The 20th Anniversary of Topos brings two special awards for very different projects in planning and design. Both awards were presented at the landscape Biennial in Barcelona, September 29th: The first goes to Per Ritzler from the National Tourist Routes Agency in Oslo; the second went to Christine Kaba and Bridget Impey from the voluntary association Abalimi Bezekhaya (“Farmers of Home”), an urban agriculture and environmental action project.
From the Topos editors:
The Norwegian National Tourist Routes
Recognized in order to highlight the Norway (a state “actively promoting and commissioning architecture on a significant scale”), as well as question whether or not it is responsible to encourage more car-based tourism, Topos covers the project:
“The now relatively well-publicized idea of the Statens Vegvesen (Norwegian National Road Administration) was born 20 years ago: applying to particularly stunning rural routes throughout Norway. All Norwegian regions were invited to submit such routes, 18 of the best were chosen, points of interest along the routes were then identified on which new rest areas and service facilities were to be built, all complete with spectacular views.”
“Artists, architects and landscape architects were invited to participate. The background of the whole scheme was to lure more tourists to remote areas, and it was recognized early on the effectiveness of outstanding architecture as bait. Landscape design, architecture and infrastructure are the key words that resonate with the tourist routes. Almost all the routes and rest stops can only be reached by car or by mountain bike, although increasingly there are more locally organized bus excursions, and tour bus operators are beginning to include the stunning beauty of the tourist routes into their programs.”
In contrast to the previous project, Abalimi is an urban agriculture and environmental association recognized for its work in sustainable food production in farming communities. From the awards:
“Known as the “Eastern Cape on Cape Town’s doorstep”, the Cape Flats townships are populated largely by economic refugees from the previous apartheid homelands of the Ciskei and Transkei. New arrivals into Cape Town are officially estimated to be 1200 per month and unemployment figures are in the region of 30-40%. Abalimi Bezekhaya (Farmers of Home) alleviates poverty and creates self-employment through gardening and micro-farming in the sandy soil of the Cape Flats.”
“Voluntary association Abalimi was founded in 1983. It is an urban agriculture and environmental action association, working to improve sustainable food production and environmental greening amongst the poor in Cape Town. In particular, the project targets women who often represent whole families. “Abalimi” means ‘the farmers’ in Isi-Xhosa, the predominant language of their target community. Abalimi supports individual households and groups to implement their own gardening and micro-farming projects. This includes between approx. 2500 home based vegetable gardens and 70-100 community group projects (school gardens, community allotment gardens, communal gardens) per annum. It runs two non-profit nursery projects in Nyanga and Khayelitsha. Called People’s Garden Centres, they supply free advice, information and subsidized gardening inputs such as trees, groundcovers, soil improvers, seed, seedlings, basic tools, windbreaks and safe pest control remedies.”
Congratulations to two very deserving projects and organizations!
Photography Credits: Robert Schäfer