Design, Sept. 20, 2022, 9:49 a.m.

Local design festival focuses on water resilience in cities


The #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL 2022, taking place in Cape Town from 26-27 October 2022, brings into sharp focus the life-sustaining significance of water and the valuable role it has in shaping healthy, equitable and sustainable blue-green cities for all.

With the theme Designing African blue-green cities for all, the Festival will explore the design of innovative processes, systems and products that can lead to a more water-secure future, particularly in an African context.


An initiative of the Mission Network of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa (#cocreateSANL), the annual Design Festival celebrates and examines the power of design to address current socio-economic and environmental challenges within an African context. The festival is organised in collaboration with the Craft and Design Institute (CDI), and in 2022 has been curated in partnership with the University of Cape Town’s Future Water Institute, the City of Cape Town and the Institute of Landscape Architects. 


This two-day festival will gather academics, policymakers, government officials, water engineers, professionals, civil society members and creative thinkers from the water sector to discuss, engage, learn, and spark new ideas. By fostering collaboration, enhancing innovation, and promoting creative thinking, the festival aims to break down professional silos. The 2022 festival will be a hybrid event, taking place in person at the Youngblood art gallery in Bree Street, with a free live stream also available.



“The future of our planet’s natural ecosystem has never been more dependent on the design of better solutions by our human ecosystem of policy-makers, government officials, water engineers and practitioners, the private sector and civil society. In South Africa, the challenges are made so much more complex by the need to address unequal access, and the state of our infrastructure,” said Erica Elk, CEO of CDI.



Hélène Rekkers, Consul General of the Netherlands in Cape Town, added that the timing of this year’s theme responds to critical challenges presented by climate change.


“How do we prepare ourselves for the future as the effects of climate change hit us harder? We need constant focus on continuing discussions about climate change to address its challenges – this requires innovation. Innovation is not only technological; it needs a wholistic approach that includes social innovation, governance and financial changes.”


According to Kirsty Carden, interim Director of the Future Water research institute at the University of Cape Town, co-created and transdisciplinary approaches that include City of Cape Town officials, local residents, academia and other stakeholders will be required if we are to achieve the vision of a Water Sensitive City by 2040.


“And we need a water-aware public who are inspired by blue-green city designs that showcase sustainability, liveability, resilience and productivity.”


Entries open to the #cocreate Blue-Green Cities Design Awards


As part of the #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL 2022, the #cocreate Blue-Green Cities Design Awards have been conceptualised to celebrate inspirational initiatives that represent best practice in terms of water-sensitive design and the transition to water-sensitive cities in South Africa, particularly as it relates to water quality.


Entries are open to projects with a strong design element with water as its principal focus. All entries should also comment on any innovations that improve water quality – for example, by dealing with diffuse pollution sources. Entries close 5 October 2022.


For more on the #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL 2022 programme and booking a seat (free), go to
Enter the #cocreate Blue-Green Cities Design Awards –