Cape Town Project Centre Context

The Cape Town Project Centre focuses on sustainable socio-economic development. The Green Rooftop project demonstrates these Project Centre ideals in a unique manner. Green rooftops convert dead space into gardens for food production and an aesthetically pleasing communal environment. In addition to produce production and city greening, there is a climate improvement associated with green roof installation.

Vegetative roof implementation can also lead to increased economic development. In applications involving produce production, garden maintenance may lead to job creation if training is successful and strong markets and relationships can be developed. From a Cape Town Project Centre perspective, economic development is critical for a sustainable livelihood. Initiating and encouraging interaction between producers and consumers will provide an opportunity for a direct relationship to develop, a necessary component of a sustainable business model.

In the past, the Cape Town Project Centre has fostered positive social development in communities. The Cape Town project groups strive to increase the overall communication and networking of citizens with appropriate agencies for improvement in the community. Through this process, jobs will be created to ensure the maintenance and profitability of the gardens. A sustainable and practical plan will need to be developed to maintain this new economic avenue.

Past Project

“Sustainable Livelihoods through Beekeeping” was a project completed by students of the Cape Town Project Centre last year. This group worked with beekeepers to establish a cooperative and develop their entrepreneur skill set.  They served as a support system for the beekeepers and guided them through the registration and development of the cooperative. The rooftop gardening team was able to utilize the research and expertise from the project. Entrepreneurship and training, though not based in urban agriculture, were critical components of this project. The main issues that the beekeeping group communicated were confidence and transportation issues for the low income workers. Through background research, these challenges were investigated. The beekeeping group’s advice is to use the workers’ story for marketing. This project team will need to market the produce well and give people another reason to buy it since it will most likely be more expensive than other options (Cadwallader et al, 2012).

Shared Action Learning

The “Shared Action Learning” (SAL) is a new way of looking at how to perform an Interactive Qualifying Project.  It will allow the team to apply background research and traditional learning styles to a completely new environment full of unforeseen obstacles.  SAL is a hands-on approach that will allow the project team to accomplish the project goals effectively.   SAL stresses the importance of engaging in partnerships in order to motivate sustainable community development.  It is important to engage in these partnerships with sponsors and co-researches in Cape Town, however, it is also important to develop strong partnerships amongst the group to solidify a foundation to work off of.  Shared Action Learning is a step by step process that incorporates the human and social aspects of research rather than just typical technical research.

Connecting and understanding the context of the people the team is working with is the first step of SAL.  Understanding the background and context of the sponsors and co-researchers will be difficult, so it is essential that the project team do extensive background research in order to be as prepared as possible for initial meetings with these people. Stephan Lamb of Touching the Earth Lightly is one of the main stakeholders, so it is critical that the project team understands his background to better understand his vision.  There is also a strong chance that the project team will be working with low income co-researchers. The team will need to learn about their cultural context as well as the implications of social status. Developing a strong relationship with stakeholders is crucial to the success of this project. It is important that the project satisfies the goals and expectations of the sponsors.  Good communication and regular reporting of progress will ensure that this will happen.

Planning can be looked at on a small and large scale.  The team must have an overall plan for the execution of the project, but also establish smaller plans to ensure that the end goal is reached.  The current methodology is mainly focused on the social development aspect of the project, but a more technical plan has also been created in case the project goes in that direction. Through extensive research, the team was able to gain knowledge on numerous different aspects of the project. This will allow for flexibility and knowledge needed to make informed decisions.

Putting the plan into action will be the next step.  Inclusion of different plans will allow the team to evaluate different options and decide which route is best to take. Referring back to the initial plan regularly will insure that the project is headed in the right direction. This will allow the team to revise the plans through action and reaction.  The project team must be prepared for resistance to proposed ideas.  With SAL, resistance can be embraced since it allows the solution to adapt as the project progresses. Initial plans have been established for action during the first week on-site.  Initially, time will be spent getting to know the stakeholders and their visions for the project as well as starting training sessions.  Initial marketing routes will also be established.

Observing is the hardest part of the SAL system.  When proposing ideas to sponsors, advisors, and co-researchers, the team must pay attention the group’s responses, body language and actions.  Understanding responses can be challenging because they are not always verbal. Observing the various responses will allow the team to make sure each stakeholder is satisfied and push the project to its fullest potential.

As the team goes through each of the above steps it is important to reflect, share, and learn.  This will allow the team to maintain to same plan and train of thought.  It is essential to stay united, especially when presenting ideas to others. Since there will be various opinions and feedback, the team will need to reflect on accomplishments and establish what appropriate next steps. Reporting actions, accomplishments, and revisions will allow for communication of project progress to others.

Back to Preparation Phase

Back to the Homepage