'Bridges not Barriers'?

We’ve chosen the name “Bridges not Barriers” to define our campaign against the proposed development, as we are not only resisting this particular development, but the alarming trend of barrier-making developments across our beloved Cape Town. These developments follow the logic of Apartheid planning, creating deliberate “buffer zones” that divide us. These barriers are physical, social, cultural and economic, and they all have the same underlying intention - the enclosure and erosion of our shared and common wealth - land, culture, heritage, social networks - for the benefit of the already wealthy few. Inequality is one of the most serious and pressing issues we need to deal with globally, and these kinds of developments just make things worse. We resist not only extractive and self-serving developers, but also short-sighted government officials and built environment professionals, who willingly enable this erosion of our common wealth.

The city we want to live in

Resistance without offering an alternative is limited and frustrating. There are many, many ways of planning, making and maintaining cities that are truly participatory, ecologically sound and socially just. We are particularly inspired by the Urban Commoning movement. The paragraphs below from author David Bollier shares the experience of Bologna in Italy, a tangible example of a contemporary, citizen-centred city. We call on the City of Cape Town to enter into genuine co-creative dialogue with us, not the lip-service games that pass as “public participation”.


How does the Bologna Regulation on public collaboration for urban commons work?
”It starts by regarding the city as a collaborative social ecosystem. Instead of seeing the city simply as an inventory of resources to be administered by politicians and bureaucratic experts, the Bologna Regulation sees the city’s residents as resourceful, imaginative agents in their own right. Citizen initiative and collaboration are regarded as under-leveraged energies that – with suitable government assistance – can be recognized and given space to work. Government is re-imagined as a hosting infrastructure for countless self-organized commons.

To date, the city [of Bologna] and citizens have entered into more than 90 different “pacts of collaboration” – formal contracts between citizen groups and the Bolognese government that outline the scope of specific projects and everyone’s responsibilities. The projects fall into three general categories – living together (collaborative services), growing together (co-ventures) and working together (co-production).”
— From David Bollier, “Bologna, a Laboratory for Urban Commoning”