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Cape Town's Name Your Hood initiative

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16 Aug 2013

Name Your Hood, a private sector-led initiative seeking to build stronger communities through interactive public neighbourhood naming campaigns, has launched the next Cape Town “City Bowl” campaign – the naming of Hood 8.

Seth Rotherham, Founder and MD of Name Your Hood, Bruce Good, Vuyisa Qabaka, Managing Director, Abaphumeleli Business Consultants; Dave Bryant, Councillor, Ward 77 (Cape Town City Bowl).

Cape Town’s CBD is known vaguely as ‘town’ but Name Your Hood (NYH) is changing that with the establishment of identities for distinct neighbourhoods, creating a sense of community and providing branding opportunities for the areas. In addition, having neighbourhood names makes navigating a city easier and more legible.

The submission of names for Cape Town’s Hood 8 area, bordered by Roeland, Hatfield and Mill streets, opened on Friday 2 August and closes on Friday 30 August. The campaign was launched at a function hosted at Wembley Square on 1 August.

NYH, which started in 2011, had great success with its Gugulethu campaign, in which 8 neighbourhoods were named through the participation of Capetonians, using a democratic process. Having been awarded a contract by the City of Cape Town in which it facilitated the process of renaming 91 streets in Gugulethu, NYH ran the two campaigns using a similar voting process, which made it the first time that a township had been actively involved in the naming of its streets and neighbourhoods.

The submission of names for Cape Town’s Hood 8 area, bordered by Roeland, Hatfield and Mill streets, opened on Friday 2 August and closes on Friday 30 August. The campaign was launched at a function hosted at Wembley Square on 1 August.

NYH founder and MD Bruce Good says having a role in naming a neighbourhood gives people a sense of ownership of their community. "And strong communities make people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.”

The success of the initiative, which NYH intends to launch in Johannesburg this year, has garnered international recognition as one of five winners of the Global Neighbourhood Challenge. As part of the GOOD Global Citizenship Project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Challenge offered five community innovators worldwide the opportunity to make a difference. As one of the winners, NYH’s Bruce Good will travel to Los Angeles for a pop-up fellowship at GOOD HQ, designed to elevate and expand their work in order to create more equitable and successful neighbourhoods.

While Good is away on the fellowship, citizens – not just those with a direct connection to Hood 8 – as well as anyone in South Africa or the world, will have the opportunity of exploring the neighbourhood and delving into its heritage before submitting a name that endeavours to reflect its character.

To make the process as inclusive as possible, platforms for submitting name suggestions include a website and a mobi site, as well as submission forms and accompanying voting boxes that are distributed throughout Hood 8.

After submissions close, NYH’s panel of judges – made up of local journalists, historians, designers and entrepreneurs – will spend two weeks working through the submissions to come up with a shortlist of 10 names. The final name will be chosen by public vote using physical voting forms, SMS and via The winning name will be announced on 25 October 2013.

In addition to being endorsed by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, has added his support. “The possibility for this project to broaden the tourism spectrum of the Western Cape as well as develop civic pride and ownership is encouraged and endorsed by the Ministry,” he says.

Local businesses are also showing their support, with Digicape, Province Lighting, Leaf Capital, Stor-Age and Food Lover's Market, as well as smaller neighbourhood establishments, coming on board.

“We’re celebrating everything Cape Town has to offer; it's incredible landmarks, rich history and vibrant culture," Good says. They have pulled in local heroes, architects, historians and city planners to create easy-to-navigate city hoods and he says it is now up to everyone to get involved. "Anyone could potentially name one of the neighbourhoods and leave a legacy.”

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