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The Cities This Week: Edition 55




The exterior of Cape Town's Zeitz MOCCA development, as designed by Heatherwick Studio

The exterior of Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCCA development, as designed by Heatherwick Studio

KUNMING

On Saturday, a team of knife-wielding terrorists killed 29 people and wounded 130 others at a train station in the southwest Chinese city Kunming. Since then, officials have amped up security around the city’s public transit hubs. Witnesses report that men and women dressed in black with cloth masks attacked passengers and employees at random with knives, meat cleavers, and swords. According to state media, there are eight suspected attackers. Four of them were shot dead by police at the scene; three others, according to Xinhua, have been caught. No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but evidence suggests it was conducted by Xinjiang separatists.” – Atlantic Cities

MOSCOW

“Russia’s military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until dawn on Tuesday to surrender or face an assault, Ukrainian defence sources have said. The head of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Aleksander Vitko set the deadline and also threatened two warships, Ukrainian officials said. However, Interfax news agency later quoted a fleet spokesman who denied that any ultimatum had been issued. Moscow has said its troops are needed in Crimea to protect civilians. The Kremlin says people in Crimea have come under threat from “ultra-nationalists” since pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last month. Russia is now said to be in de facto control of the Crimea region. Ukraine has ordered full mobilisation to counter the intervention.” – BBC News

CARACAS

“Venezuelans have again taken to the streets of Caracas. The latest round of protests has called for the release of dozens of activists who have been arrested during three weeks of violent demonstrations. On Saturday, protesters formed a convoy in eastern Caracas after Friday saw battles between security forces and demonstrators. President Nicolas Maduro has labeled the near month of protests a US-backed “coup” attempt. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner also denounced the “attempted soft coup against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” On Saturday, she told the Argentine parliament that, though she would not defend Maduro or his government, it was necessary to stand by the democratic system “in every country of the region, whether from the left, the right or from behind.” She added that “democracy is a matter of peace and life.”” – Deutsche Welle

LAGOS

The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Thursday, dismissed a suit by some residents of Badagry, seeking a N100 billion compensation for the 1500 houses demolished in the area. Justice Ibrahim Buba cited lack of jurisdiction for the dismissal. Counsel to the applicant, Mr Declan Nkemdilim, had asked the court to declare that the fundamental human rights of the Badagry residents were trampled upon by the police. Nkemdilim said the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to entertain the matter and supported his argument with a 2004 Supreme Court decision, in the case of Grace Jack vs University of Agriculture Gongola. However, counsel to the respondents, Mr Hameed Oyenuga, Mr Chukwu Agwu and Mr J Oloruntoba, opposed the jurisdiction of the court. Oyenuga, in his submision, said the applicants raised the issue of ownership of the land, thereby faulting the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine the matter.” – Nigerian Tribune

LONDON

“Hundreds of British-based Ukrainians gathered outside the Russian Embassy in London today to protest against the build-up of troops in the Crimea region. The demonstrators chanted and held banners demanding “Hands off Ukraine”. Many of them waved placards accusing president Vladimir Putin of being the “Russian aggressor” and they sang: “Putin is a murderer” and “stop the occupation”. The protest was non-violent and the demonstrators remained behind metal barriers on the opposite side of the road from the embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens, west London. Many cars sounded their horns in support as they drove past the 400-strong crowd.” – Evening Standard

CAPE TOWN

“London-based Heatherwick Studio has revealed its designs for Zeitz MOCAA at the V&A Waterfront. Zeitz MOCAA will have 80 galleries, 18 education areas, a rooftop sculpture garden, a state of the art storage and conservation area, and Centres for Performative Practice, the Moving Image, Curatorial Excellence and Education. Heatherwick Studios have designed all the necessary amenities for a public institution of this scale including  bookstores, a restaurant and bar, coffee shop, orientation rooms, a donors’ room, fellows’ room and various reading rooms.. Thomas Heatherwick said: “How do you turn forty-two vertical concrete tubes into a place to experience contemporary culture? Our thoughts wrestled with the extraordinary physical facts of the building. There is no large open space within the densely packed tubes and it is not possible to experience these volumes from inside. Rather than strip out the evidence of the building’s industrial heritage, we wanted to find a way to enjoy and celebrate it. We could either fight a building made of concrete tubes or enjoy its tube-iness”. – Future Cape Town

JOHANNESBURG

“To tag or not to tag, that is the question. Sanral and Outa are locked in a numbers war, and in the middle are Gauteng motorists wondering which way to turn: capitulate and buy an e-tag so they can use e-tolls at a discounted rate, or hold out – at the risk of expensive bills or possible prosecution – in the hope that the e-toll system will crash? According to Sanral, ever-more motorists are “seeing the light” and registering for e-tags. It claimed on the weekend that between 30 000 and 45 000 people were registering on Sanral’s system each week and the total number of tagged motorists had risen to over 1.2 million. Outa, for its part, rubbished these claims and cited it as just another desperate attempt by Sanral to try and save a hugely unpopular system that’s bound to fail.” – IOL

COPENHAGEN

“The city of Copenhagen should be growing its own weed, said its mayor last week. According to Social Democrat Frank Jensen, the Danish capital can only get a grip on its huge trade in Cannabis if the state itself muscles in and displaces the pushers. Aware that a municipal government peddling its own grass might sound a little crunchy, Jensen is emphasizing the proposal’s seriousness. “This isn’t a hippie proposal,” he told newspaper Berlingske. “It’s being discussed by people in suits and ties.” If the suits alone aren’t enough to persuade you, this is how it would work. The municipality of Copenhagen would supervise the growing of marijuana and then sell it at a market-busting price, from five or six outlets across the city. Modeled on pharmacies rather than cafés, the dispensaries would sell a maximum amount of 5 grams at a time, and only to people over 18 who possess Danish health insurance cards.” – Atlantic Cities (See Future Cape Town’s interview with Mayor Jensen here)

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Melissa Meyer

Future Cape Town London-based correspondent

Urbanist-in-training from Cape Town, currently working in London. MSc City Design & Social Science.

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