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One City’s Award-winning Approach

In Cape Town South Africa, a remarkable Green Map project is underway. Led by the City’s Sustainable Resource Specialist, Arne Purves, and his design partner, Philip Todres of A & C Maps, this three year old project is soon to publish the fourth edition of the Cape Town Green Map. Wanting to share more about their successful approach with other municipalities, we interviewed them in June, 2012.

Green Map: Why are you making both printed and interactive Green Maps?

Cape Town: To reach different and wider audiences.

The print map is aimed at reaching locals but also visitors to Cape Town and surrounds, highlighting its unique location and biodiversity, while also promoting responsible tourism. The distribution to locals is directed through libraries, nature reserves, schools and events. Availability at Visitor Information Centres, which includes Cape Town International Airport, targets the tourists.

The print map emphasizes that it is a snapshot and to get the full, updated picture the user should visit People who are familiar with the website know the ‘brand’ and are also more likely to pick up a copy of the print map from a brochure rack. The print map and website reinforce each other very effectively.

Green Map: What are some surprising outcomes or connections?

Cape Town: The interest in green as a lifestyle choice rather than as a nice-to-have but alternative option. For example:

  • a significant percentage of visitors to the site look for information on waste and recycling.
  • the increasing number of visitors and the time spent by each on the site.
  • the international exposure that our map has received has been very surprising.

Green Map: What advice would you give other city agencies thinking about starting their own Green Map project?

Cape Town: Aligning your city with Open Green Map immediately positions you within a strong family of environmentally concerned and responsible cities.

The site should reflect that commitment by not only locating what you have to offer, but by engaging with the community about issues, events and news of interest and concern.

Good design is a key component and the Cape Town Green Map is proud to be associated with Cape Town’s successful bid to be designated the World Design Capital 2014.

Projects like this require dedicated project teams or at least a dedicated project leader to ensure that the map is current and informative.

Be strategic in how and who you approach to support/fund your project. Make it relevant by focusing on the issues of the day. In Cape Town we have focused heavily on Biodiversity, Waste & Recycling and Transport.

Capitalize on big events that may be happening in your City. These are often opportunities to get support and funding. The Cape Town Green Map project’s impetus came out of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup™ that was hosted in South Africa. Host City Cape Town had a dedicated Green Goal programme as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability for hosting the event.

Since then we have capitalized on the COP17 Conference (through the Climate Smart Cape Town Campaign) and the World Design Capital Bid 2014.

These interventions have kept the Green Map relevant and ensures that we reach different sectors and communicate a wide variety of information that is created by our partners (and not us).

Thank you for this informative interview!

Arne (Arne.Purves [at] and Philip (Philip [at] included links to their City’s Green Goal and Climate Smart programs. Visit, or on Green Map's website, you can explore their Profile, their blogs and interactive Open Green Map.