Yehuda Raff is an urbanist with one eye on how our cities could be made to function better and the other eye on what it means to make space more human.
For Yehuda, life is very much about the balance between personal development and growth – what some might call ‘inner work’ – and the need to constantly increase the quality and level of professionalism so that the outer work he does contributes meaningfully to society at large and creates positive change in the world he inhabits. The biggest advantage Yehuda has in this quest for a balance between the inner and outer selves is the fact that he lives in a remarkable, nature abundant city and that his job requires that he contribute to that city in a creative way. Having grown up in a frum family, Torah remains an important yardstick by which Yehuda engages with his world, but it is his exposure to other cultures and practices that give him a little more breadth; requiring him to meet people and situations as they are. Yehuda’s strongest qualities are possibly his simultaneous acceptance of people and self-assured rootedness in his own ancestry. He has recently started a company called The Open Agency (TOA), which focussed on value creation through leveraging networks. The primary areas of work for TOA is in business start up support and finance in South Africa in general, urbanism in Cape Town specifically, and most recently, a very exciting digital art project.