Noordgesig and Orlando East, in Soweto, have been selected under the Nine Urban Biotopes (9UB) as a success story by the European Commission.

In 2014, Planact and seven exchange students from Germany undertook a task to help curb dumping, to identify heritage sites while creating a tourism route and to close the gap between Noordgesig and Orlando East.

In Orlando East, Ubuntu Park was developed and in Noordgesig a food garden in Noordgesig Primary School was started. These initiatives has been recognised by the European Commission as a success story based on quality, relevance and results of the project internationally. Success stories are finalised projects that have distinguished themselves by their impact, contribution to policy-making, innovative results and/or creative approach and can be a source of inspiration for others.

Ubuntu Park in Orlando East
Part of the developments in Noordgesig.

Through the urban biotopes initiative, we wanted close the artificial divide in Orlando East and Noordgesig communities which fall within one Ward but are separated by the Soweto Highway. The acknowledgement of this work is fulfilling because our communities are now internationally recognised. Without all partnerships in this project, it would not have been successful,” said Mike Makwela, Planact’s Senior Programme Coordinator.

Since 2007, Planact has been involved in supporting participatory governance initiatives in Orlando East and Noordgesig and the intervention here was to promote meaningful public participation in government processes and to close the social and racial gap between these two communities.

Nine Urban Biotopes – Negotiating the future of urban living (9UB) was an international, socially engaged art project delivering artistic research and cultural exchange. It did this both within and among social citizen and art initiatives in cities in South Africa and Europe in 2014.