The Cape Town city council is looking to revitalise two of the central citys landmark open spaces - Greenmarket Square (pictured) and St Georges Mall. File picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The Cape Town city council is looking to revitalise two of the central city’s landmark open spaces - Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall.

It has entered into a research partnership with the Central City Improvement District (CCID) to conduct a range of surveys and studies that will lead to a long-term management plan that can also be used for other public spaces across the metropole.

The city has allocated R1.4 million for the research over two years.

After a memorandum of understanding was signed with the city in March, a host of research was carried out between May and August which included a pedestrian count in St George’s Mall, a survey on the experiences of informal traders and business owners and a landscape assessment of the two spaces’ infrastructural condition.

Originally, Subcouncil 16 proposed the city again hand over management rights of Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall to an operator for five years, but following public consultation has changed tack.

More research, data collection and stakeholder engagement was needed before long-term operating rights could be considered, said city ward councillor Dave Bryant.

So far, a landscape architect has been appointed to determine the current state and physical challenges of the spaces and how they could be improved, based on international best practices.

“Already the pilot is proving to be a new era for the way our organisation works with the city, ultimately for the benefit not only of the CBD, but the entire metropole,” said CCID chief executive Tasso Evangelinos in his annual report, released last night.

The new management project follows years of mismanagement of Greenmarket Square since the late 1990s, when it was leased to private operators.

The city regained control of the square in 2007.

Bryant said a city steering committee was assessing the findings of the pilot phase.

“It is essential that we gauge public opinion on the best way forward before rolling out the new management plan. This is a long-term project, and we are currently at an incubation and exploratory phase,” he said.

The CCID has appointed a project manager to manage the project, while it has also assumed responsibility for the general cleaning, graffiti removal, cigarette-bin maintenance and gardening services in St George’s Mall.

“All of this has made a significant impact on the look and feel of the area and the feedback from stakeholders was extremely positive,” said Evangelinos.

He said the project’s immediate goals were to maximise economic opportunities for formal businesses and informal traders in the area, ensure inclusivity in future development plans, stabilise the existing environment and collate ideas on local and international best practices in the management of public spaces.

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Cape Argus