Global Street Design Guide

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Global Street Design Guide

Case Study 2: Khayelitsha; Cape Town, South Africa

Location: Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa
Population: 0.4 million
Metro: 3.7 million
Context: Low-Income Settlement (formal and informal)
Right-of-way: Various
Area: 28,000 m²
Cost: 20 million ZAR (1.45 million USD) Includes safe walkways, lighting, urban park, active box
Funding: German Development Bank(KfW)
Max. Speed: N/A


The project is part of the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) program, which aims to address four types of exclusion (economic, cultural, social, and institutional) in low-income settlements in an effort to prevent crime.

The project was one of the first VPUU Safe Node Areas that responded to local residents’ needs to overcome high levels of crime along a primary pedestrian route, a shortcut connecting the informal settlement of Monwabisi to the local train station and schools.


The project aimed to create a series of landmark nodes with safe connectivity.

The pedestrian link connected an urban park that was previously identified by community members as one of the most unsafe areas of the neighborhood.

The Khayelitsha area now enjoys a dynamic urban park, a safe pedestrian walkway, and a public square with a series of public amenities and active boxes.

Map of the Khayelitsha area


  • Provide a clear definition between public and private spaces.
  • Provide places for play and relaxation.
  • Create a safe, well-lit, and easily surveyed pedestrian route.
  • Employ sustainable landscape practices.
  • Use easy-to-maintain, durable materials and designs.

Lessons Learned

Through participatory design and development with local leadership and the relevant municipal departments, the professional  team was able to transform a high-crime area into a sustainable, multifunctional public space.

Keys to Success

Community participation in the design and implementation phases in Khayelitsha facilitated the development of designs for various components of the spaces. This enabled community participation, skills transfer, and ongoing work opportunities in the  maintenance of the public spaces.

Local pride, involvement, and stewardship have been fundamental in reducing vandalism and urban violence, transforming the use and perception of the space.

Residents volunteered as security groups and participated in maintenance efforts. Many activities take place today in the new public space, which increases the eyes on the street and supports a sense of safety.


Public Agencies
City of Cape Town, South African National Treasury, Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, German Development Bank (KfW)

Citizen Associations and Nonprofits
The community of Khayelitsha, Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF), VPUU NPC, Grassroots Soccer, Mosaic

Designers and Engineers
AHT Group AG/SUN Development Team, Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects (TKLA), Jonker & Barnes Architects, Naylor Naylor Van Schalwyk, Talani, N2 Construction, and Ross Engineering

Key Elements

High-quality, long-lasting materials that are locally available.

Tree planting.

Porous surfaces.

High-quality lighting.


Project Timeline

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Case Study 3: Streets of Korogocho; Nairobi, Kenya

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Case Study 3: Streets of Korogocho; Nairobi, Kenya