Why design is crucial for urban planning

For some time now I have been following the debate on affordable or social housing. In the blog Vision, Apartheid and Gentrification I touched upon some of the general challenges in South African housing and urban development. The last three weeks I have been talking to several experts and I have attended two conferences (Social housing and municipalities & Department of Design). I noticed that I missed one challenge in my previous post: design. This doesn’t mean interior design or art, rather it means architecture, infrastructure, use of materials, human capital and local factors. So how does design fit in with social housing and urban planning? Continue reading

Building bridges between neighbourhoods

The last two months I have been working at GRINDcities on a project about crowd funding and finding out what people want in their streets. The project is called Urban Trust. Urban because, well, it is about public spaces in an urban environment. And trust because it represents a fund as well as trust between people. And that is something that Johannesburg needs, trust in one another. The first small projects will take place in the area between Maboneng, a hip upgraded area, and Jeppestown, one of the first industrial suburb with a lot of informal housing and residential hostels. The aim is to connect and link these two neighbourhoods and to show that Jeppestown is not as dangerous anymore and Maboneng is open to everyone.

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