INNER CITY INFORMALITY

Below is a brief excerpt from each of the projects in this category. Click on the links or image to see the full project panel details and illustrations.

Brook Street Market

Exhibitor: Architects Collaborative cc

The project illustrates the phased development of an urban scale, roofed informal economy trading “mall” that was initiated as a joint venture with the Local Authority, through iTRUMP. The approach was by the Badsha Peer Mazaar Society, who proposed the erection of a permanent roof structure over the portion of Brook Street Central adjacent to their Saint’s Mazaar [shrine] for the dual use of their veneration ceremonies and the daily informal trade already existent in the same space. The initial project has subsequently extended to eight, almost annual, development phases where the roof has been extended to now shelter the entire length of Brook Street Central [approximately 200 m] to which traders’ specific infrastructure has been added. The Project concept has evolved interactively from phase to phase, so is also demonstrative of the attributes of an area based presence in translating daily observation into responsive design and ultimately, infrastructure. The area based presence has also contributed to the maintenance of a strong vision which is necessary to “carry” phased development.

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Ekhaya Neighbourhood Project & Upgrades of Existing Buildings

Exhibitor: Savage + Dodd Architects

In 2002, Savage+Dodd Architects undertook a first upgrade of a so-called 'bad building' in Hillbrow for the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC). Our involvement architecturally was quite limited. Bad buildings are those which have become degraded through lack of maintenance and service provision over years, most have absentee landlords and have been hijacked or been invaded by illegal tenants. Since then we have undertaken many projects of this nature and our involvement has become more intense.

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Inner City Movement Framework

Exhibitor: Monica Albonico and Lone Poulsen

The city is an amalgamation of complex layers of people, trade, movement, ever changing requirements and functions, the formal and the informal. All these layers are overlapped and entangled, making them, at times, indistinguishable from one another.

At the core of the city are its networks. These complex connections are played out on the canvas of the modernist city grid, structuring sets of relations, defining the activities and interactions between the formal and informal and shaping the "ordinary", everyday contested spaces.

READ MORE...

Jeppe: The Chaos Precinct

Exhibitor: Dr Tanya Zack and Robyn Arnot

Urbanisls who have encountered the area of the city centre roughly bounded by Van Weilligh, Pritchard, Troye and Bree Streets have coined various names for it: The Ethiopian Quarter, Little Ethiopia and Little Addis references 'otherness' and emphasises the association of the area with an 'away' place - an exolicising of our city. Bul no formal planning framework addresses this area's land use as distinctive in the central business district. In fact municipal officials speak informally of the area as the CHAOS PRECINCT.

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Recycle Change

Exhibitor: Tanya Zack/ Sarah Charlton/ Bronwyn Kotzen

Nobody wonders where each day they carry their load of refuse, outside the city surely: but each year the city expands...The bulk of the outflow increases and the piles rise higher, become stratified, extend over a wider perimeter.

The label 'homeless' is often applied in a largely undifferentiated manner 10 a wide spectrum of living circumstances. These conditions are often assumed to result from particular personal and most often, economic circumstances. The limitations of this conflation of living conditions with personal circumstances are shown in the lives of informal recyclers in Johannesburg.

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Warwick Bridge

Exhibitor: designworkshop : sa

By 1996, when the project was commissioned, the main Railway Station had long been moved from the center of the City to the Warwick Triangle area at it’s western edge. Black commuters were the primary commuter rail users and, under apartheid, the motivation was to remove them from the city.

The consequence was that the area around the station rapidly became a hub of commercial activity, primarily
trading from the city sidewalks, public open spaces, and any other viable location where there was opportunity to do so. Trading was unstructured and unregulated and rapid growth put infrastructural services under pressure for which they were not designed.

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Brook Street Market, Durban

BROOK STREET MARKET, DURBAN

Area based contribution towards managing the informal economy for iTRUMP (inner Thekwini Regeneration and Urban Management Programme), eThekwini Municipality Durban 2001-2010

Project Architects: Architects Collaborative cc
Narrative: Richard Dobson, Asiye eTafuleni

BACKGROUND The project illustrates the phased development of an urban scale, roofed informal economy trading “mall” that was initiated as a joint venture with the Local Authority, through iTRUMP. The approach was by the Badsha Peer Mazaar Society, who proposed the erection of a permanent roof structure over the portion of Brook Street Central adjacent to their Saint’s Mazaar [shrine] for the dual use of their veneration ceremonies and the daily informal trade already existent in the same space. The initial project has subsequently extended to eight, almost annual, development phases where the roof has been extended to now shelter the entire length of Brook Street Central [approximately 200 m] to which traders’ specific infrastructure has been added. The Project concept has evolved interactively from phase to phase, so is also demonstrative of the attributes of an area based presence in translating daily observation into responsive design and ultimately, infrastructure. The area based presence has also contributed to the maintenance of a strong vision which is necessary to “carry” phased development.

LOCATION The Project is located in Brook Street Central, directly between the West Street Cemetery and the eastern edge of the Berea Station. The area is a melting pot of cultural history: The cemetery is the oldest in Durban [opened in 1850] and contains Christian, Muslim and Jewish graves. The Muslim section is currently the most actively used. The Berea Station was relocated in the apartheid era and was conceived as a segregated facility ie. with racially exclusive platforms and dedicated circulation routes. The construction of the new Station deliberately managed the access of Black people into the inner city, as it was the only elevated crossing over the rail corridor connecting the inner city with metro wide public transport routes. This reinforced the circulatory significance of Brook Street as the pedestrian distribution point into the inner city districts. The presence of informal traders was a consequence of this heavy pedestrian traffic. Periodically, Muslim funeral processions pass through the area en route from the Grey Street Mosque to the cemetery.

INTERVENTION In its infancy the Project represented a unique joint venture between the Local Authority [iTRUMP] and the Badsha Peeer Mazaar Society, supporting a long standing cultural and religious practice. The Mazaar Society’s approach to iTRUMP gave credence to the possibility of extending the roof along the full extent of Brook Street Central. Although there was no initial financial commitment from either party to fund any subsequent phases [beyond the Society’s first phase] the architectural concept and urban scale anticipated this possibility, hence the now appropriate architectural expression and the functioning of the space as an informal economy trading “mall”. Equally, the urban space and roof has facilitated the unconstrained expansion of the Badsha Peer veneration and provides responsive accommodation for the celebration’s programme.

PROCESS Until the Society’s formal approach to iTRUMP with the proposal to roof a portion of Brook Street
Central, the interaction between the Society and the informal traders’ street committee was based on customary understandings and public spirited co-operation. As the veneration function expanded, along with the density of trading, this interaction became harder to manage and progressively the ITSBO [Informal trade and Small Business Opportunity] area manager was approached to assist with the Society / trader preparatory arrangements. A form of social, economic and spatial threshold had been reached

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ARCHITECTS COLLABORATIVE cc

Brook Street Market, Durban (Panel 2)



BROOK STREET MARKET, DURBAN

Area based contribution towards managing the informal economy for iTRUMP (inner Thekwini Regeneration and Urban Management Programme), eThekwini Municipality Durban 2001-2010

Project Architects: Architects Collaborative cc
Narrative: Richard Dobson, Asiye eTafuleni

LEARNING

Receptivity to Stakeholders’ Ideas. The evolution of the Brook Street Central Market was undoubtly as a result of the approach by the Badsha Peer Mazaar Society to erect a permanent roof adjacent to their Mazaar. The idea was unconventional and the innovation required an acceptable joint venture and the redirection of the design to achieve a more substantial outcome.

Concept Evolution: iTRUMP was able to imagine the potential of the initial approach and insist on the implementation of a first phase that accommodated a range of future opinions. The later provision of infrastructure in support of the immediate informal economy activities was evolutionary and responsive to their observed needs and those of the Local Authority eg. the purpose built storage facilities. Key to this achievement was the early production of a flexible master plan and phased implementation.

Phased Implementation: The adoption of a phased implementation strategy has been a key learning for iTRUMP and their projects developed for the informal economy. A number of practical considerations have supported this approach: It has enabled concept evolution in a sector where prior precedent is not generally available. Over time, it has enabled an aggregated, enhanced budget commitment that has translated into a more substantial and significant intervention. It recognized that many of the informal economy activities are survivalist in nature and are therefore vulnerable to disruption. Ensuring that there is income continuity is an important consideration that can best be achieved by phased implementation. It enhances the attributes of area based management in that funds can be placed to maximumize leverage, but spread more uniformally to enable the creation of a broader platform that has the possibility of intersecting projects with commensurate benefit, rather than sequentially “starting at one end.”

Strong Vision: The Project illustrates the need for strong and clear vision as a key requirement for a phased implementation approach. Area based management is one of the only Local Authority approaches that can sustain and evolve this necessity. Line departments can articulate the vision but sustenance depends on area level inputs eg. stakeholder participation, design evolution, on-going maximization of opportunities and local institutional memory. All the latter are the preserve of an area based management approach. Strong vision is also applicable to “holding the course” where the local presence understands the significance of the Project and can retain its prominence over 6-7 years.

Urban Uniqueness: Generally, only an area based presence would have detected the implicit potential of the Society’s proposal. It is speculated that a routine approach into a Local Authority line department would have either lost or diluted the potential. The KZ-NIA Journal [Issue 3 / 2001. Volume No. 26] refers to the Brook Street Central Market as being “akin to the Galleria in Milan” [Italy]. Unique in form, concept and use. The interactive use of the space must rate as an international distinguished practice and occurrence. This practice has also developed a local idiosyncrasy where the local informal trader permits will have a qualifying condition that acknowledges the Society’s annual use of the space ie. informal trade will be restricted during the veneration ceremony! The urban uniqueness is also an important contributor to the post-apartheid transformation of South Africa’s urban centres. This project site is obviously very significant as the “doorstep” into the previously segregated inner city. Cultural fusion is one means of securing sustainable transformation.

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ARCHITECTS COLLABORATIVE cc

Ekhaya Neighbourhood Project & Upgrades of Existing Buildings

EKHAYA NEIGHBOURHOOD PROJECT + UPGRADES OF EXISTING BUILDINGS

Upgrades of existing building and development of neighbourhood framework, Hillbrow Johannesburg, 2002

Project Architects: Savage + Dodd Architects
Client: Johannesburg Housing Company | eKhaya Neighbourhood

In 2002, Savage+Dodd Architects undertook a first upgrade of a so-called 'bad building' in Hillbrow for the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC). Our involvement architecturally was quite limited. Bad buildings are those which have become degraded through lack of maintenance and service provision over years, most have absentee landlords and have been hijacked or been invaded by illegal tenants. Since then we have undertaken many projects of this nature and our involvement has become more intense.

Each building that is recycled poses its own challenges. Most buildings were in a severe state of decay. In recycling a building, certain key questions were posed as to whether it was sustainable in its current configuration, how it would contribute to the housing stock of the company and what other functions could feasibly be included to make the project socially sustainable. Within a series of buildings, all located along Pietersen Street, a variety of challenges were addressed, from converting an existing residential hotel into rooms with shared facilities – a sought after typology to rehabilitating an iconic 1950's Modernist building. The key sustainable concepts were recycling and repurposing buildings.

In 2004, having analysed their progress, the client decided that there was now enough critical mass of 'good
buildings' and buildings either owned by themselves or under good management, in a specific area of Hillbrow centred on Pietersen Street, to start thinking strategically in terms of a neighbourhood. This was the realisation of the so called 'ripple pond' theory of development. It therefore focused not on the building but on the context.

The eKhaya Neighbourhood Improvement Programme (eKhaya) was the first of its kind to envisage forming a residential neighbourhood community in a degenerated low income, high density “no-go” area in the inner city. It was initiated by JHC at a time when they owned three buildings in the neighbourhood, all on Pietersen Street. eKhaya set out to organise property owners, their housing managers and caretakers and residents to co-operate between themselves to create and maintain a safe, clean, healthy and well managed environment, for the benefit of the people who live and/or work in the area, the property owners, and all in the city.

An extensive mapping process was undertaken locating all the buildings – 'good' and 'bad' and public amenities in the vicinity. This formed the basis for discussions concerning common interests with neighbourhood property owners.

One of the first initiatives was to clean up the existing sanitary lanes which were filthy, neglected and dangerous areas where no-one took responsibility for their upkeep. The first manifestations of the eKhaya project were not always focused on the physical environment, but slowly the process of building urban governance, has resulted in people driven changes to the environment, from the carving out of public space and play areas from the streets to the reclamation of urban open space.

We had seen that previous 'urban design' interventions in the late 80's had actually resulted in very dangerous street areas, especially on Quartz Street. We had also realised that urban space requires urban management, otherwise one makes nice space for drug dealers. Hence, our first urban interventions were not interventions in the physical environment, those interventions had to come out of a people driven process. The first physical interventions were to co-operatively clean and repair the lanes between buildings. This began to establish collaborative relationships between various roleplayers. Out of this, small physical interventions in the street were able to be made. Firstly the area at the eastern end of Pietersen Street was re-structured and repaved to make a playground and ball court area. This has been the site of several very successful community sportsday events organised by eKhaya. This has been the start of physical placemaking. Recently, the eKhaya Park project by Ikemeleng Architects has managed to reclaim an existing neglected and overgrown open space. These interventions are only sustainable within the urban management framework set up by eKhaya. Whilst the physical manifestations of the project were initially upgraded buildings providing a variety of quality accommodation, the most important aspect to this project is that it is a process and not a product. The most important outcomes of the overall project are about building people and building urban citizenship and not about buildings per se.

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SAVAGE + DODD ARCHITECTS

Ekhaya Neighbourhood Project (Panel 2)

It's about people finding a home in the city, of accepting a place and thereby a reciprocal relationship with their environment for which they start to take responsibility. It is therefore this process which over a period of time starts to impact on the environment.

This is a collaborative project. Through an incremental process of community organising, making contact and
opening channels of communication, eKhaya established a Neighbourhood Association of property owners. This set up a forum for building managers, formed links with other local community organisations and built relationships with city councillors, departments, agencies and law enforcement authorities. It is the proud sense of co-operation, progress and achievement of this community network that drives eKhaya today. The property owners and voluntary involvement of building managers, staff of eKhaya Security & Cleaning Project and residents who give their time and support voluntarily to tackle specific neighbourhood issues. They also organise events that enhance the overall wellbeing of residents and workers that bring the community together.

Over the past four years, as more property owners have joined the eKhaya Neighbourhood Association, the
neighbourhood has been extended and impact of the eKhaya programme have grown. It now covers 16 city blocks, between Smit and Kapteijn Streets, Claim and Klein Streets, and incorporates additional clusters of adjacent residential buildings. By the end of 2008 membership had increased to 17 property owners/agents, with 33 participating buildings. eKhaya directly affects the lives of around 6 000 people living in these buildings, as well as others in the area.

There is increasing awareness by residents in non-member buildings and buildings beyond the neighbourhood of eKhaya Neighbourhood – where people are working 'To make Hillbrow Your Home'.

While it is focused within a defined neighbourhood, eKhaya also addresses the broader concern of sustainable socio-economic regeneration across the inner city. It is founded on the recognition that urban regeneration is not just about upgrading bad buildings and repairing built infrastructure. Nor is it just about good management and ongoing maintenance in buildings and in the public environment. There is growing understanding that genuine development is not an intervention, but a process, in which the positive interests of all involved are met. It is perhaps, most importantly, about building social cohesion and a sense of community, where all stakeholders recognise and assume their responsibilities, accept accountability and develop a shared trust and a shared commitment to their common interests.

One of the first initiatives was to clean up the existing sanitary lanes which were filthy, neglected and dangerous areas where no-one took responsibility for their upkeep. The first manifestations of the eKhaya project were not always focused on the physical environment, but slowly the process of building urban governance, has resulted in people driven changes to the environment, from the carving out of public space and play areas from the streets to the reclamation of urban open space.

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SAVAGE + DODD ARCHITECTS





Inner City Movement Framework




INNER CITY MOVEMENT FRAMEWORK

Reading and Re-writing, Johannesburg Inner City, 2011

Consultants: Arcus Gibb Engineering, Albonico Sack Metacity (ASM) Architects & Urban Designers with Solam Mkhabela and Marcel Zimmermann.
Funders: The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), The Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) and The City of Johannesburg Department of Transport, Planning & Urban Management

The city is an amalgamation of complex layers of people, trade, movement, ever changing requirements and functions, the formal and the informal. All these layers are overlapped and entangled, making them, at times, indistinguishable from one another.

At the core of the city are its networks. These complex connections are played out on the canvas of the modernist city grid, structuring sets of relations, defining the activities and interactions between the formal and informal and shaping the "ordinary", everyday contested spaces.

The inner city is a place of convergence; where the city finds its voice through the people who engage and dwell in it. It is estimated that 1.5 million people arrive everyday at Park Station and associated taxi facilities, from far away destinations, coming to the area for work, shopping, or leisure. This congested and multi-layered part of the city is also home to about 400.000 residents.

The study conducted as part of the research and analysis phase of the "Johannesburg Inner-city Traffic and Transportation Study", commissioned by the City of Johannesburg, and coordinated by the JDA, engages with the "pulse of the city" at its most revealing point- its heart. It traces the main activities located around transport facilities whilst recording pedestrian movement patterns, places of friction, conflict and coexistence between the formal and the informal. The study looks at the voids- the streets and spaces between buildings which constitute for more than 20% of the urban fabric.

These "shared spaces" are the resource that supports the local trading patterns and allows for a fluid exchange of goods, information, transactions and social interactions, creating multiple opportunities for the new comers and the already entrenched networks.

This study presented the opportunity to observe the city with multiple eyes:
Recording + mapping + counting + tracing + mixing + engaging + enquiring + spontaneous place making + simulating + planning...
By using different techniques assisted by film makers, such as the video recording of critical spaces over 12hr slots, the accurate mapping of movement patterns and spaces of conflict and extensive photographic records of various conditions, unfolded the narrative of the everyday and became readable to the untrained eye of the observer.

The ever evolving purpose and life of a city was one of the key design informants in this research. The development of a framework that is to be successful, must allow for the inevitable interruptions of spaces by its users, and the subsequent growth of the city, whilst still providing a flexible enough base/framework to allow for future requirements.

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MONICA ALBONICO AND LONE POULSEN

Inner City Movement Framework (Panel 2)




INNER CITY MOVEMENT FRAMEWORK

Reading and Re-writing, Johannesburg Inner City, 2011

Consultants: Arcus Gibb Engineering, Albonico Sack Metacity (ASM) Architects & Urban Designers with Solam Mkhabela and Marcel Zimmermann.
Funders: The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), The Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) and The City of Johannesburg Department of Transport, Planning & Urban Management

The exhibition explores informality as an interactive process and views projects as generators for new approaches and ways of engaging with it. It is essential to explore and unpack the techniques and methodologies that make urban design a more relevant practice, in order to unleash the potential benefits of urbanity, which are most visible through positive communal meaning and experience in the public environment- public spaces. Urban design processes include understanding context, mapping activities, and participatory engagement, acknowledging constraints, realizing opportunities , exploring alternatives, negotiation and deal making. Urban design as a process becomes a tool for decision-making, mediating between the interests of the individual and the responsibilities of the city.

Urban design translates processes and ideas into spatial interventions that facilitate traditional practices, current livelihoods and future growth. Every city has a unique and personal language of its own, and thus every intervention or design intended for the city, must be unique too.

The frame work presented is based on the principles of building new relationships between the many multi-functional spaces present, bridging the gaps, connecting and providing a sustainable and appropriate base on which the city can grow and improve on. It is supportive of the everyday and the celebratory, but is flexible enough to enable the future. Streets are a critical component of the public space. Their design, conditions and character pray major role in defining the image of the city: affecting its vitality, the health of the inhabitants, quality of life, safety and economic welfare. The access network provides the critical framework for current and future development and growth.

The intention is to " reclaim the street" and put the pedestrian back at the centre, and design and manage the inner-city as a "walkable" and inclusive environment.

Networks and connections are the key interventions. Linking spaces through pedestrian friendly networks, public/communal spaces, public transport facilities and the overall betterment and upgrading of the city environment, gives way for new opportunities for the public.
With minimal interventions, using innovative tactics and strategies, the multi-layered and multi-functional spaces of the city can be explored in ways in which would allow for economic growth and opportunities, functional public interfaces, pedestrian connections and networking.

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MONICA ALBONICO AND LONE POULSEN

Jeppe: The Chaos Precinct


JEPPE: 'THE CHAOS PRECINCT'

Johannesburg Inner City I 2011

Urbanists who have encountered the area of the city centre roughly bounded by Van Weilligh, Pritchard, Troye and Bree Streets have coined various names for it: The Ethiopian Quarter, Little Ethiopia and Little Addis references 'otherness' and emphasises the association of the area with an 'away' place - an exoticising of our city. But no formal planning framework addresses this area's land use as distinctive in the central business district. In fact municipal officials speak informally of the area as the CHAOS PRECINCT.

The traders in the area call it by the hallmark road - Jeppe. It is significant that a movement route is the selected label for this part of town, for its energy and life force is about converting motorists and pedestrians into shoppers. The 'Jeppe' trading quarter has no fixed boundaries , neither physical nor figurative. It is a place where public and private space is ill defined and the transitions between these are opaque. It is a loud, brash, booming consumer frenzy - an area where the worst of late capitalist, global consumerism combines with the best of migrant entrepreneurial ism. And it operates in ways that defy conventional divisions of formality and informality, of retail and wholesale, of the functions and tasks that support retail hubs, of land use and of the division between public and private space. Each of these elements is blurred in Jeppe. The result is a very distinctive urban form and functionality.

In the early 2000s, the gap for retail in the inner city was captured and in the last 5 years this use has intensified at an extraordinary pace. New shops open daily as retail rapidly appropriates more vertical and street level space. The insatiable consumer hunger of sub-Saharan Africa is now being catered to by hundreds of traders located with enormous precision in the heart of this global transportation hub in Johannesburg's city centre . The area is a shopping receptacle for a great movement of local commuters and cross border shoppers being vomited out and re-ingested into Noord Street taxis and Park Station trains, the Faraday taxi rank and several informal bus and taxi ranks on Jeppe and Delvers Streets. Jeppe captures the footfall of people using taxis and trains from surrounding townships, and from rural South Africa , as well as from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, DRC, Mozambique and beyond.

Not only does Jeppe invite foreign shoppers, but it a hub of almost exclusively Ethiopian traders occupying compact, pocket-sized shops.

It is unsurprising that retail captures the attention of new migrants to Johannesburg. The barriers to entry are low and the prospects seem good. As Solomon, a trader operating from a shop the size of a doorway said,

" In my country, it is hard to sell anything. I have to work very hard to get someone to buy any goods, but in South Africa, if I put a toothbrush on the pavement, someone will buy it. "

Jeppe succeeds in a context where there is an undersupply of retail in Africa. Statistics indicate that the ratio of retail space in Africa is O.01m2 per person, compared with 2.9m2 in the US, O.5m2 in Latin America , 0.4m2 in Europe and O.2m2 in Asia. Added to this is the pent up demand for shopping space in post apartheid Johannesburg, in surrounding townships , in rural areas and in SADC countries (Chung, CJ; Inaba, J; Koolhaas, R; Leong ST, 2001 : 53).

High-rise buildings in Jeppe bear the labels Johannesburg Wholesale 1 and 2, and Majesty, and are interspersed with names like Abyssinia , Joburg Mall, and Nadibas. They sport signage that beckons consumers to enter compact buildings that have "more than 69 shops" to buy, belts , shoes, gold, silver, cosmetics, curtains, clothing.

The retail typology here is neither conventional street level inner city shopping, nor is it shopping mall. Rather it is a hybrid typology that combines the elements of each of these retail types.

Conventional inner city retail trade focuses retail activity on the ground floor, and shops face outwards onto the street. In this typology the upper floors are generally reserved for commercial or residential use; parking occurs in the basements. And road reserves are dedicated to walking: goods are transported by delivery vehicles.

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DR TANYA ZACK AND ROBYN ARNOT

Jeppe: The Chaos Precinct (Panel 2)


JEPPE: 'THE CHAOS PRECINCT'

Johannesburg Inner City I 2011

Suburban malls on the other hand host retail activity on multiple levels with shops facing inwards. Parking and loading occur on site in parking lots and delivery zones, and are separated. Shoppers are shielded from all vehicular traffic and the designs aim to achieve 'orderliness, unity and beauty' in a controlled environment.

The characteristics of a typical building in Jeppe combine these elements in a unique way as medical offices have been converted into vertical shopping malls. Here retail and wholesale activity occurs simultaneously on multiple levels and up to six storeys above ground level. Shops face both outwards to the street and inwards onto multiple circulation spaces within the building. For potential traders, the area maximises choice by offering a diverse range of retail spaces.

In the Jeppe hybrid, the land use mix on the upper floors includes retail, commercial and manufacturing, and even churches. Storage occurs on the uppermost levels. Basements might host cars, but also storage facilities and even shops. And intense walking , loading and parking occur in the road reserve, alongside both formal and informal trading.

In an extreme display of agglomeration economics, multiple traders sell similar branded and unbranded goods. It is an unglamorous tapping into the psyche of a nation of spenders, where today's fashion is king.

The similarity of goods repeats in hawker stands that front onto the shops, as each trading space vies for the consumer footfall on the 3m-wide pavement. As a result, the press of pedestrians is then funneled into the 1.5f2m-wide pavement space not occupied by trader stalls and displays. At peak times shoppers, coffee sellers, trolley pushers and pedestrians move in both directions, while also stopping en-route to look or buy. At 3 abreast there are often human traffic jams. And it is not unusual for the negotiations for space to fail utterly for a moment as pedestrian traffic comes to a complete halt.

Nowhere is the sham of the terms 'formal' and 'informal' better demonstrated than in the many layers of legality and illegality, the intricacy of relationships between the traders, the modes of contracting and the allocation and use of space that govern Jeppe.

For neither the formality of a shop nor the supposed informality of a hawker coincides with whether the goods sold are more or less legal , whether taxes are paid , whether invoices are written or whether a relationship exists with the municipality.

This shopping experience is seemingly not 'the mall', except where it is - where street level shops have been converted into miniature malls. Here the usual mall trappings of overhead fluorescent lighting, white floor tiles, uniform shop fittings and the potential to linger, are offered by corridors that have been carved into the building's intestines - shops that are no deeper than the width of a shirt.

As if there can never be enough shops, trading space is subdivided on a weekly basis as one shop evolves into two or more. The frenzy for space has resulted in conversions into split-level shops. Even basement ramps have been transformed into lines of shops.

Respite from the mayhem at street level is found in coffee shops located on several floors. Here groups of mostly Ethiopian men relax, make deals, network, exchange news and arrange savings clubs.

And barbers, internet cafes and CD shops occupy compact spaces that share drywalls with curtaining shops, clothing shops, tailors and with stores selling Ethiopian spices, religious items, ceremonial clothing , and magazines with titles such as ESAU, an acronym for 'Ethiopian-South-African-Unity'.

The activities of trade, delivery, storage and stocktaking happen simultaneously rather than in sequence. Just as trade takes place at all hours so loo delivery is at a constant flow.

Monthly rentals of up 10 R2000 per square metre are being achieved in the most densely shopped parts of Jeppe, in comparison with those of about R140-180/m2 in the body of the inner city, or maximum rentals of R320/m2 in Soweto malls and R800/m2 in Sandton malls. In fact rentals in Jeppe rank amongst the highest retail rentals in the world.

The public environment can be inhospitable. Neither traders nor municipal entities pay much attenlion to pedestrian comfort in what is the most intensely walked area of the inner city.

Building conditions are variable. Robust trading and turnover and high rentals do not translate into investment in buildings. Lifts work intermittently, fire escapes are often blocked up, and there are numerous fire hazards. Despite its material and economic logic, the area is crowded, decaying, congested , and bursting at its seams. But Jeppe is now the throbbing heart of the city.

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DR TANYA ZACK AND ROBYN ARNOT

Recycle Change

Nobody wonders where each day they carry their load of refuse, outside the city surely: but each year the city expands...The bulk of the outflow increases and the piles rise higher, become stratified, extend over a wider perimeter.

- Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

RECYCLE CHANGE

Trolley pushers in Johannesburg

Location: Johannesburg
Contributors: Tanya Zack | Sarah Charlton | Bronwyn Kotzen

The label 'homeless' is often applied in a largely undifferentiated manner to a wide spectrum of living circumstances. These conditions are often assumed to result from particular personal and most often, economic circumstances. The limitations of this conflation of living conditions with personal circumstances are shown in the lives of informal recyclers in Johannesburg.

Informal recyclers comb the dustbins and sidewalks of residential and commercial neighbourhoods for selected solid waste items with resale value, which they load onto makeshift trolleys. On foot and with sheer muscle power they pull their loaded carts for many kilometers through the streets to privately owned buy-back centres where the waste material is weighed and sold.

Recyclers operate independently of labour regulations and protection, without employee benefits, using improvised transport, and frequently - inadvertently - contravening by-laws and city rules in their living and working activities. But they are intimately entwined with the formal, recognized systems of urban life: essential suppliers to registered recycling businesses, intense users of city roads, sidewalks and public spaces, specialised reclaimers competing daily with the crude appetite of Pikitup trucks.

The lives of recyclers reflect a wide variety of circumstances. Many are 'sleeping rough' or 'informally' on a regular basis, but are engaged in regular productive work. Informal recyclers in Johannesburg contest conventional notions of homelessness in at least three ways: the diverse reasons for their nightly sleeping arrangements, the range of alternative accommodation they make use of, and in their personal circumstances.

Recyclers choose to spend work nights in Johannesburg to save on transport costs, to be ready to start their outbound journeys to suburbs very early in the mornings. They choose spaces where their accommodation may be cramped but they are able to store their goods. Recycling work involves gathering and then sorting the load prior to having it weighed at the depot. Recyclers need space and time for separating and sorting items. They also need place to stockpile until they have amassed enough of a particular material to make exchange at the depot worthwhile.

ACCOMMODATION TYPOLOGIES

REGULAR STREET SLEEPERS HAVE DIFFERENT MOTIVATIONS AND HOUSING NEEDS FROM THE CITY'S 'DESTITUTE HOMELESS', INDEED SOME ARE PROPERTY OWNERS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT. THE FOLLOWING EXPLAINS ACCOMODATION TYPOLOGIES CATEGORISED AS EITHER 'ROUGH SLEEPING" OR 'NON-FORMAL ACCOMMODATION.
Researched conducted in 2009 by Urban Planning students in the ARPL 3013 course at the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Architecture and Planning. Johannesburg. South Africa

ACCOMMODATION

NIGHTLY, MONTHLY & LONG TERM ACCOMMODATION

Continued on Panel 2

DR. TANYA ZACK/ SARAH CHARLTON/ BRONWYN KOTZEN

Recycle Change (Panel 2)






















RECYCLE CHANGE

The story of Paul the trolly pusher

Location: Johannesburg
Contributors: Dr Tanya Zack | Sarah Charlton | Bronwyn Kotzen

Paul's story illustrates the tradeoffs recyclers make to optimize their income whilst keeping their living costs to a minimum. He works long hard hours and lives cheaply. In this way he manages both to support his household and extended family, and save for the future.

The business of informal recycling depends on the prices paid by buy-back centres for particular categories of waste. On a good week Paul can earn up to R1 100.Typically he makes R 800-900 per week. To earn R1 100, Paul must pull almost 600 kg over five days. He sells his reclaimed materials every two weeks, when he has accumulated enough quantity of each item to make the transaction worthwhile.

Paul lives with his partner and baby in an illegally occupied warehouse in the eastern end of the Johannesburg CBD. They occupy a makeshift room 2m x 2m, in a building with no formal electricity or water services. Paul pays rent to a building committee who manage security and cleaning for the residents. Living cheaply enables him to support his family in Joburg whilst at the same time sending R 1000 a month to relatives Lesotho, where his home is. He also deposits R 1000 a month into his savings account.

Living centrally means Paul walks far to source material before it is claimed by other recyclers. Closer - in suburbs such as Yeoville and Kensington have too many recyclers already working these areas. Increasing competition requires him to set off earlier and earlier in the morning to get ahead. But he lives conveniently close to the three recycling centres he sells his stock to.

Before taking the materials to be weighed at the recycling stations, Paul separates items according to category. Being able to accumulate, store and sort material near to the buy-back centres is a key part of his business. It is important to note that while Paul is an example of a success story of the informal recycling industry, many recyclers in Johannesburg are not in the same position. For many it is simply a means “just to make enough money to eat" as twenty year old Njabulo who lives under the M1 highway bridge explains. Nevertheless, recycling remains a viable and accessible industry in Johannesburg.

Paul the Trolley Pusher

RECYCLABLES


WORK WEEK

WINDSOR ROUTE

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DR. TANYA ZACK/ SARAH CHARLTON/ BRONWYN KOTZEN

Warwick Bridge

WARWICK BRIDGE

Warwick Triangle, Durban 1996

designworkshop : sa
Ethekwini Muncipality

context, objective and brief

By 1996, when the project was commissioned, the main Railway Station had long been moved from the center of the City to the Warwick Triangle area at it’s western edge. Black commuters were the primary commuter rail users and, under apartheid, the motivation was to remove them from the city.

The consequence was that the area around the station rapidly became a hub of commercial activity, primarily trading from the city sidewalks, public open spaces, and any other viable location where there was opportunity to do so. Trading was unstructured and unregulated and rapid growth put infrastructural services under pressure for which they were not designed.

Sidewalks were unwalkable, refuse was generated quicker than it could be collected, drains continuously blocked, and pedestrians were knocked down as they tried to cross increasingly busy streets. Much of this was happening in the area of and between the new Berea Station, the Early Morning and Fresh Produce City Markets, the emerging 16-seater mini-taxi ranks, and adjacent bus terminuses.

At the same time, influx of people from rural areas was increasing rapidly. The city was being evacuated by its previous predominantly white business and residential population and the void was being filled by the newly urbanising. The urban economy, society and culture was transforming.

On the one hand there was a vacuum. On the other, pressure. This is a condition of great opportunity.

One of many examples of the newly legitimised urban economy, culture and society was the prescription and trading of traditional medicines; traditional equivalents of doctors and pharmacists. Without a defined location, this growing specialist industry was rapidly occupying sidewalks in the area and, because of market demand, blocking pedestrian through-movement and contributing to the clogging of the pedestrian environment.

Stretching up from the city side, in the location of the Victoria Street Market, were two incomplete and abandoned freeway splines; their radii apparently too tight for their purpose which was to reduce in and out bound traffic from the Warwick area by bridging over it.

iTrump [Inner City eThekwini Regeneration and Urban Management Programme], an entity of the eThekwini Municipality, saw the opportunity of extending an existing piece of abandoned infrastructure to create an above-ground pedestrian linkage from the Berea Station, across Market Road and drop it down at the busy on-grade pedestrian intersection at the entrance to the Early Morning Market.

In this single move, unviable, unsafe and unsustainable volumes of pedestrian movement at ground level would be relieved; the specialist prescription and trading of traditional medicine would be consolidated, from which would emerge a location and product based identity for the sector; a cultural practice would be assertively validated; and another piece of a unique emerging urban society would be added.

Bottom up management structures were put in place so that this community was organised, could formally relate to and engage with the city authorities, supportive infrastructural services provided, and self-organised safety and security could be achieved.

‘Ecology’ means the mutually beneficial relationship between different organisms and their environment. With minimal intervention, intimate integration of and between all stakeholders, and an inherent respect for the validity of traditional cultural practice, the conditions for a sustainable urban ecology were to be provided. With very little resource, city government was catalysing a powerful urban evolution.

The brief to designworkshop : sa was to design consulting rooms for the Izinyanga [traditional doctors], trading spaces for the Izangoma [traditional healers and traders], and the bridge and stair connection from the end of the abandoned freeway to the ground at the entrance to the Early Morning Market.

The process required a degree of understanding of, and feel for, the traditional medicine ‘industry’, its heritage and cultural context; the relationship between the Izinyanga and Izangoma and their customers; and the physical environment that would enable these relationships.

There was also an up-front understanding that, if they are not going to end up as extended corporate shopping malls that serve only to further concentrate wealth in the hands of a few, the inherent attribute of ‘city as an accessible market’ was going to be a fundamental driver for the project.

Continued on Panel 2

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designworkshop: sa

Warwick Bridge (Panel 2)

WARWICK BRIDGE

Warwick Triangle, Durban 1996

designworkshop : sa
Ethekwini Muncipality

response, delivery and outcome

As a major intermodal transport interchange, Warwick is an entrance and exit portal to the city. Not only for people coming and going from suburbs of all kinds on the perimeter of the city, but also for people continuously coming and going between the city and rural areas far beyond it.

This unique phenomenon of people living equally in two very different places – the post industrial city and the traditional rural hinterland -, separated only by time, presents a very interesting opportunity in the design of the threshold where these two worlds meet within the individual human experience. Warwick is this threshold.

In addition to its functional purpose, the freeway splines and the bridge were also opportunities for representation of the transformation of the economy, cultures and society of the city, and it’s transforming relationship with its hinterland.

The objective of the design was to use as few resources as possible to provide an enabling environment for the Izinyanga and Izangoma on the abandoned freeway splines so as to maximize their trading opportunity and therefore economic performance; seamlessly bridge from this trading environment over Market Road and down to ground at the entrance to the Early Morning Market; and use this bridge as a symbol of the overlap between the urban and rural realities of many South Africans.

Symbols are the essentialising of complexity.

Both the trading structures on the freeway splines and the bridge structure are assemblies of separate dry elements; there is little to no wetworks. They are mostly either parts of trees [timber poles] or their form makes reference to trees. The tree is the ultimate symbol of shelter and protection, and of gathering. It is also a symbol of fertility, resource and growth. And it is an icon whose relevance is retained as it is transported across the seam that both joins and separates urban and rural.

Durban is a port city. Without the port, the metropolitan economy as we know it would not exist. Like the ocean, this is internalised within all of us that live here, both as imagery and as an understanding of what that imagery implies and means. The underslung trussed structure that supports the pedestrian bridge remembers the fabricated engineered assembly methodology of this industry. It is lean, a ribcage.

One end of the truss is supported on the sheer concrete wall that ends the freeway splines, and upon a huge painted image of Mama Afrika. The other end is supported on a series of bifurcated sinuous steel columns as trunks that transform into bows that support the shading isingtingu [saplings] parasol.

Geometries were decided through the process of making a soldered wire model, photocopying it, scanning the photocopy and tracing its shapes.

Fabricated in a simple open-sided shed outside of the city, the structure was erected and assembled over a weekend. Secondary activities were completed and within a short period of time, a blocked artery between two severed parts of the city was opened. Connectivity. Urban surgery. Healing. New growth. Ecology.

When the central city Railway Station was relocated to Warwick, it unknowingly catalysed an opportunity for intense economic, social and cultural urban transformation. A web or matrix of free-flowing and integrated movement routes that link essential destinations are key to economic opportunity. The free expression of cultural practice is essential to diversity that is a key element of a sustainable integrated urban and rural ecology. The freedom for people to autonomously determine their own destinies within a structured and integrated matrix of opportunity is essential to the cohesion, evolution and stability of a transforming society.

Symbols that essentialise this vibrant, energised and dynamic complexity legitimise and encourage its growth and consequential indices of a healthy society: reduction in poverty, increase in sustainable economic activity, and an efficient relationship between production and consumption.

This is a sustainable ecology, the mutually beneficial relationship between organisms and their environment. Alongside all others, humans are an organism. The city is now our primary habitat. This project is a small catalytic example of making it. It is testimony to the vision and foresight of the entities of the eThekwini municipality that enabled it.

Back to Panel 1

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designworkshop: sa