With just three weeks to go before Durban welcomes ‘The World Cup of Architects’, UIA2014 Durban to the City, arrangements are moving into top gear. Besides attracting the largest gathering of architects ever held in southern Africa next month, UIA2014 Durban is being used as a launch pad for three City urban regeneration projects, each one focusing on stimulating interest in the built environment sector and focus on Durban’s inner city. These will become visible to eThekwini citizens, over the next few weeks.

In preparation of the build-up of these activations, a number of road closures and diversions will be put in place from now until the end of the Congress.

Dr Pixley Ka Seme Linear Park – Dr Pixley ka Seme Street will be reduced from four lanes to two lanes from 14 July to 10 September. The lane reduction of Pixley ka Seme Street will begin from Stalwart Simelane Street to Mahatma Gandhi Road. This area will become a pedestrian priority zone and motorists are requested to be cautious while driving in this section.

This activation will showcase what is possible with the creation of a high quality, pedestrian-priority public space for people who live and work in the City to relax, exercise and play.

The River Town Precinct – John Milne Road will be closed from 20 July to 15 August from North Lane to Morrison Road. This project provides an opportunity for the regeneration in the inner city. Arts and culture initiatives and exhibitions will be run during the Congress to show the opportunities that exist for bringing investment, sustainability and vibrancy back to the area.

There will also be Pocket Parks in and around the City which aim to bring nature and delight back to the City, providing a place for relaxation, play areas for children and small spaces for activities, events or street cafes, where people can socialise, share laughter and conversation.

Other areas where the general public can be involved, are through the dynamic and exciting Fringe Programme, which will showcase local, national and international talent and take place in a range of ‘Otherwhere’ and City venues and the Trade Expo in the Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC), which promises to offer the latest product developments, technological innovations, and service offerings in the world of architecture and design.