Harrington square receives mini-upgrade with free wi-fi and public activations

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Harrington Square, a historic and significant public space in District Six, is to offer free Wi-Fi as a project of the Cape Town Partnership, Connected Space, District Six Museum, Charly’s Bakery, Woodheads, and The Bank.
Driven by the utility of free Wi-Fi, Harrington Square will become a more dynamic public space through the installation of new amenities. Together with the wireless offering, this is the first step towards using Harrington Square as a public hub and cultural heart – a use that lifts the square beyond its current functionality as a parking lot.
Harrington Square has seen a number of active citizen initiatives in the past, such as public art installations, and this project is yet another way to get the community to engage in their surroundings.
Household names in Cape Town; Charly’s Bakery, Woodheads and The Bank have combined their energies and ideas, to invest in the space in between their buildings. They’ll be setting up communal benches and pot plants, which will all be designed by members of the public, after a submission and selection process. A tree, bench and armchairs made entirely from recycled tyres and soccer balls in the shape of cupcakes will be a permanent fixture to commemorate Cape Town’s Word Design Capital 2014 designation. The Wi-Fi will be active by 11 October 2013, and work on the installations will commence then too.
Says Jacqui Biess from Charly’s Bakery: “Our aim with this initiative is to get conversations started and to enthuse other businesses and individuals to take action to beautify our city. I wanted to create and be part of a space for people to get inspired, start talking and more importantly start doing! We hope to see the Free WiFi in our area connect people and inspire change.”
Says Steven Harris from The Bank: “In the run up to the launch of World Design Capital in less than a 100 days, it’s extremely encouraging to see businesses, not just from the area but from the broader Cape Town business community, working together on tight deadlines and budgets, in collaboration, to support and activate this activation. The Harrington Square project will potentially have an impact far beyond the borders of the actual physical space.”


Says Cape Town Partnership CEO, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, ‘Cape Town’s public spaces are fast becoming an essential part of Cape Town’s character. Places where people can gather, connect with each other - or virtually with others - and then also reflect on their environment, give meaning to urban life. These initiatives have to come from the communities themselves to work. It could be as simple as adding flower planters, but citizens invested in their spaces are seeing the returns. The take-up of free wireless in the Company’s Gardens has received growing attention OR has encouraged use of this landmark attraction since going live three months ago. Free wireless is a growing trend in the city, and as a hallmark of many international cities, I hope that this connectivity spreads to make us the most information-accessible city in the country.”

 As with the Company’s Garden, Connected Space is the technical sponsor of the free Wi-Fi. Like other zones, users will be directed to a URL where they will log in using their email address. A support line (072 979 5056) will assist those struggling to connect. For each active user, there will be a 100MB cap per person, per day. Additional vouchers can be picked up from the District Six Museum. Signage on the Square will alert visitors to the Wi-Fi zone parameters.
Charly’s Bakery is launching a competition for artists in Cape Town to submit designs with the theme of "My Cape Town", to paint the 16 pots & 4 benches in Harrington Square. Paint will be supplied and winning designs will win a selection of Charly’s products. Design proposals to can be submitted to charlysbakery@gmail.com with the subject line “My Cape Town”. 
Another exciting project which launched this past weekend is a 6 x 2.1 m whiteboard installation by Duraplastic Group. The whiteboard will grow to 36 metres, with a wooden boardwalk in front of it. The purpose of this wall is for the local community as well as visitors to the area to be able to express themselves with Koki pens which will be supplied.
Media are invited to attend the public installations of benches and the recycled tyres in Harrington Square. Please contact Jacqui Biess (082 824 9272) or Steven Harris (082 4453 246) in this regard.

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