Digital Dash: The Young Planners & Designers Essay Competition 2020

In 2020 the South African Cities Network (SACN) held the 2nd biennial Young Planners and Designers Competition. It called on youth aged 18 to 35, to share their visions for the future of South African cities. SACN invited scholars, architects and professionals in planning, design and development fields to share insights on how to create sustainable and more inclusive cities of the future through written essays, photo essays, posters and 3-D models.


The entries are an excellent exploration of how urban planners and city strategies can adapt to the rapidly changing world while managing the effects of the past and existing challenges. Through articles synthesising the top nine entries of the Young Planners and Designers Competition 2020, this #DigitalDash profiles what change and new possibilities could bloom for South African cities through youth; who represent a significant proportion of urban residents but are often excluded from participating, while they have significant ideas and contributions to make.


The competition initiative is part of SACN’s Inclusion and Wellbeing programme, which aims to support the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) regarding active citizenship and supporting local governments in their mandate to govern in inclusive ways and to deepen participatory democracy.


This #DigitalDash is SACN’s contribution to providing platforms for the youth of South Africa’s cities and towns to exercise their voice and actively contribute in solving challenges around realising more inclusive, integrated cities that enable sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing.