Keeping a city centre clean and safe, and caring for its most vulnerable citizens, is a mammoth task. The Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) is one among many other organisations who carry out this mandate while we’re sleeping, working or playing. But maintaining a healthy urban environment also requires the participation and cooperation of everyone who lives, works in and visits the city every day.
Sometimes a city’s citizens need to be reminded of their own role in maintaining a clean, safe and caring urban environment. Design is an important catalyst in shifting perceptions and changing behaviours. For the past few years we have been working with CCID in conceptualising and designing innovative campaigns to help encourage people to change their behaviour on the streets of our city.
The Keep It Clean campaign comprises a series of creative in-situ messaging and public activations that highlight the effects of littering, and remind people of the impact of illegal dumping in the CBD. Here, offenders are named and shamed by striking ‘thumbs down’ devices placed in areas where people have dumped their garbage illegally.
FAST FACT: the CCID’s cleaning teams remove hundreds of kilos of cigarette butts from the CBD each year – 1 722kg in 2016 alone!
The campaign uses colloquial language on posters, and thought-provoking statistics in on-street activations to emphasise the scale of littering and dumping that CCID operatives clear from the streets every day.
In March 2017, for example, the organisation reported that its urban management teams had cleared 807 graffiti tags, 8 074 drains and 370kg of cigarette butts over the previous three-month period.
One of the more successful elements of the campaign was the ‘have your say’ cigarette bins. Located in high-traffic areas of the CBD, and inspired by the Trash Talk campaign in Manchester, UK, the bins posed a cheeky question to smokers who would ‘vote’ with their butt. In this example, the bins asked ‘are you a belieber?’, on the day of the Justin Bieber concert. Turns out that the city’s smokers are non-beliebers.
Another activation gathered over 2 000 kgs of street refuse and displayed it in a prominent location in Bree Street.
While it’s not easy to change people’s behaviour, the urban management teams began to report a reduction in litter and cigarette debris on the streets.
"This is turning out to be a great activation. One of the guys who was handing out the pouches very proudly told me that a J&M cleaner had come past and commented on how many less ciggie butts were lying on the ground, compared to a usual day."
Show you care
At last count, around 700 people live on the streets in the Cape Town CBD. Homelessness isn’t a choice for many of those people. But the city’s citizens do have a choice of ways to help them. Capetonians and city visitors are generous in their care and help for others. It’s easy to give money to people on the street. However, this isn’t the most sustainable way of improving lives. The CCID’s #showyoucare campaign is designed to offer alternative ways of giving.
If you’re reading this, we urge you to donate and help the homeless.
Donations can be made in various ways. Funds raised are shared among the CCID’s partner NGOs dedicated to give the homeless a hand up off the street. *SMS “Give” to 38088 to donate R10. An average of R8 goes to the NGOs, depending on your service provider. Visit www.giveresponsibly.co.za for EFT banking details and more information.
Thank you to the CCID teams, and its partners, for keeping our city clean and safe, and for caring for the most vulnerable citizens.
We are honoured to make our own contribution to making the Mother City a prime location to work, play and live.