In collaboration with the Consulate General in Cape Town and the INTI (International New Town Institute), Rashiq Fataar from South Africa was invited to the Netherlands to expand his network and gain new ideas and knowledge. From 15 to 20 September 2014 this young 'change maker' therefore visited architecture offices such as MVRDV, OMA and ZUS, schools such as the Berlage Center and the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture, and various cultural funds.

This year Rashiq Fataar worked as a co-programmer on the Department of Design event (the Dutch contribution to World Design Capital Cape Town 2014) and he contributed as an advisor to the INTI project Density Syndicate in Cape Town.

About Rashiq Fataar

Rashiq Fataar is the founder and director of Our Future Cities (OFC), an independent non profit organisation that houses the platform Future Cape Town and, more recently, Future Johannesburg, Future Lagos and Future London. The OFC network is committed to building a democracy around the future of cities. As an independent consultant, speaker and writer, Rashiq works at the intersection of urbanism, new media and economics. He holds an Actuarial Science from the University of Cape Town and currently serves on the Board of Cape Town Tourism. See also www.rashiqfataar.com

Rashiq Fataar about his visit

Q: What is the aim of your visit to The Netherlands?
A: My aim of this visit is multiple, but my particular aim is to learn how to build Future Cape Town in the next few years as an institution, and to be exposed to the innovative approaches of different organisations. Ultimately this may be in the form of building last collaborations and partnerships with experienced, and established Dutch organisations and person in the urbanism sphere.

Q: What is your view on current Dutch urban development and architecture. What insight do you bring back?
A: Design in all its forms is respected in Dutch society, and is embedded in urban development and architecture. The way in which research by design , while a newer approach, has openly tackled challenges is something I hope to bring back. In South Africa we should begin by building a larger understanding of the need for design in improving our cities and communities, and research by design has the opportunity to build greater awareness of the role all parts of society can play and inspire people about the future of their city.

Q: What can you say about state of urban development in your country at this moment, are their differences, similarities with Dutch urban development?
A: I think South Africa has learnt from the first two decades of democracy and has made significant inroads to provide basic services and infrastructure to those excluded for decades by apartheid. However, South African cities remain fragmented, disjointed and unequal and a major shift in how a city is planned and developed will need to be implemented in the coming decade. The Dutch urban development has shown many innovative ways that government can begin to achieve its goal with different parts of society, working collaboratively to tackle urban development challenges e.g. the relation between IABR and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, such that tackling challenges uses design in a genuine way.

We know that cities are the future and that people have a key role to play, and it will ultimately be strength of collaborations and shared knowledge that will jointly building better cities in South Africa and the Netherlands. We now have to go beyond borders and work together to understand the needs of different cities in a cooperative rather than a competitive way.

Q: Any specific projects, buildings or people who you have encountered during your visit to the Netherlands that made a lasting impression on you and why?
A: I was inspired by all of my meetings with people and organisations thus far, in terms of their approach to design, their processes and how their institution relates to each other parts and sectors of society. Pakhuis de Zwigjer resonated with the way Future Cape Town hopes to work in future, and their ability to use different platforms, techniques and approach to broader the dialogue about city development. I have always been a fan of OMA/AMO, and I am inspired by their range of work around the world, and specifically how AMO have worked on master plans for different cities with different issues. In terms of my work own work, meeting ZUS and learning about their approach to urbanism, and placemaking was inspirational useful to begin to apply in Cape Town.

Q: What would you like to achieve in five years and how can this visit contribute?
A: Over 5 years we are aiming to build a more sustainable organisation, which can play a more pro-active and strategic role in the urban development of Cape Town and other cities, expanding opportunities for citizens to become a part of the process to improve the future of their city.