As the managing director of The City and Designing South Africa, Zahira creates events, publications and workshops on how design can help bring about social change
Keep track of your expenses with this virtual accountant. Search for the cheapest ights around the world, comparing airlines, dates and cities. Sync and share an itinerary from Gmail with your hotel and car rental bookings. Get real-time ight information and nd your nearest Wi-Fi spot at the airport. What I love about my work is seeing the opportunities for engagement and improvement in our cities. Design should enable people to live better lives. When it comes to my vision for South Africa, I’m interested in passion-driven city-making, and nurturing the forces that are responsible for this development. Cities can be made by a diverse mix of role players who use innovative ideas and sustainable engineering to create better urban spaces. Currently, we have a tender-based system that kills creativity. It’s also more susceptible to corruption. In the system I wish to create for city-making in South Africa, professionals would need to dream big, develop ideas and form interdisciplinary teams – so they don’t just create spaces but thriving neighbourhoods, and not just buildings but ecosystems. The place-making project at Johannesburg Park Station started as an idea. I’ve been a migrant in many cities around the world and know what it feels like to arrive in a big city and be bewildered. I imagined marking my arrival in Johannesburg with a statement of design, architecture and art a place to stop, re ect, or meet a friend. We began setting up a local team and I looked for the funds to match government contributions. Renowned global architect David Adjaye, with whom I’d worked on his exhibition Urban Africa, came on board as the lead architect. As a result of this project, I’ve been selected to participate in the 2016 International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam. Possibly my greatest success has been adhering to my own moral code even when times were extremely tough and an easier path presented itself.