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We Design 2016 Conference Wrap Up


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Tuesday, 19th July, 2016

National Spatial Revolution Key to Achieving National Democratic Revolution

From the South African Minister of Finance, to the immediate past Minister of Urbanism and Housing for Mexico City, to local business and municipal role-players, the message of We Design 2016 was clear and unanimous… “The capacity of a broad-based economy to take root, grow and flourish is directly related to the kind and quality of the spatial environment.”

Hosted by SAIA KZN (The KwaZulu-Natal Institute of Architecture), the ground-breaking one-day conference marked the first time such a broad range of players and stakeholders in the spatial environment had gathered, with the specific purpose of exploring ways in which the spatial environment could generate radical economic growth across all sectors, all business scales, all population groups and all economic levels, with particular emphasis on those that have always been excluded.

In his opening address, SAIA KZN President, Ruben Reddy said, “We set out a few years ago to re-position our more than 100 year old organisation, as one that looked beyond just us as architects, to one that would join the discussion around socio-economic change.  Our resultant vision of City, Town and Village is a consolidation of the thoughts around density, diversity, connectivity and the promotion of public space as fundamental solutions to our current economic challenges.”

“This SAIA KZN Region would never remain silent in the situation we find ourselves. We have carefully selected speakers who will expose the challenges we face, and at the same time bring with them a vast collection of experiences, representing mainly a common language, but also providing us with differences of opinion and diametrically opposed points of view.”

Speaker after speaker agreed, that only a dense, functionally diverse and integrated, well-connected (particularly for non-motorised and public transport) spatial environment, with proper public space, could achieve the fundamental objectives of our democracy. 

Keynote speaker Minister Pravin Gordhan challenged the delegates to come up with a list of 10 things that Government ‘must do’ in order to enhance the spatial revolution and 10 things that they ‘must stop doing’, in order to advance the spatial revolution.   (See Top 10 List attached).

“Clearly, among the list of things we must stop doing is continuing to build more dormitory suburbs, imposing more burdens on workers and jobseekers and creating social distance between classes of people on the one hand and work opportunities on the other,” he emphasised.

He quoted Franklin D Roosevelt who said in 1937 (post Great Depression)…”The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” 

A National Spatial Revolution is key to achieving the objectives of South Africa’s National Democratic Revolution and South Africa becoming the place we ALL dream of, to fulfill our full collective and individual potentials.

Or in the words of Roosevelt, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

For more information about SAIA KZN, or to join the National Spatial Revolution conversation,  contact Kubash on (031) 201 7590 Or visit


Media Enquiries:        Joanne Hayes, Tumbleweed Communications
Cell: +27 83 6277249  e-mail:


In The News - MEDIA COVERAGE - KZN Top Business  -  11 Jul 2016 - Polity  -  8 Jul 2016  -       No Byline - 031 Business  -  8 Jul 2016  -       Posted Shirley Le Guern - Construction Insight Magazine  -  12 Jul 2016  -       No Byline

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