Back to work!

From 15 December – 15 January Johannesburg is empty. No traffic, restaurants are closed for a month, everybody is on holiday. People in Cape Town and Durban say that the whole of Gauteng is migrating to the coast, good for business but not really for the relaxed climate that they are used to. I’ve spent some time in Johannesburg, Christmas in the Netherlands and New Years in the Drakensbergen. All very quiet and relaxed. But new things are ahead. Continue reading

Presenting: Experiments and Flexible planning

Last May I was asked to present about Flexible planning at the SAPI conference Planning Africa 2014: Making great places. Of course I was honoured, talking in South Africa about a project that I started with Platform31 in the Netherlands is kind of surreal. The conference was going to take place from 20-22 October in Durban and everything would be arranged for me. At that time it seemed that I had plenty of time to prepare for it. But to use a cliche, time flies when you’re having fun. And so, suddenly it was October. I prepared a presentation and flew to Durban for the first time. Continue reading

Apartheid

It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been studying, went back home to the Netherlands to see family and friends, and struggling what to write next, because what keeps me occupied is a heavy subject: Apartheid. This country, South Africa, is amazing. Beautiful nature, people, plants grow on their own, so much buzz and enthusiasm to achieve great things, new businesses popping-up everywhere. But still, there is always this lingering issue which is always there: APARTHEID. Continue reading

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

Into the wild

When you live in South Africa you have to go and watch some game. If you haven’t seen the big five, you haven’t been in South Africa. There are several ways to watch game: Luxury private resorts with exclusive game drives, staying in regular camps and drive around yourself or book some tours or walk. Walk in the bush with no fences and the animals around you? Yes.

During Easter we have been to the Kruger national park for almost a week. We were going to hike for four days and camp in the wild and do some old fashion game watching from the car the other days.

Continue reading